By Emeka Aginam
With technology closing digital divide among global communities, there are strong indications based on International Business Machine’s (IBM) predictions that the year 2012 will open a new vista in the technology industry as smart machines, predictive software, smart email, biometric password, among others would become realities by changing the way people work, live and play in the next five years.
Based on the new study, IBM disclosed that the five technology innovations that shape the future were based on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from ITS labs around the world that could make these transformations possible.
By 2017, according to IBM prediction, the world will have human_generated electricity, the digital divide would have closed, junk mail and passwords will be things of the past, and man_machine interfaces will allow individuals to control electronic devices through thought.
“We’re bridging the gap between science fiction and science fact on a daily basis,” said IBM while rolling out its “5 in 5” list, which are not limited to the following prognostications.
For the technology giant, one of the biggest untapped energy sources on the planet is human movement.
“Anything that moves or produces heat has the potential to create energy that can be captured” IBM said, adding that future is expected to bring devices that will capture and store energy generated by every day activities, like riding a bicycle or even walking.
According to IBM’s new research, advances in renewable energy technology will allow individuals to collect this kinetic energy, which now goes to waste, and use it to help power our homes, workplaces and cities.
“Imagine attaching small devices to the spokes on your bicycle wheels that recharge batteries as you pedal along.
“ IBM scientists in Ireland are looking at ways to understand and minimize the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity” the company explained in the study.
No more passwords
People’s biological makeup, IBM said, is the key to people’s individual identity, and soon, will become the key to safeguarding it.
With the technology innovation, according to the technology firm , people will be able to walk up to an ATM machine to securely withdraw money by simply speaking their names or looking into a tiny sensor that can recognize the unique patterns in the retina of their eye.
Or by doing the same, you can check your account balance on your mobile phone or tablet, the study further revealed.
“ Each person has a unique biological identity and behind all that is data. Biometric data – facial definitions, retinol scans and voice files will be composited through software to build your DNA unique online password.
“Referred to as multifactor biometrics, smarter systems will be able to aggregate this information in real time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile and it is authentic.
“Smarter systems will be able to use this information in real_time to make sure whenever someone is attempting to access your information, it matches your unique biometric profile.” the company said.
Mind reading becomes science fact
Already, IBM researchers were working on projects they hope will eventually allow humans to control PCs and other electronic devices simply by thinking about what they want the machine to do.
Such systems, which often employ headsets that can record electrical brain activity, have already been developed for those with spinal cord injuries and other disabilities, but IBM sees more general uses as well.
“Within 5 years, we will begin to see early applications of this technology in the gaming and entertainment industry,” the company said.
Digital divide closes
In five years, according to IBM study, the gap between information haves and have nots will narrow considerably due to advances in mobile technology
Although IT penetration is growing at geometric progression, large percentage of the global community are yet to have access to the computers or smartphones they need to get online.
As a result of this, IBM believes that the so_called digital divide will close sooner than expected, predicting that that 80% of the world’s population will have a mobile phone within five years. “As it becomes cheaper to own a mobile phone, people without a lot of spending power will be able to do much more than they can today,” IBM said.
“In India, using speech technology and mobile devices, IBM enabled rural villagers who were illiterate to pass along information through recorded messages on their phones. With access to information that was not there before, villagers could check weather reports for help them decide when to fertilize crops, know when doctors were coming into town, and find the best prices for their crops or merchandise.
“Growing communities will be able to use mobile technology to provide access to essential information and better serve people with new solutions and business models such as mobile commerce and remote healthcare” IBM explained
Junk mail becomes smart mail
For many years now, junk mails have been a big challenge both the internet users and service providing
The problem of junk mail, according to the study could be greatly reduced, or eliminated altogether, through smarter marketing and advertising systems that are better able to anticipate what an individual wants, and when.
“Imagine if tickets to your favourite band are put on hold for you the moment they became available, and for the one night of the week that is free on your calendar,” IBM said.
With this, IBM said it was working on such things, even though technologies that scan your digital persona and convey it to marketers could raise privacy concerns. Spam filters will be so precise you’ll never be bothered by unwanted sales pitches again.” One can only hope, the technology firm said.