IBM knows more than a little about the future of technology. One of the world's biggest tech companies, Big Blue shuffles a good amount of its resources into the researching of what will move society in the years to come. Larry Ellison, the billionaire CEO of Oracle, once said that he was inspired to found his company after reading a paper written by IBM scientist Edgar F. Codd on relational database systems called "A Relational Model of Data for Large Shared Data Banks". For the past five years, IBM has released parts of its "5-in-5"series which looks at five technologies that will greatly affect the way people live in the next five years. Watch the video above or read to below to see how the next five years will pan out according to IBM.
Energy: People power will come to life
Imagine being able to use every motion around you—your movements, the water rushing through the plumbing—to harness energy to power anything from your house to your city. It's already being tested in Ireland, where IBM scientists are studying the effects of converting ocean wave energy into electricity. But instead of a buoy to capture motion, a smaller device that you wear or attach to your bicycle during a ride, for example, will collect the energy you create.
Security: You will never need a password again
The name "multifactor biometrics" sounds as intriguing as the thrillers that use it as a plot device. In real life, the use of your retinal scan or your voice as a passport to verification will replace multiple passwords for access to information and secret hideouts, should you decide to accept the option. Your unique biological identity becomes your only password as multifactor biometrics aggregate these characteristics in real time to prevent identity theft.
Mind reading: no longer science fiction
Dialing a telephone is considered so last century. Soon, overt communication with devices might be just as archaic. IBM scientists are researching how to link your brain to your devices, such as a computer or a smartphone, so you only have to think about calling someone and it happens. For example, see a cube on your computer screen and think about moving it to the left, and it will. Beyond electronics control, possible applications include physical rehabilitation and understanding of brain disorders such as autism.
Mobile: The digital divide will cease to exist
Mobile devices are decreasing the information-accessibility gap in disadvantaged areas. In five years, the gap will be imperceptible as growing communities use mobile technology to provide access to essential information. New solutions and business models from IBM are introducing mobile commerce and remote healthcare, for example. Recorded messages can be transmitted to quickly deliver valuable information about weather and aid to remote or illiterate users who haven't had ready access before.
Analytics: Junk mail will become priority mail
Imagine technology that replaces the unwanted messaging in your life with the next best thing to a personal assistant. IBM is developing technology that uses analytics and sensemaking to integrate data into applications that present only the information you want—and then do something about it. Combining your preferences and your calendar, for example, the technology will proactively reserve tickets to your favorite band's concert when your calendar shows you're free, or research alternate travel plans when it detects bad weather along your route, and then tell you where to go.
[IBM via Businessweek]