IBM has been recognized for their ability to make accurate predictions for the future of technology. The company employees approximately 380,000 people, and operates in 170 countries. It has also been responsible for many important technological items that we use every day including: UPC barcodes, ATMs and the hard drive disc. At the beginning of 2017, the company made five predictions for technology that they believe will be widely used within the next five years.
- Artificial Intelligence will use our words, and speech patterns, to recognize mental health problems and improve our understanding of them.
Humans can determine many things about a person’s character based on the way that they are speaking, including their current emotional standpoint. Artificial intelligence (AI) has caused a rapid advance in speech analysis, and IBM has predicted that in the near future it will use telltale signs in our speech patterns to determine both our physical and mental health. This will allow Parkinson’s and other mental diseases to be detected and treated earlier, possibly using a mobile phone app. A program that detects variations in normal speech patterns, invented by a team from the University of Southern California, is currently being used to identify when somebody is suffering from depression.
- Hyperimaging and AI leading to an increase in our visual capacity.
As humans, we cannot view the electromagnetic spectrum with the naked eye. IBM has predicted that technology which will allow us to see microwaves and infrared waves, will be available sooner rather than later. Variations have already been applied to several devices, including Enchroma glasses, which allow people who are colorblind to view the color spectrum.
- A greater understanding of our planet using macroscopes.
The most accurate description of a macroscope is a microscope which would amplify details of the Earth to much larger spectrums. This would allow us to combine all the data we receive to determine factors such as the state of the planet, the number of resources available and events in outer space that may devastate the Earth.
- Diseases will be traced on the nanoscale by ‘Labs on a Chip.’
Nanotechnology has already played a great factor in increasing our ability to detect diseases and help to contain and cure them. IBM has predicted that this technology will continue to expand and could be applied at home by capturing and assessing bodily fluids. The earlier illnesses are detected the easier and more effective treatment is, and this application would help to significantly decrease the number of people that die from disease annually.
- Environmental pollution will be detected quickly and easily using smart sensors.
IBM has stated that smart sensors could be embedded in the ground, or fitted to drones, to detect pollutants and emissions. These would be extremely beneficial if placed near natural wells, pipelines and storage facilities to detect methane leaks. Methane is currently the second largest environmental pollutant, and is extremely difficult to detect. The application of the technology would significantly reduce its effect on the environment.