IBM has identified the five innovations the computer technology company believes will change our world within the next five years.
The ‘IBM 5 in 5’ include artificial intelligence helping to better understand our mental health, hyperimaging and AI will give us superhero vision, macroscopes helping us to understand Earth’s complexity in infinite detail, medical labs “on a chip” will serve as health detectives for tracing disease at the nanoscale, and smart sensors will detect environmental pollution at the speed of light.
IBM predicts that with artificial intelligence, our words will be a window into our mental health, and that in five years what we say and write will be used as indicators of our mental health and physical well being.
This will be achieved through the use of cognitive computers which will analyse the patient’s speech or written words to look for tell-tale indicators found in language, including meaning, syntax, and intonation.
The results of these measurements from cognitive computers combined with measurements gained from wearable devices and imaging devices (MRIs and EEG’s) will allow once invisible signs will become clear signals of a patient’s likelihood of entering a certain mental state, and will give health professionals a better understanding of how to treat the underlying mental disease.
If this IBM prediction becomes reality, it could address the global issue of mental health conditions, which are expected to cost over $6t by 2030.
IBM also predicts that hyper imaging and artificial intelligence (A.I) will give us superhero vision in five years.
This will be achieved by new imaging devices using hyper imaging technology and AI to see broadly beyond the domain of visible light by combining multiple bands of the electromagnetic spectrum to reveal valuable insights or potential dangers that would otherwise be unknown or hidden from view.
More than 99.9% of the electromagnetic spectrum cannot be seen by the naked eye, with instruments in existence which do this such as for use in medicine and security, but which are incredibly specialized and expensive.
The new predicted technology could solve this problem by offering a portable, affordable and accessible device, thus introducing this ‘superhero vision’ technology into everyday use.
According to the ‘IBM 5 in 5’, by 2022 macroscopes will help us understand Earth’s complexity in infinite detail.
IBM predicts that in five years we will use machine-learning algorithms and software to help us organize the information about the physical world to help bring the vast and complex data gathered by billions of devices within the range of our vision and understanding.
IBM calls this understanding of data a ‘macroscope’ – a system of software and algorithms to help bring all of Earth’s complex data together to analyze it by space and time for meaning.
Most of the world’s data is currently unorganized with new sources of data from millions of connected objects pouring in from the Internet of Things.
Macroscope technology will help to address this data problem while also transforming many industries in that the organization and analyzing of data will reveal the problems humanity faces, such as climate change and the availability of food and water.
Another prediction by IBM is that in five years new medical labs on a chip will serve as nanotechnology health detectives by tracing invisible clues in our bodily fluids and letting us know immediately if we have any reason to see a doctor.
The goal of this potential innovation is to shrink down into one single silicon chip all of the processes necessary to analyze a disease that would normally be carried out in a full-scale biochemistry lab.
This lab-on-a-chip technology could be a groundbreaking innovation in that it could ultimately be packaged in a convenient handheld device to allow people to quickly and regularly measure the presence of biomarkers found in small amounts of bodily fluids and then sending this information securely streaming into the cloud from the convenience of their home.
This information could then be combined with real-time health data from other IoT-enabled devices such as sleep monitors and smart watches.
This data would then give the user an in-depth view of our health and alert us to the first signs of trouble to help stop the disease before it progresses.
The lab-on-a-chip technology will help solve the current problem of some diseases such as cancer or Parkinson’s being hard to detect, in that they lie hiding in our bodies before symptoms appear.
Currently, information about the state of our health can be extracted from tiny bioparticles in body fluids, but are difficult to capture and analyze due to their minuscule size.
The medical labs on a chip are predicted to solve this problem by identifying these clues in our bodily fluid by condensing the capacity of a lab into one silicon chip.
The fifth prediction by IBM states that smart sensors will detect environmental pollution at the speed of light.
They predict that in five years new affordable sensing technologies deployed near natural as extraction wells, around storage facilities, and along distribution pipelines will enable the industry to pinpoint invisible leaks in real-time.
Networks of IoT sensors wirelessly connected to the cloud will provide continuous monitoring of the vast natural gas infrastructure, allowing leaks to be found in a matter of minutes instead of weeks, reducing pollution and waste and the likelihood of catastrophic events.
These smart sensors will be able to address the problem that exists in that most pollutants are invisible to the human eye, such as methane which is estimated to be the second-largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide.