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Five innovations that will go on to revolutionise Human lives within next five years


ARMONK, USA: IBM showcased the eighth annual “IBM 5 in 5” (#ibm5in5) – that happens to be a list of innovations that carry the potential to change the mode people tend to work, live and interact during the future five years.

* The classroom will learn the user.

* Buying local will beat online.

* Doctors will routinely make use of DNA to keep the user well.

* A “digital guardian” will protect the user online.

* The city will help the user to live in it.

This year’s IBM ‘5 in 5’ explores the sheer inkling and something more than that which seems to drive home the fact that everything will learn – fueled by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with mankind in a more natural and personalized way. These innovations are beginning to surface enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics and learning technologies all coming together and getting synchronized with the appropriate privacy and security considerations for consumers, citizens, students and patients.

Over time these computers will get smarter and more customized by virtue of interactions with data, devices and people, helping patrons, technocrats as well as users to take on what may have been literally seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information that surrounds Mankind and bringing the right insight or suggestion to one’s fingertips spot on when it’s most needed.

A new age in computing will lead to breakthroughs that will amplify human abilities, assisting the race in making good choices, look out for interests and niches and help navigate the world in a powerfully poised, brand new way, that is.

We know more now than any other generation at any time that has known. And yet, we struggle to keep up with this flood of increasingly complex information, let alone make sense of the meaning that is inherent in the massive amounts of data we are acquiring at ever faster rates,” Reportedly lipped, Dr. Dario Gil, director, Cognitive Experience Lab, IBM.  Further volumnising his rhetoric, by quipping thus, “By creating technology that is explicitly designed to learn and enhance our cognition we will usher in a new era of progress for both individuals and for society at large.”

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The IBM 5 in 5 is centered on market and societal trends as well as emerging technologies from IBM’s brainstormed Research labs around the world that can make these transformations conceivable.

In a headcount of sorts, here are the five “Nostradamus” like predictions laid threadbare that will go on to define the future and impact Mankind at a personal level, viz:-

The classroom will learn you

The number of individuals who don’t have sufficient education behind them seems to emerge as a foremost global challenge. Estimates shed light on certain statistics reading that, on a global basis, nearly 2 out of every 3 adults have not achieved the equivalent of a high school education. It is at this phase that one can possibly ask that What if a student could go through their entire stages of education and master the skills critical to meeting their personal goals in life?

The classroom of the future will give educationalists and mentors alike the relevant tools to learn about every student, providing them with a tailored curriculum from kindergarten to high school and on to the milestone of employment. In the next five years the classroom will learn about each student using longitudinal data ranging from test scores, attendance and student’s behavior on e-learning platforms, not just mere conducting of conventional aptitude tests.

Sophisticated analytics conveyed over the cloud will offer decision support to teachers so that their fraternity can foretell students who are most at risk, their roadblocks and then suggest measures to help students conquer their challenges based on their individual learning style, peculiar to each one of them, that is.

IBM Pundits 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 followed by learning need and then align specific content and successful teaching techniques to improve outcomes for each of the district’s 170,000 students and ultimately lead to the escalation of the district’s graduation rate.

Buying local will beat online

Shopping online is something more of a trend besides being a national past time. Online sales topped $1 trillion worldwide for the first time last year, and are growing promisingly faster than in-store sales.

Online stores currently have an advantage in their ability to learn from the choices one makes over the web. Today, most physical stores are limited to the insights they can gain at the point of sale – and the leaning towards show – rooming is making it harder to compete with online retailers who compete solely on parameters and yardsticks price.

In the next five years, new-fangled innovations will make buying local du jour once again. Savvy retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that cannot be replicated by online-only retail. They will magnify the digital experience by bringing the web right to where the shopper can physically touch it.

In five years time, retailers could rely on Watson-like technologies to equip sales associates and be an expert about every product in the store. Bracing as well as being game for technologies such as augmented reality and the recently announced plan to open Watson as an app development platform, IBM is providing shoppers with better in-store browsing and buying experiences.

As mobile devices supported by cloud computing empower individuals to share what makes them tick, their health or nutritional needs, virtual closets and social networks, retailers will soon be able to anticipate with incredible accuracy the products a shopper most wants and needs. As a result, stores will transform into immersive destinations with experiences customized for each individual.

And, given their proximity and multiple footprints, stores will be able to offer shoppers a assortment of fast pick-up or delivery options, wherever the customer is. Seen this way, two day shipping will feel like snail mail.

Doctors will routinely make use of DNA to keep the user well

Cancer is a complicated disease and despite tremendous advances the world over in terms of research and treatment, the incidence of cancer has risen more than 10 percent since 2008, striking more than 14 million patients and claiming the lives of 8.1 million every year around the globe.

Picture this, if treatment could be more specific and precise – where computers could help doctors understand how a tumor gradually affects a patient down to their DNA and present a collective set of medications shown to best attack cancer.

 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 from their quarter will take the output of full genome sequencing and scour vast repositories involving medical records and publications to absorb and quickly provide specific and actionable insights on treatment options available for oncologists.

Cancer care, personalized right down to a genomic level, has been on the horizon since scientists first sequenced the human genome, but few clinicians have access to the tools and time to assess the insights available at this level. Within five years, cloud-based cognitive systems could make such personalized medicine available at a scale and speed never before possible.

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

These systems are destined to get even smarter over time by learning about people, their genomic information and response to drugs – opening up the possibility to provide DNA-specific personalized treatment options for conditions such as stroke and heart disease.

Through the cloud, smarter healthcare could scale to reach more people in more locations, while also giving a global community of healthcare providers access to vital information.

A digital guardian will protect the user online

Today, Mankind has multiple IDs and devices than ever before, yet, security is highly fragmented, leaving the scene vulnerable. In 2012 alone, there were more than 12 million victims of identity fraud in the United States. Traditional approaches to security – passwords, anti-virus or a firewall – are not comprehensive.

These rules-based approaches fall short in quite a lot of ways – For they are designed to recognize only known viruses or known fraudulent activity and typically only look at a single source of data.

In five years, each Individual could be protected with their own digital guardian which will become trained to focus on the people and items it is entrusted with, offering a new level of identity theft protection. Security will assimilate contextual, situational and historical data to verify a person’s identity on different devices. By learning about users, a digital guardian can make interpretations about what’s normal or reasonable activity and what’s not, acting as an advisor when they want it to.

At the moment, IBM scientists are using machine learning technologies to understand the behaviors of mobile devices on a network in order to assess potential risk. In the future, security is going to become more agile and contextual with a 360 degree of data, devices and applications that are ready to spot deviations which could be precursors to an attack and a stolen identity.

The city will help the user to live in it

It is believed that by 2030, the towns and cities of the developing world will structure 80 percent of urban humanity and by 2050; seven out of every 10 people will be a city dweller.

Also In five years, smarter cities understand in real time how billions of events occur as computers learn to understand what people need, what they like, what they do, how they move from place to place and so on and so forth.

Soon it will be possible for cities and their leaders to understand and digest new information freely provided by citizens, knowing which city resources are needed where and when, so that the city can dynamically optimize around the needs of the citizens.

Mobile devices and social engagement will enable citizens to strike up a relationship with their city leaders. This concept is already in motion, for instance, in Brazil’s case, IBM researchers are working on a crowdsourcing tool that permits users to report accessibility problems, via their mobile phones, to help people with disabilities better navigate challenges in urban streets. While in Uganda, UNICEF is collaborating with IBM on a social engagement tool that lets youth communicate with their government and community leaders on issues touching their lives. These types of tools will become commonplace in helping city leaders identify trending concerns or urgent matters and immediately take action wherever needed.


Jawed Akhtar

A Journalist by interest and a Music Enthusiast by passion. Wedded to Mother Nature, Jawed indulges his aesthetics in travelling and reading books of varied genres. Having covered News stories for top Dailies in his formative years, that is, he is game for tryst with Technology at Techmagnifier.

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