Tech blog

Shape of the future

You see a square on your computer screen; can you move it around by just thinking about it?  The technology is available and costs $ 299 (Rs 15,800).  Emotiv LifeSciences, a bioinformatics company, makes a headset, which looks like an octopus with tiny tentacles. It can read your brain's electric impulses and trigger an appropriate action. Mind reading, so far in the realm of science fiction, will find applications in industries as diverse as entertainment and healthcare.

This is one of the 5 technologies, which will fructify over the next five years and change the way we live, says IBM. The other four in the list are less exciting but as seminal.

World over there is clamour for giving power to the people. Very soon, the converse of it, power from the people, will come true. Power will be generated from anything that moves or produces heat. As you walk, a small device inserted into the sole of your shoe, would generate enough power to charge a cell phone.  Renewable energy would become more real; power from ocean waves would be as feasible as wind energy.

Biometrics, which has been in the making for decades, will finally see mass adoption and start making passwords redundant. Walk into an ATM, stare at the camera or speak up to draw cash.  As devices you carry in your pocket proliferate, the risk of losing them also increases. If that happens, biometrics will prevent their misuse.

In the next five years, mobiles will bridge digital divide. Their ubiquitous spread and growing functionality would place unprecedented computing power and applications in the hands millions of unlettered people in the poor countries. India is going to lead the way here.

Lastly and interestingly, spam will come to a halt. Spam filters will get smart enough to block all unwanted messages. Spam will also get so personalised, it will not look like spam anymore.

You will find it so exciting, you will open a spammed message without a murmur. Now, how credible is this list. IBM scientists are at the cutting-edge of tech frontier; many of these predictions reflect the actual work they are doing. For example, IBM is working with Emotiv LifeSciences to link their headsets to devices.

Would IBM profit in anyway, if these projections come true. ‘The New York Times’ says IBM makes the software for networks, which will run these devices. So, there is an increased cash flow for Big Blue, if you start chatting up ATM machines.

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