IBM predicting the future

Digitoday reported on IBM revealing five great innovations of the near future. I surfed to IBM's report published in November 25 and read about the innovations "That Will Change Our Lives in the Next Five Years" and change the way we will "work, live and play."

The Fab 5 are:
  1. Solar energy panels (or, film) so thin (and cheap) you can paint or print them almost everywhere.
  2. Everyday gene analysis that will help you (and your doc) tune your habits according to your physiological strengths and weaknesses. All this for less than 200 USD.
  3. Talking to the web and it will talk to you, so you don't have to read/write. IBM says voice recognition tech is getting better and will become hugely popular soon, especially in the developing countries -and perhaps among people too busy to type.
  4. Digital shopping assistant helping you in the fitting room and connecting you to your social network for fashion advice.
  5. A memorizer to record, store and analyze the "details of everyday life". It's a smart gadget with videocam and mic that will "record conversations and activities. The information collected will be automatically stored and analyzed on a personal computer."

Needless to say, solar energy is surely a smart move but as for the gene analysis innovation sparked some discussion at Digitoday as some wondered whether insurance companies and potential employers would start requiring genetic evaluations of their clients/employees. As one commentor said, it brings in mind the movie Gattaca, a dystopian view of the future when citizens are classified according to their genetics. Then again, if it can help people to live a healthier life...

The voice-orientation of IT applications is an interesting path and, from a techno-anthropologist's view, would probably bring about fascinating changes to how people relate to computers.

The digital shopping assistant didn't strike me as a huge innovation although it would be nice to have someone reliable to virtually warn me against the cool Hawaii shirt I'm about to buy. But to include it in top 5 innovation of the future is exaggeration.

A memorizer would come in handy if it was handy. If it was tiny, almost invisible and could really filter out the irrelevant data from the relevant (which I can't do) and presented it to me neatly on my PC, laptop or cell phone, then maybe I would buy one. The hackers would have loads of fun too hooking into people's memorizers.

Read the whole IBM press release here and the Digitoday article here (in Finnish).

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