IBM’s 2011 “Five in Five”: Innovations That Could Change The World (And A Little Monty Python Thrown In For Good Measure)
Before I get to the business news of the day, let me send a hearty congratulations to U.K. golfer Ian Poulter, who won the Australian Masters yesterday and outgunned Aussie’s own Geoff Ogilvy, who was attempting to take the tourney on his boyhood course.
Poulter was two strokes behind Ogilvy heading into the final round and closed with a 4-under 67 on a very windy Victoria Golf Club.
Nice win, Poulter. Poulter should have plenty of Aussie dollars to head out for a little X-mas shopping, and perhaps he’d like to invite English striker Darren Bent to join him for a little shopping.
Bent was busted on the sidelines of Sunday’s game against Liverpool for doing a little online shopping (his team was losing), even though he was out for the day due to injury. Otherwise, Bent is Villa’s leading scorer, to which I say, “A goal a day helps keep the Xmas cash register away!
But enough of sport. It’s time to get serious. And IBM’s latest “IBM 5 in 5,” a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact during the next five years, has arrived just in time for the holidays.
We’ll take them one at a time.
Watch the 5-minute video above for a quick fly-by of IBM’s 2011 “5 in 5” innovations.
1. People power will come to life.
No, we don’t mean protests in the streets of Egypt or Libya, although that is certainly a worthwhile sort of people power. We’re talking about real people power, anything that moves or produces heat and which has the potential to create energy that can be captured.
Walking. Jogging. Bicycling. The heat from your computer. Even the water flowing through your pipes.
Advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, offices and cities.
Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along.
You will have the satisfaction of not only getting to where you want to go, but at the same time powering some of the lights in your home.
Created energy comes in all shapes and forms and from anything around us. IBM scientists inIreland are looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity.
2. You will never need a password again.
I’m paying special and close attention to this one. I have so many IDs and passwords I don’t know when I’m coming or going, and my new favorite pastime is emailing web sites to request they send me an email reminder or password reset.
In this “5,” your biological makeup is the key to your individual identity, and soon, it will become the key to safeguarding it.
So to speak. No, you will no longer need to create, track or remember multiple passwords for various log-ins.
Imagine you will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking your name or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of your eye.
Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet.
Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data — facial definitions, retinal scans and voice files — will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.
Referred to as multi-factor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to use this information in real-time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and the attempt is authorized.
To be trusted, such systems should enable you to opt in or out of whatever information you choose to provide.
3. Mind reading is longer science fiction.
Hey, get out of my head! I see what you’re trying to do! It won’t work…well, maybe…it…won’t.
But maybe it will!
From Houdini to Skywalker to X-Men, mind reading has merely been “wishful thinking” for science fiction fans for decades, but their wish may soon come true.
IBM scientists are among those researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone. If you just need to think about calling someone, it happens.
Or you can control the cursor on a computer screen just by thinking about where you want to move it.
Scientists in the field of bioinformatics have designed headsets with advanced sensors to read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels, and thoughts of a person without them physically taking any actions.
Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry.
Furthermore, doctors could use the technology to test brain patterns, possibly even assist in rehabilitation from strokes and to help in understanding brain disorders, such as autism. .
4. The digital divide will cease to exist.
You’ve heard of the digital divide? Well, get ready to see that divide get split in half…or even divided into infinity.
In our global society, growth and wealth of economies are increasingly decided by the level of access to information.
And in five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology.
There are 7 billion people inhabiting the world today. In five years there will be 5.6 billion mobile devices sold – which means 80% of the current global population would each have a mobile device.
As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today.
For example, in India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones.
With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.
Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare.
5. Junk mail will become priority mail.
Do you remember the original spam, the one that led to the Internet terminology? It was a reference to a 1970s Monty Python sketch set in a case where nearly every item on the menu included Spam canned luncheon meet.
As the waiter recited the Spam-filled menu, a chorus of Viking patrons downs out all conversations iwth a song repeating “Spam…Spam….Spam…” You get the picture?
Now, think about how often we’re flooded with advertisements we consider to be irrelevant or unwanted. It may not be that way for long.
In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem spam is dead. At the same time, spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.
Imagine if tickets to your favorite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available, and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar.
Through alerts direct to you, you’ll be able to purchase tickets instantly from your mobile device. Or imagine being notified that a snow storm is about to affect your travel plans and you might want to re-route your flight?
IBM is developing technology that uses real-time analytics to make sense and integrate data from across all the facets of your life such as your social networks and online preferences to present and recommend information that is only useful to you.
From news, to sports, to politics, you’ll trust the technology will know what you want, so you can decide what to do with it.