updated 02:25 pm EST, Mon December 19, 2011
IBM releases Five in Five 2011 tech predictions
IBM has revealed its sixth-annual Five in Five technology predictions for the future on Monday. The computer maker has outlined the five technologies that it believes will become commonplace within the next five years. The first of them involves recycling kinetic energy that would otherwise go to waste to help power homes, cities and workplaces. This could be done through dynamos on bicycles that could recharge portable devices, capturing heat from a computer, or walking and jogging.
Another involves not needing a password for accessing computers, taking out money from an ATM or other such services, but instead relying on eye-scanning sensors or voice recognition. This multifactor biometrics tech would collect information in real-time and authenticate it.
IBM researchers are also researching ways to connect human brains to computers or smartphones. Users could place phone calls or control the cursor just by thinking, IBM believes. Bioinformatics headsets would read electrical brain activity that can recognize facial expressions, excitement and concentration levels. Within five years, early uses of this tech will be applied in the gaming and entertainment, IBM says. This would also help doctors analyze and heal patients with brain disorders or damage.
The hardware giant also sees a marked reduction in the gap between poor and rich access to mobile technology thanks to ever-growing sales. The company believes that, in five years, 80 percent of the current global population would have a mobile device. Those in third-world countries could access the web and key information from their relatively cheap phones without having to buy a computer.
Finally, IBM predicts the death of junk mail, as ads will purportedly become so personalized to users that they will no longer be categorized as spam. IBM would collect information from social networks and online preferences to custom-tailor content instead of having to send bulk messages.