How Computing Will Change Our Lives: IBM’s “5 in 5” Predictions

June 26, 2016 by Donald Krambeck

Every year, researchers at IBM explore ideas and innovations that will change the way we live within the next five years. Here's a look at this year's 5 in 5.

Every year, researchers at IBM explore ideas and innovations that will change the way we live within the next five years. Here's a look at this year's 5 in 5.

How Technology Will Affect Us Within the Next 5 Years

IBM created 5 in 5 back in 2006 and announced five predictions that they believed would affect our lives within five years. Each year, they research how innovating technology will change the way we as people live, interact, work, and learn around the world. The topics of interest that IBM delves into are driven by the ideas of engineers, scientists, and doctors.

For example, in 2012 IBM stated that computers will have a sense of smell. This technology is currently being used in the Metropolitan Museum of Art to preserve pieces of art by measuring the slightest change in temperature, humidity, and lighting. Also, it could be integrated into agriculture by monitoring irrigation and fertilization to help farmers produce a greater crop yield, for when the farmer's almanac isn't spot on. There are an infinite amount of possibilities that this technology can be used for. 

This year, IBM focused on the idea that everything will learn somehow. Machine learning will help create breakthroughs in many different areas, and they are beginning to be seen in "the cloud".

Here is what this year's IBM 5 in 5 looks like:


1. Classrooms that Learn

In just five years, the classroom will learn from the student.



It is quite obvious that students don't all learn the same way. There are several ways one might learn: There are visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary learning methods. Now imagine if you're a teacher, teaching a mathematics course to 30 students in one classroom. Your teaching method might only stick to 10 of those 30 students.

With this new technology, a cognitive system that is cloud-based will track a student's attendance, academic scores, how they interact with electronic material, and what they are being taught in each classroom. From gathering all of this data, the program will have the ability to suggest any improvements to enhance their academics. 


2. Predictive Local Shopping

In just five years, local shopping will become more popular that online shopping.



Local stores will have the technology to provide its customers with a whole new experience that an online retailer could never provide. IBM is working with businesses to utilize self-learning systems to integrate online shopping and physical shopping. Things such as augmented reality, wearable computers, as well as location-based technologies might not seem as impossible as they did only a few decades ago. These devices will provide a better shopping experience by predicting what clothing a customer might like.

As of today, after purchasing an item online, these shops will direct you to similar items based on what other people bought that have purchased the same item you did. IBM is working on a platform that would allow retailers to view recently purchased items or those that you viewed and create recommendations based on your own tastes and interests. 


3. DNA Wellness Tests

In just five years, doctors will be able to use your DNA sequence to help you stay healthy.



Now this isn't to say that this is a new technology. However, the availability and efficiency of the technology is what we are talking about here. IBM wants to use their computer system, Watson, to sequence a patient's full genome to help treat cancer on an individual basis.

In five years, the results of your DNA sequence could be back to you in the same time your blood tests are. Also, cloud-based cognitive systems will crunch patients' medical histories to provide doctors with specific information to diagnose individualized treatment plans within a few days, which could be a literal life saver. 


4. Reactive Online Security "Guardians"

In just five years, a digital guardian will help protect us while we surf the World Wide Web.



Through cloud-based analytics, this guardian will know you like you know the back of your hand. An example would be knowing when you fill up your gas tank and where you choose to do so. Or that you don't buy meat because you're a vegetarian. In these situations, if an imposter used your information to fill a gas tank at a new location or to purchase a hot dog, this guardian would take action.

This boils down to the guardian learning our individual patterns and monitoring for any fluctuation in these day-to-day patterns of going to work, eating lunch, driving home, or getting groceries on Sunday. 


5. Smart Cities

In just five years, cities could interact and help provide for a better life.



More than half of the world's population lives in cities, but cities aren't always the best choice to live in. With the help from cloud-based social feedback, crowdsourcing, and analytics, cities could adapt to its citizens.

How? A smart city could route trains to certain stops during rush hour or report maintenance issues and then forward any relevant information to a citizen's phone to help provide them with a better experience on a daily basis.


I hope this has provided you with some insight of where we will see ourselves in the next five years! 


All images used courtesy of IBM.

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    Wa2nfn July 08, 2016

    I think the security prediction is white wash for morse sinister motives - like selling targeted behaviors to advertised, vendors, insurance companies and worst of all the government. Of course IBM will profit.

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  • NorthGuy July 08, 2016

    Machines will clone DNA, grow human clones, teach them to buy the right things and take actions when clones do something unusual. Is that where we going? So sad.

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    calade November 18, 2016

    IBM’s president in the 1950’s stated that he thought the world’s large computer needs was of 1 or 2 units…

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