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Mr. Spock to the bridge: IBM predicts a bold new world

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Mr. Spock to the bridge: IBM predicts a bold new world

“In five years, everything will learn.”

IBM thinks really big things are coming in the next five years.

In its eighth annual IBM 5 in 5 prognostication, released today, the computing and tech services giant predicted a coming world of truly “thinking” computer systems that seem straight out of Star Trek.

"A new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with humans in a more natural and personalized way."

The “big idea” underlying IBM’s vision is that “everything will learn,” ushering in a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with humans in a more natural and personalized way. Over time, the report asserts, computers will get smarter and more customized through interactions with data, devices and people, helping resolve what may have been seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information available and bringing the right insight or suggestion to the user when it's most needed.

The five innovations cited include:

  • The classroom will learn you
  • Buying local will beat online
  • Doctors will routinely use your DNA to keep you well
  • A digital guardian will protect you online
  • The city will help you live in it

The report notes that these innovations are already beginning to emerge, enabled by cloud computing, “big data” analytics and learning technologies all coming together, with the appropriate privacy and security considerations, for consumers, citizens, students and patients.

"We know more now than any other generation at any time 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," said Dr. Dario Gil, Director, Cognitive Experience Lab, IBM. "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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