IBM predicts the future - there may be five trends: one for each major city?

Opinion

IBM predicts the future - there may be five trends: one for each major city?

Keen historians will remember the story of the IBM executive who looked into the future and predicted that, one day, there would be as many as five mainframes in the world. One for each major city.

So it was with great excitement that we noticed a new set of predictions from the companies latest generation of visionaries. We were not disappointed.

Here's IBM's fifth annual "Next Five in Five," its view on five innovations that will change how people work, live and play over the next five years.

1. You'll Beam up your Friends in 3-D

With the rapid advancement in 3-D technology you'll soon be able to interact with your friends through 3-D holograms - in real time - from your phone. If the scriptwriters have not given you a name, be very careful. Nameless people always get killed on Star Trek, and I think this is where IBM got this prediction idea. 

2. Batteries will Breathe Air to Power our Devices

Batteries in electronic devices be smaller, lighter and last 10 times longer than they do today, says IBM. What about the air breathing bit? They don't say. 

3. Computers will help energise your city

Energy will be harnessed from computer heat then used to heat and cool buildings, says IBM's soothsayer division. This would be the same energy we pump into the data centre in the first place, to power the wretched thing.

4. You won't need to be a Scientist to Save the Planet

While you may not be a physicist, you are a walking sensor, and in five years, sensors in your phone, car, wallet and even your Tweets will collect data that give scientists a real-time picture of your environment. A whole class of "citizen scientists" will emerge, using simple sensors that already exist to create massive data sets for research, says IBM.

A more likely outcome is that the technology will be used to bombard you with marketing messages,wherever you are. Even more personalised customer stalking. Great.  

5. Your commute will be personalised

Technology will take the guessing out of your travel plans, using predictive analytics with real-time travel route information to recommend better ways to get to your destination.
They've obviously never travelled on London Underground or South West Trains.

Well, good luck with that, IBM. Remember though. Technology has three phases of adoption. First it's used for porn. Then for oppressive marketing. Then it has a brief period of being a commodity, before they junk it and start a new cycle.  

This was first published in December 2010

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