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IBM's Five Predictions For the Next Five Years 219

Posted by timothy
from the ok-but-let's-revisit-in-5-years dept.
PolygamousRanchKid writes "In each of the past five years, IBM has come up with a list of five innovations it believes will become popular within five years. In this, the sixth year, IBM has come up with the following technologies it thinks will gain traction: (1) People power will come to life. Advances in technology will allow us to trap the kinetic energy generated (and wasted) from walking, jogging, bicycling, and even from water flowing through pipes. (2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will finally replace the password and thus redefine the word 'hack.' (3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction. Scientists are working on headsets with sensors that can read brain activity and recognize facial expressions, excitement, and more without needing any physical inputs from the wearer. (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected. (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."
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IBM's Five Predictions For the Next Five Years

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:19AM (#38434838)

    ...has no vision

    Here are their predictions from five years ago (all the wonderful things we are supposed to have today):

    We will be able to access health care remotely, from just about anywhere in the world.

    Not even close

    Real-time speech translation—once a vision only in science fiction—will become the norm.

    Some advances have been made, but nope

    There will be a 3D Internet.

    Nope

    Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance.

    Wow, not even sure what the fuck that was SUPPOSED to be about. Nanotech maybe??

    Our mobile phones will start to read our minds.

    God help us.

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:25AM (#38434924)
      Thank you. I opened up the comments to ask how their predictions for the last 5 years went. Something I always look for in an article about someone's predictions for the future is how did they do in the past at predicting the future. Unfortunately, most such articles never bother to tell you that the "prophet" they are quoting is not better than random at predictiing the future. If the source they are got one big thing right, they will tout that, but never mention that that one thing was one out of 100 and the other 99 weren't even close.
      • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:41AM (#38435178)

        Actually, I do have a prediction about the future:

        Five years from now, somewhere in America, a teenage girl will argue fiercely with her mother over her new boyfriend. Her mother will warn the girl that he is no good. The girl will contend that the mother doesn't appreciate how great he is or how real their love is. Later the girl will complain to both her best friend and the boyfriend in question about how her mother is a bitch who doesn't understand that she and her boyfriend they are meant to be together forever.

      • by fooslacker (961470) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:52AM (#38435332)

        Thank you. I opened up the comments to ask how their predictions for the last 5 years went. Something I always look for in an article about someone's predictions for the future is how did they do in the past at predicting the future. Unfortunately, most such articles never bother to tell you that the "prophet" they are quoting is not better than random at predictiing the future. If the source they are got one big thing right, they will tout that, but never mention that that one thing was one out of 100 and the other 99 weren't even close.

        Maybe opening up the article would have served you better than opening up the comments. From the article...

        New predictions aside, IBM’s track record of predictions over the past five years has been somewhat mixed. Let’s take a step back to 2006 and look at its predictions:...

        They then go on to assess the prediction that the commenter made above but with a more generous tone than that being applied above. In general they treat them as though they were general business predictions (e.g. smartphones get smart...not that they literally read our thoughts) rather than acting like IBM is claiming to be a group of religious prophets.

        • by elrous0 (869638) *

          IBM’s track record of predictions over the past five years has been somewhat mixed

          No it hasn't. It's been shit. These predictions are just self-serving wishful thinking on IBM's part. You can summarize them as follows "We think/hope/pray these things will happen because this is what we're currently focusing on as a company."

          treat them as though they were general business predictions (e.g. smartphones get smart...not that they literally read our thoughts)

          Making a prediction like "smartphones will get smarter" is absolutely worthless. It's like me saying "computers will get faster" or "game consoles will get more powerful." It's a no-shit-Sherlock "prediction" that doesn't help anyone.

          • No it hasn't. It's been shit. These predictions are just self-serving wishful thinking on IBM's part. You can summarize them as follows "We think/hope/pray these things will happen because this is what we're currently focusing on as a company."

            Um ok..you're allowed to agree with the article but your level of vitriol is a bit silly. It's a puff piece and I would argue that for rolled up high level media predictions that is a mixed bag not "complete shit" which is also what the article claims. They've been partially correct on about half of the ones that have now expired (i.e. the 2006 ones). Given the high level nature of them that would be a mixed bag in my opinion given that they are predictions and not prophecy.

            Also what predictions actu

          • Well, for the sake of IBM, I hope they are not really focusing the company on them:

            (1) "People power" may be usefull, but nobody wants to plug cables on theit shoes. If Steve Jobs were still here he could help making it fashionable, but he isn't, and it is not IBM that will do that.

            (2) Biometrics won't be widely used. They are worthless unless you have security personel to check the sensor. The new meaning of "hack" will be to collect trash around and impersonate the owners...

            (3) Mind reading is waaay of. W

            • by neyla (2455118)

              The point of (1) isn't to plug a cable into your shoe to harvest power. The point is to let low-power-devices run for longer, perhaps indefinitely without needing recharging. A mobile phone or music-player or whatever that can run forever without needing to be charged by collecting energy from for example the shaking it gets as you move, would be a hit.

              I already have 2 square-inches of solarcells on my backpack, which provides enough of a charge to let me use my GPS indefinitely while in the bush in summer

    • There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail. Spam that is that personalized is going to be perceived as CREEPY. Of course, IBM would like that, because IBM will make $$$ selling services to make spam creepy^Wpersonalized.

      No passwords in 5 years? Maybe in 15 - 20, but it's not like all the computers that use passwords are suddenly going to disappear in 5 years. Besides, one of the advantages of a password is you can give it to someone else. What good are biometrics if you're sitting in the hospital after losing a hand? Or retinal scans after you've had laser retinal photocoagulation to remove the "distinctive pattern of veins" on your retina? Or if you're going to be away on vacation for a week, and you want someone else to log in for you?

      In other words, passwords will always be around. But IBM would like that, because IBM will make $$$ selling services to make it more inconvenient for you to get things done^W^W^W^W^W^W^Wmore convenient most of the time, and then pay big $$$$ for the edge cases.

      • by somersault (912633) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:40AM (#38435154) Homepage Journal

        I was thinking the advantage of passwords or physical tokens is that they aren't tied to your body too, but for a different reason. Not so that you share them with friends, but so that nobody chops off your body parts just to access your stuff. People have had their finger chopped off [newscientist.com] just so that someone can steal their fingerprint-scanning car.

        What's more important to you, your finger or your car? Considering replacing the car just requires an insurance claim..

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          I was thinking the advantage of passwords or physical tokens is that they aren't tied to your body too, but for a different reason. Not so that you share them with friends, but so that nobody chops off your body parts just to access your stuff. People have had their finger chopped off just so that someone can steal their fingerprint-scanning car.

          What's more important to you, your finger or your car? Considering replacing the car just requires an insurance claim..

          In the future, replacing your car will on

        • by harl (84412)
          That's a scare tactic. Most systems don't work with dead flesh. You know those clip on pulse monitors? Same technology.

          The real problem is how do I change my password when the system is compromised?
          • Do you want to be the guy trying to explain that to someone who is stupid enough to steal cars and dickish enough to chop off bodyparts? In movies that stuff always works, so why should they believe any different?

      • There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail

        I think it could be. The baselines for creepiness in our interactions with machines is something that continually moves. I know a few older folks who find it creepy that their mobile phone knows when they've arrived at a certain location and can alert them to some reminder. Speaking to an 'assistant' program running on a phone is currently creepy (or just odd) to many people, but I bet in 5 years it will be absolutely normal behavior for 30 year olds.

        The more comprehensive personal data collection becomes

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          That sort of behaviour would just p*ss me off. My phone is for *my* convenience - not some spammer. But just in case, I'm going to write (not email - snail mail still gets more respect) my representatives to demand that spam sms messages be specifically prohibited to numbers on the do not call list (they already are by my carriers' ToS for accessing their network, but might as well get those $15,000 fines going :-)

      • Besides, one of the advantages of a password is you can give it to someone else.

        there are just so many things wrong with that statement...

        • by tomhudson (43916)

          So, when someone is fired, how do you access their systems if it's biometric-only?
          So, when you bring in a machine to get repaired, how do they test it if it's biometric-only?
          So, when you're going to be away for a week and you want someone you trust to check your email, how are they going to if it's biometric-only?

          There was nothing wrong with my statement. There's something seriously wrong with you thinking that there are *no* reasons for using a shared password.

          • by Quirkz (1206400)

            So, when someone is fired, how do you access their systems if it's biometric-only?

            Administrators assign it to an appropriate user? I don't know how you do it, but around here we don't keep the old accounts and give out their passwords so that people can keep pretending to be someone else, we give the data to a person who has a valid account and then delete the former user.

      • There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail.

        If it can be done, it will be done.

        Considering how much information people are willing to give about themselves, that outcome is more than realistic.

      • The trick is that the industry likes one and views it as a form of prosperous godliness, and views the other as the unaffiliated malarkey perpetuated by third world scum.
        When, in reality, they are the exact same thing.

        I think it would not be so bad if not for the fact that everyone, everywhere is selling the exact same shit I don't want or need at the exact same price.
        Advertising is needed because it isn't needed; if there was diversity, advertising would be needed to raise attention to products; since ther

      • by unitron (5733)

        There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail...

        Sure it will. It just won't be your priority, but rather theirs.

      • What good are biometrics

        Theoretically they are unique, so they make a good uid/account name.

        But they make lousy replacements for passwords - passwords' primary quality are their secrecy, and neither fingerprints nor retinas nor vocalisms are secret.

        IBM is dead wrong on this one. At least for the sake of our security I hope they are.

    • Here's the thing. Just because they're not accurate, doesn't mean there is no benefit to it. It's good to look to the future and it's good to dream. A lack of wonder and creativity leads to stagnation. I don't understand saying that people that try to predict the future have no vision. The whole point of this list is more about getting people to think about the future. To get them to imagine. This is not a bad thing. Yeah, you can probably make safe predictions about the future, but that doesn't get people
      • by vlm (69642)

        The problem is their goal is ridiculous, complicated, stock price increasing, security theater, consumerism oriented junk.

        Why not radical simplification instead of dilbertian complication? Other than it wouldn't make IBM as much money so we're not gonna talk about that.

        Walled gardens are simpler, although ickier. I predict more.

        Pointless invasive security theater is simpler than tech. Whatever would be extremely intrusive and intimidating and embarrassing so the Americans will love doing their part for t

    • by Natales (182136) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:34AM (#38435072)
      The problem is that many of these things are potentially possible, but they are presented from the pure technology perspective without considering the social and political aspects that at the end are the ones with the real influence.

      Think about TCP/IP in general. With the power of todays computers, even cell phones, the world should have evolved into an Internet architecture that was purely P2P based. Everything could have been a real cloud of distributed processing and information sharing. But that would have been disruptive, and any technology that would sufficiently threaten the establishment, and in particular the ones with serious money, will be fought back in the form of regulation or in more subtle ways, such as a slight bending of their direction. ADSL was one of those cases, where by empowering a download speed substantially higher than uploads, it literally steered the way technology developed, from all nodes being equal, to nodes becoming consumers, while other becoming servers.
    • Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance.

      This one might be considered a wash, considering the new small manufacturing techniques for computer parts that allow less energy to be used to accomplish more.

    • And here's their predictions from the end of 2007 [ibm.com], which have one year left to come true:

      It will be easy for you to be green and save money doing it

      Arguably yes in some cases, but not for any of the "smart grid" reasons the explanatory text talks about.

      The way you drive will be completely different ... The cities you live in will find a cure for congestion using intelligent traffic systems that can make real-time adjustments to traffic lights and divert traffic to alternate routes with ease.

      Nope.

      You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat ... Advancements in computer software and wireless radio sensor technologies will give you access to much more detailed information about the food you are buying and eating. You will know everything from the climate and soil the food was grown in, to the pesticides and pollution it was exposed to, to the energy consumed to create the product, to the temperature and air quality of the shipping containers it traveled through

      Sounds cool, but nope. All I know about my imported fruit is the "grown in Chile" sticker.

      Your cell phone will be your wallet, your ticket broker, your concierge, your bank, your shopping buddy, and more

      Arguably coming close.

      Doctors will get enhanced “super-senses” to better diagnose and treat you ... An avatar – a 3D representation of your body – will allow doctors to visualize your medical records in an entirely new way, so they can click with the computer mouse on a particular part of the avatar, to trigger a search of your medical records and retrieve information relevant to that part of your body, instead of leafing through pages of notes.

      Pretty sure this ain't happening.

      • by bws111 (1216812)

        IBM has a traffic system in Stockholm that is easing congestion [ibm.com].

        Just yesterday (I think) there was an article on here about an IBM system for tracking food from source to consumer in China.

        IBM's Jeopardy-winning Watson system is now doing medical records processing as mentioned in the last item.

        Are all these things in widespread use? No, not yet. They still require money to implement. However, from a technology point of view, they are available.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          Really that sums it up, IBM make predictions based on stuff they specifically are working on, hoping it will create a little buzz even when there predictions are stupid and sitting at about a million to 1 chance of being globally adopted. I don't think any of there predictions have come particularly true, that includes there traffic system, which many other companies have had and developed over the last few decades too, they are still not in widespread use and even where they are like the proverbial finger
    • It's be easier to predict the future, if you're the one making it happen.

    • <i>We will be able to access health care remotely, from just about anywhere in the world.

      Not even close</i>
      We can do it. It is just that health care organizations are so pressured to cut costs that they do won't implement unless the government is going to fund them or there is a direct effect to the bottom line. We have technologies and standards to do this ICD-10, SNOMED-CT, CDA/CCD, HL7. Already Radiology results are being shipped across the world to be analysed by radiologist during off h
    • IBM's only real, true, main prediction is that information itself and the analytics of it therein will be one of, if not the most important emerging industry in software/IT/CS world. And quite frankly, I'd say they're right. Attaining data on all people, analyzing it, and using that analysis to predict trends (or, for a more direct example, create perfectly oriented, placed and timed advertisements; a more "helpful" example is creating intelligent streetlight timing systems based off of daily, emergent tra

    • People power is hugely difficult and expensive to capture

      Biometrics are a) not foolproof b) not secure c) not the answer

      Mind reading for basic control works, nothing more ...

      Digital divide will still exist, if your village has no electricity, then you won't have a phone ... ...they probably have the last one right Spam will be mostly (mis) directed Adverts ....

  • by pauljlucas (529435) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:20AM (#38434854) Homepage Journal

    In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead.

    I don't care how personalized it is: it's still unsolicited and I don't want it in my in-box. Even if the mail is advertising something I'm interested in, unless I'm actually in the market to buy a new one (which is rare), I'll consider it spam.

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:24AM (#38434904) Journal

      Yeah, unless the spammers figure out how to turn the 10-20% of the population who aren't sheeple into sheeple, #5 isn't coming true, at least not for the whole population.

      What about #2, was I the only one who winced, reading that?

    • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:38AM (#38435122) Homepage Journal

      Directed emails addressed to a specific individual that explain how and why a potential partner or provider is contacting them are not only legal, but necessary as the "cold call" of the internet age.

      Broadcasting to purchased mailing lists using BCC addressing or mailing list processors are spam, and a completely different scummy approach to advertising that smacks of the door to door salesman who won't take "No" for an answer. It's intrusive, it's rude, and the only thing spammers do is guarantee that I will never, ever, ever buy a product from the spaming vendor.

      • Easily within the next decade, without some major, MAJOR backlash, almost all vendors will be doing some form of mass, directed spam. It'll be personalized far more than before, but will still be spam. Right now we just have the luxury of "unsubscribe" options. Which won't really matter when companies are targeting even those that don't sign up.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        Directed emails addressed to a specific individual that explain how and why a potential partner or provider is contacting them are not only legal

        Legal perhaps, but no less annoying. If it's unsolicited, commercial, and email, then it's UCE.

        necessary as the "cold call" of the internet age.

        Cold calls were never necessary. If you make cold calls, DIAF.

    • They are implying on the marketer half of the equation, analytics will advance to the point where you more accurately target your demographic. It will still be unsolicited, but at least volume would go down as the marketer does not waste resources sending mail to people who will never care This may have merit in post, but not email since the former does carry non-trivial cost but the latter doesn't matter. They also explicitly referenced spam filter quality going up on the recipient side.

    • To play devil's advocate here: What if the personalization did include elements such as whether or not you're in the market for something? What if the personalization were tuned to each person's 'spam tolerance' so that the number, type, and content of the emails were below your threshold for annoyance?

      Imagine your phone breaks, and then you sit down and your computer and already there is an email along the lines of: "These are the current best smartphones that match your desires and budget. Here are lin
      • by Hatta (162192)

        What if the personalization did include elements such as whether or not you're in the market for something?

        That's even worse. If I'm in the market for something, I want unbiased information. Not ads.

  • Biometrics? Pass. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dgatwood (11270) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:20AM (#38434860) Journal

    Biometrics are a terrible idea. They can't be changed. That means that as soon as somebody lifts your fingerprint off that class, you're 0wn3d. Forever. Sorry, but biometrics are to proper security what the TSA is to proper security—a lot of flashy show with no real function—a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

    Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe as a fairly weak second factor, but not as a replacement for passwords. A more reasonable solution would be a chip-and-pin scheme in which you enter the pin on the (very simple, hard-to-hack) card rather than on the reader, so that the reader is just a dumb device that passes the authentication request through to a backend server and receives an authorization token a la Kerberos.

    • Obligatory XKCD. http://xkcd.com/936/ [xkcd.com]
    • by vlm (69642)

      Biometrics are a terrible idea. They can't be changed. That means that as soon as somebody lifts your fingerprint off that class, you're 0wn3d.

      glass, not class.

      I can phrase it simpler. If you can measure a biometric using a hardened scanner for years, for less money, I can replicate it for one time use. And most biometric scan technologies are pretty cheap... Hand geometry scanners, owned. fingerprint scanners, LOL. Iris scanners, owned. "face recognition" owned.

      Nearly all biometric devices rely intensely on physical security, once you have access to the device and the wire almost all are subject to playback attacks, some as simple as "open

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        glass, not class.

        Gah. I knew I should have read through that more carefully. :-| My brain said one word, my fingers typed another.

        Nearly all biometric devices rely intensely on physical security, once you have access to the device and the wire almost all are subject to playback attacks, some as simple as "open circuit this wire" or "close circuit this wire".

        And there's no real way to avoid that as long as the device is under someone else's control. At some point in the hardware, the unencrypted data must

        • by bws111 (1216812)

          What if the biometric device was not simply measuring a static thing (retina, fingerprint, etc) but the result of some action? What if to log on to your phone, it put up a message and said 'Please speak your passphrase, which is: My name is Mike, the bicycle is green, good morning'? Or 'hold the phone to your ear, and think of this image', and then read your brainwaves?

          Yes, I am sure there are lots of problems with implementing such a thing, so don't point them out. The point is that there are biometri

    • What I like even less about biometrics replacing passwords is that the emphasis shifts from something you know (and, of course, can change or use selectively) to who you are. Because your biometrics identify you, you're traceable wherever you go, forever.

    • You assume biometrics are fingerprint/iris scanners and the likes. Why couldn't our "mind reading" computer friends tell who you are based on your thought pattern? How about coupled with the scent of pheromones you excrete? Volume of food you tend to have in your stomach? The style of tacky shirt you tend to wear? Obviously, none of these are a solution by themselves, but if you put enough of these patterns together, you should be able to tell who is who.
    • by swillden (191260) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @01:32PM (#38437792) Homepage Journal

      I've been working around advanced security technologies for the last 15 years, and this is what I always tell people about biometrics: Biometrics have two major use cases. In those contexts they are valuable. Outside of them, not so much.

      First, they're great as highly-convenient low-security access controls for stuff that doesn't matter very much. Fingerprint scanner to get into the gym? Great! Face scan to unlock your phone? Great, because the phone's camera is pretty much always going to be pointed at your face when you need to dial a number anyway, so the convenience factor is awesome -- but only as long as it only unlocks relatively unimportant stuff. The really important data on your phone should be protected with a good password.

      Second they're great in very high-security contexts where lots of money is spent to make the acquisition and verification secure. Biometrics, done properly, are highly unique and so a good authenticator of the individual as long as they're not spoofed, or replayed. So they can be relied upon in contexts where replay is impossible (because the scanning devices, template storage, comparison engine and paths between them are all well-secured) and where spoofing is impossible (because someone is actively watching you to verify you're not doing anything to fake out the scanners).

      So biometrics are good at securing stuff that doesn't matter much at all, and stuff that matters so much that significant investment can be applied to make them actually secure. In between? Nope.

      Oh, and most of the 15 years I worked around this stuff was while I was employed by IBM. I gave this mini-lecture to countless IBM execs. I'm not at all surprised to see how little good it did.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1: More ways to power the mandatory GPS trackers governments will require of individuals. Maybe even ways to bring the concept of a remote "kill switch" to a new level not seen outside of Dune and heart plugs.

    2: I will never need a password again, but neither would the hackers and phishers who manage to get the unchangeable identification from the biometric device.

    3: The thought police will be real. Same with thoughtcrime.

    4: The poor will receive something, it will be like a TV with one-to-many broadc

  • by g0bshiTe (596213) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:22AM (#38434880)

    (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

    Any unsolicited mail will always be spam no matter how personal and relevant it is.

    • What if spam comes in the form of discussion board members who make relevant posts, otherwise indistinguishable from human posters (but are really computer programs), then form friendships with you, and only inject their spam payload via occasional, bizarre suggestions that you should try out some flaky product (which is otherwise out of character for such an intelligent poster)?

      I think that's what IBM has in mind ... or at least, would be a serious, creepy way of implementing what they describe.

      Fortunately

    • Exactly. If marketing material is more and more targeted and all pervasive:

      - I would find it really freaking creepy. I don't care if it is relevent or not
      - I would make a point of NOT shopping at anywhere that targeted me in this manner

      Of course stores *may* realise that people don't want this kind of unsolicited hassle and start stating that they don't use this technique. You never know ...

  • by milbournosphere (1273186) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:27AM (#38434942)

    (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

    It'll still be crap that's stuffing my mailbox, I'll still use it as kindling, and it'll still exist only to keep the USPS in business. The only way I'd even bother looking at junk mail would be if it screamed as I threw it into the fire.

    • by emurphy42 (631808)
      And even then, you'd throw it in anyway and cackle with sadistic glee, wouldn't you? I sure as hell would.

      "If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason." -Jack Handey

  • Canonical will see a not insignificant number of Ubuntu users migrate over to Mint Linux.

    PS4 and the next Xbox will be announced at E3, to be released in 2013.

    Facebook will experience its first notable slump in active users.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:31AM (#38435010) Homepage

    1) It's enough to drive a wrist watch, but no I don't think so.
    2) Not going to happen or you could do "identity theft" from any paper cup..
    3) Very limited degree of giving directions with your mind, yes. Anything that actually resembles reading a thought? No.
    4) The "poorest of the poor" live on less than a dollar a day. It's a long way to everyone browsing the Internet on their smartphone.
    5) Hahahhahhahaha LOL

    My prediction is that all these predictions are wrong. That's not to say anything big won't happen, but IBM isn't exactly a Jobs or Zuckerberg. They're good on tech research but I think several of these predictions lack real world grounding.

  • I'd like to see Number 1 more often, such as the so called self-winding watches that rely on the motions of your arm.
    Then again, for those peculiar people who don't swing their arms when they walk (that sorta creeps me out) they won't work so well

    I don't see number 2 happening.
    Number 5? Never.
    Number 3 is the most likely, IMO.

  • by wombatmobile (623057) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:36AM (#38435100)

    Duh... the reason Junk Mail is not valued by the recipient is because it is INTRUSIVE. Intrusiveness cannot be overcome by personalisation. More like enhanced. The more personalized the junk, the creepier the intrusion.

    I wonder why that person from IBM predicts such a creepy future?

    Why does IBM pay someone to publish creepy stuff like that?

  • 1 - cant happen unless they really reduce computer power requirements. People dont have that much power to generate passively.
    2 - HAHAHAHAHA Yeah right.
    3 - I dont think so. we can barely control a mouse position or even do a reliable on or off.
    4 - Not a chance in hell unless Cellphone data costs drop to $0.00
    5 - Companies dont get it that people dont read junk mail to the home, when Spam costs nothing, why stop using it?

    Did they ask the janitor for these predictions?

  • Conveniently aimed at technologies in which I'm sure IBM is investing.

    I predict that in five years, it'll look at lot like it does now, with perhaps different providers.

  • by Zamphatta (1760346) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:50AM (#38435296) Homepage
    Hack (verb) - to cut off someone's finger or eyeball, in order to use it later for biometrically entering their computer accounts.
  • Ten years ago few people predicted the huge variety of applications one would be able to do on a pocket-size computer. It was consider dicey at the time for Apple to get into the phone busy at all, even though this seemed be the logical progression of ever smarter iPods. The real innovation came when Apple opened these devices to devices after an initial year of resistance. Something perhaps not even Steve anticipated.

    This is just one of several under-expected forecasts in the industry- the surprise r
  • by n5vb (587569) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:53AM (#38435352)

    (1) People power will come to life. Advances in technology will allow us to trap the kinetic energy generated (and wasted) from walking, jogging, bicycling, and even from water flowing through pipes.

    Possible, I'd say. Not holding my breath, but this is at least benign.

    (2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will finally replace the password and thus redefine the word 'hack.'

    Yes you will. Authentication that relies on a single factor has been proven time and time again to be inadequate. The most viable authentication methods have almost always relied on at least two factors, the rule of thumb being "something you have and something you know" .. the latter being a password, or a PIN, or some other piece of information you memorize. Until we can all do public-key encryption in our heads, passwords or other memory-based authentication factors will be necessary. Even if they take a form like "crimson, eleven, delight, petrichor".

    (3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction. Scientists are working on headsets with sensors that can read brain activity and recognize facial expressions, excitement, and more without needing any physical inputs from the wearer.

    Only a complete extrovert would find this idea anything other than absolutely horrifying. (Granted, extrovert-chauvinism is endemic to this culture, so it's not surprising this would be seen by major decision-makers as a good thing.) I cannot imagine any future where I would trust any real-world government run by any of the kinds of people who've been running things until now with any knowledge of what's going on in my mind. The moment they think they know what's going on in our heads with any degree of reliability, people start getting preemptively locked up by "precrime" units for crimes the state thinks they were about to commit, either in a genuine (if misguided) effort to protect "the public", or as a pretext for locking up people who disagree with them .. most likely the latter, in my experience. (And I'm not even going to open up the can of worms of whether they really do know what people are thinking. Being convinced they know and being wrong is even worse than actually knowing.)

    (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected.

    Probably. The continuing value of being "connected" just for its own sake remains to be seen.

    (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

    I'm almost as disturbed by this as by (3) above. There's a real danger in the cognitive merger of advertising and human interaction that, again, I'm not sure is getting nearly as much critical attention as it deserves because the type of people who promote advertising tend to be extreme extroverts who don't have much of a grasp of the self/other boundary. However, for those of us who value our own internal identities and prefer to draw a clear distinction between interacting with actual human beings on an individual level and the (increasingly intrusive) encroachment of advertising on those interactions, or for me at least if I'm the only one, spam will always be spam, because unsolicited messages designed to persuade the recipient to buy a certain product or have a certain positive emotional reaction to a certain brand will be intrusive whether they're personalized or not. And I for one don't want them personalized and indistinguishable from my interactions with family and friends. I want there to be a clear distinction between the two -- I want advertising to be honest about the fact that it's trying to sell me something.

    One of my biggest concerns with blurring that particular boundary is that advertising sells candidates for public offi

  • True futurists (Score:5, Insightful)

    by harperska (1376103) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:55AM (#38435384)

    People who truly have an accurate vision of the future don't make silly public predictions or videos [microsoft.com] about where they think technology will be in 5 years. They work in secret in labs at places like Google or Apple making said future actually happen so that in 5 years they can sell it to you.

  • by g2devi (898503) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @10:59AM (#38435478)

    Here's my take:
    (1) People power will come to life.

    Hmmm, most people who use a PC or tablet (unless they're playing a game) tend to sit quietly at location for hours on end. There's not a lot of opportunity to harness power. Now it might be possible for such harnessing to power cell phones and iPods, but unless cell phones use significantly less power, this is a no-go.

    (2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will.....

    Yes, immediately after voice recognition and AI take over. Biometrics might take over for informal use, but it's too flawed (either too many false negatives or false positives) for widespread use. It's much more likely that a personal SKEY-type personal RFID might become available.

    (3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction.

    It's no longer science fiction today, but even if it is cheap enough, our minds are too scattered to have this as the primary mode of input.

    (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make....

    May parts of the world live on less than one dollar a year, virtually no infrastructure, and have virtually no need for technology that doesn't directly contribute to the bottom line (i.e. surviving). The digital divide will be around for years to come.

    (5) Junk mail will become priority mail.

    This might be come true, but it would be priority mail for mail services who want to gain extra income, not users.

    Okay, let's assume that all people play by the rules of using this smart feature (and that there's enough gold at the end of the rainbow to end world hunger).

    Smart junk mail is the modern equivalent of Microsoft Clippy. Yes Clippy tried to be helpful, and often did provide users with valuable information, but it was still hated precisely because it was unsolicited.

    This is not to say that junk mail can't be made valuable. If mail could be pulled into three bands by mail providers, "Regular Mail", "Smart Mail", and "Junk mail". It has to be something that depends on the mail providers, not solely the mail publishers since we can't trust them. For most people, smart mail would be ignored unless you were looking for a deal. You could then call on it as a supplementary knowledge base.

  • by j-turkey (187775) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @11:01AM (#38435508) Homepage
    Bruce Schneier said it better than I can. [schneier.com]

    Biometrics are unique identifiers, but they are not secrets. You leave your fingerprints on everything you touch, and your iris patterns can be observed anywhere you look.

    Authenticating with biometrics is little better than using social security numbers. They are both unique identifiers, but neither are secrets, making them better suited to user id's. Passwords, on the other hand, are secrets.

  • by sociocapitalist (2471722) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @11:10AM (#38435640)

    (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected.

    The poorest of the poor don't have enough food to eat, never mind portable phones and dataplans to allow them on the net.

    The digital divide also isn't only about accessing the Internet. The limitations of a mobile with regard to screen size, input speed and capacities will keep it from being used in any serious way.

    I'm guessing this is more of a list of what IBM hopes to promote the next year or two.

  • by Ransak (548582) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @11:13AM (#38435674) Homepage Journal
    2) Biometrics is not authentication, it's identification. Any system pretending otherwise is ripe for abuse.
  • . . . IBM just has to make money off them for the next five years . . .

    • This is exactly what I was going to post. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. These are obviously the new technologies that IBM is investing in and banking on. The three that stick out as creepy are the biometrics, mind-reading, and advertising. All three scream privacy invasion to me and all three can (will) be abused in the wrong hands.

      The kinetic energy proposal seems promising but the digital divide issue just seems to be the 'safe bet.' It's already the case that cell phones are allowing almost anyone

  • " The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected." The above should read... "They will try to make everyone believe they can't live without a mobile phone, taking as much money as possible from the poorest of the poor."
  • by lightknight (213164) on Tuesday December 20, 2011 @11:50AM (#38436214) Homepage

    Wonderous. Then I shall tip my hat into the ring, as these kinds of postings seem to require (post an article about the top 5 predictions by someone, and any number of people feel the urge to weigh in / post theirs).

    We'll go with the 5 Virtues and the 5 Vices.

    Let's start with the Vices, as they are almost guaranteed to be accurate.

    1.) Government intrusion into your personal life / civil liberties through technology will continue to increase in frequency / magnitude. Various mentions in the press of 31337 h@x0r$ / foreign governments will fuel a demand for security. The average person will not understand nor care about the 'wars' springing up between those who built the internet, and those who wish to own / destroy / (laughably) safeguard it.
    2.) The courts / policy makers will continue to be behind on both their understanding of technology, as well as their understanding of the effects of their rulings in this area. One or two judges may attempt to learn technology, but the rest will remain afraid / underestimate the importance of its effects on the populace. Several bills, and several precedents may make the government machinery appear even more out of touch with the populace than it already is.
    3.) Advertisers will continue to promote more intrusive and convoluted schemes. Older forms of advertisement will appear to be less effective than these newer forms. (Just for fun) -> A careful examination of data will show an actual increase in the number of people buying things through the older text-based ads, as the hipsters, always wanting to be seen as non-conformists, will eschew the newer flash / HTML5 / video ads in favor of the older ones, stating that they sound better on vinyl.
    4.) "Social" networking / Web 2.0 will continue to be promoted as the future by every person without an adequate business plan, as these people will believe that schmoozing (and charisma) is more important to success than the underlying technology and a solid understanding of the market they wish to operate in. "It's not what you know, but who you know" will hold sway here, as the product may or may not materialize, but the focus will be on making "friends."
    5.) Older / mature technology companies will continue to stagger. This problem will mostly manifest itself in upper management / the boardroom, where, if many a corporation could speak, the question of "Where is my head?" would continuously be asked. Several attempts will be made to fix this problem, including company literature speaking of 'vision' and the appointment of a token tech, chosen by way of popularity, to provide a counter-weight to the several members from marketing.

    Now for the Virtues, which are almost guaranteed to be wildly inaccurate.

    1.) Those skilled in the art of Learning / Technology will finally find a common language / understanding, with the result of educational software that actually speeds up human learning at a rate of over 1000%. It will be possible for any human to assume any job, with less than two months of training. The result will be the appearance of second-graders with PhDs, which will temporarily increase unemployment.
    2.) Physicists will improve their understanding of gravity, such that the movement of subatomic particles (gravity tweezers), or trips to faraway planets will become possible. They will find out that in the aftermath of their discoveries, they have more questions than answers, thus fueling the demand for another several generations of humanity to figure it all out.
    3.) Artificial Intelligence will become a reality. A certain amount of unsteadiness will be felt for some time, as AI / human relationships take a meandering path towards an equilibrium. Old wounds, in the form of the institution of slavery, will reappear and questions of sentience will dog AI and human philosophers for generations. A common ground may be found when they both find problems that neither is particularly fond of.
    4.) Fusion will finally become economically viable. A careful understanding of humanity's in

  • 1. No free lunch. You can't separate "wasted" energy from "efficient" energy. And you can't get something from nothing.

    2. You'd need the hardware for that. I'd be happy if we were allowed unlimited pass phrases, instead of the eight characters (with numbers and symbols to make it strong(?)).

    3. Lie detectors++, maybe. But am afraid of the serious misuse potential, especially since I would guess that there will be a certain element of error still. Can see lots of "terrorists" (ahem) getting put away

  • 1) People will be transformed into batteries (Matrix, anyone?)
    2) Our access to anything will be controlled by those who own our biometric data
    3) Not even our innermost mind will be granted a right to privacy
    4) We'll be so poor that we will only be able to access the channels imposed to us
    5) We will be forced to suffer all the crap they will send us (NB: personalized my ass)

    Sounds paranoiac?
  • I feel like biometrics are the video phones of our generation. Constant predictions that never come true. They've been predicting video phones for the better part of a century and they've only reached the novelty stage.

    They're no where near 5 years off for a couple of reasons.

    First off is the psychological factor. There are a couple of facets to this one. People are squeamish about biometrics. There are a ton of scare stories about, "What if someone chops my finger off to steal my car?" This won't wor

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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