IBM Releases Five Technology Predictions For The Next Five Years


IBM is out with five future predictions for technology over the next five years. Their predictions touch on a number of areas from healthcare to smart cities to social sharing. Most relevantly smart cities will continue to be a growing trend at the state and local level, IBM says “cities will learn you.”

By 2030, the towns and cities of the developing world will make up 80%t of urban humanity and by 2050, seven out of every 10 people will be a city dweller. Smart cities will be able to understand in real-time the changes happening in their city and how to respond. These responses could cover a range of issues from traffic accidents to public health. “Cities will start to help us live there,” Kerrie Hollie, IBM Fellow, CTO of IBM’s SOA Center of Excellence tells CivSource. “More and more technology will be at the hands of civic leaders to help them make decisions and get insights they wouldn’t have had before.”

On the healthcare side, in five years, advances in big data analytics and emerging cloud-based cognitive systems coupled with breakthroughs in genomic research and testing could help doctors to accurately diagnose cancer and create personalized cancer treatment plans for millions of patients around the world. Smart machines will take the output of full genome sequencing and scour vast repositories of medical records and publications to learn and quickly provide specific and actionable insights on treatment options for oncologists.

IBM is beginning to explore this opportunity, working with health care partners to develop systems that could deliver genomic insights and reduce the time it takes to find the right treatment for a patient from weeks and months to days and minutes.

The company is also taking a stance on cybersecurity. IBM scientists are using machine learning technologies to understand the behaviors of mobile devices on a network in order to assess potential risk. Hollie says scientists predict that security will mean assimilating contextual, situational and historical data to verify a person’s identity on different devices. The result will be user protection through a digital guardian that can make inferences about what’s normal or reasonable activity and what’s not, acting as an advisor when they want it to.

The final two predictions focus on consumer trends and education. Both of these areas will see a return to more intimate user experiences in which shoppers prefer to buy local over buying online, but the employees in those local stores will now have a greater ability to provide expertise and get around issues like showrooming which has plagued brick and mortar stores since the advent of cyber shopping.

In education, the company expects to see a more digital yet more intimate student experience. Hollie explains that technology will actually help teachers teach more, and teach better rather than just giving students the answers on an iPad. In the next five years the classroom will learn about each student using longitudinal data such as test scores, attendance and student’s behavior on e-learning platforms, not just aptitude tests.

IBM scientists are already getting to work in the classroom. In a first-of-a-kind research project with Gwinnett County Public Schools, the 14th largest school district in the US, IBM will leverage big data analytics and learning technologies for population analysis of longitudinal student records. The project aims to identify similarities of learning, predict performance and learning needs, then align specific content and successful teaching techniques to improve outcomes for each of the district’s 170,000 students and ultimately increase the district’s graduation rate.