Which Smart Technologies Will Change the World According to IBM?
At the Think-2018 conference, IBM predicted which technologies would appear in the next five years and how the blockchain, quantum computers, and microscopes will change our lives. On the first day of the Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, the research division of the American giant IBM Research, according to the annual tradition, announced the forecast of the technologies that will radically change the world in the next five years. Three thousand scientists participated in the compilation of these predictions, but some predictions look unrealistic.
There is no such a person who wouldn’t like to know what scientists will invent next. No doubt that most students are dreaming about the creation of a pen which would automatically correct mistakes or a robot able to do college assignments instead of them. However, students have no reasons to complain as a custom paper writing service online can also be considered a great innovation as previous generations couldn’t dream about entrusting professionals to complete their papers.
Forecasts of the IBM Research
IBM Research has been publishing a lot of forecasts for several years in a row. In 2011, the company stated that inequality in the world of digital technologies would disappear, passwords would not be needed, and spam would take personal preference into consideration, which would be the most useful mail. Today, these predictions seem overly optimistic. We use fingerprints to confirm payments to Apple Pay but still need dozens of passwords for different services.
Targeting of user preferences has really become more sophisticated but spam as a problem has remained. That’s why many people treat the predictions made this year with a share of skepticism, implicated in a healthy restrained optimism. These technologies can really change something, but not everything and not so quickly.
According to the company’s expectations, by 2025 more than half the world’s population will live in areas with the limited access to clean water. Therefore, it is critically important at first to understand at least what is happening with the Earth’s water resources. Scientists use sensors that react to the presence of certain chemicals and changes in water indicators but such devices are not able to detect unpredictable situations – a typical pollution or the appearance of new inhabitants in the pond.
This issue will be potentially solved with the help of miniature 3D-microscopes. A lot of such devices, united by a wireless network and each one equipped with a LED bulb and an AI chip, will observe the movements of the smallest inhabitants of the oceans, rivers, and lakes that stand at the lowest level of the food chain – plankton. Analysis of the shadow of the creatures, will determine the location of the microorganism in three dimensions, track the movement, recognize its variety and retain the “digital imprint”.
Although plankton is not visible to the human eye, these creatures react instantly to any changes in the habitat. If scientists understand their behavior and reactions, they will be able to understand what happens to the water spaces. Now samples are brought to a laboratory after adding preservatives to them. In fact, scientists are studying the corpses of these microorganisms.
Blockchain against Counterfeit
When you rent a car for repair, there is no guarantee that you will have the original spare parts installed. According to Andreas Kind, the head of the Industry Platform and Blockchain section of the IBM Research group in Zurich, 40% of all automotive components on the market are fake. In healthcare, this problem is no less acute: in some countries, 70% of drugs at best will not help you, at worst can lead to death. Every year the turnover of counterfeit goods causes damage to the global economy of $600 billion.
To help the world cope with this problem, the company has developed a new technology for cryptographic marking of any objects with the help of a few drops of multicolored ink or small cryptographic plates at the size of a salt granule. Combined with the blockchain, this technology will help to track the movement of any goods, and at any stage of transportation determine whether a particular object was actually issued by a trusted producer.
The method works the same way as, for example, a hologram on a box, which is difficult and expensive to print or as a license code for a software product, generated by the manufacturer according to a certain mathematical principle.
Let’s say that attackers will be able to crack the cipher and create a crypto code generator, print a crypto-tag and install it on the product but if they want to present a certain good as the original one, they would have to hack 50% + 1 computer, participating in the blockchain. This will take time and a huge amount of resources, including financial resources. In general, not a lot of goods justify such efforts. Although, perhaps, quantum computers will make this task less complicated.
Just over a year ago, IBM presented such computer for public use and now it claims that such machines will soon be available to university students and even schoolchildren. They will help:
- find solutions to the most complex scientific problems
- create the most advanced neural networks from existing ones
- will be very useful in all areas where serious computing resources are required
Talia Gershon, the director of AI Challenges and Quantum Experiences at IBM, says that conventional linear logic is not suitable for developing programs for quantum computers. Therefore, the company has developed a vigorous activity to train future specialists to work with such machines. In the educational initiative of the IBM Q experience, 1500 universities have already registered. This is a site that provides cloud access to the prototype of a quantum computer to anyone for free.