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IBM's next 5 in 5
May 19, 2008 5:26 PM   Subscribe

IBM's the next 5 in 5 "forecasts the five innovations that will change the way that we live, work and play in the next five years."

An interesting list that covers a lot of landscape. I for one doubt that my socialized Canadian medicine will pay for a 3-D digital medical record. I would imagine only the rich, professional athletes, and cosmetic surgery aficionados will take part. However, I do agree that my life will increasingly, and depressingly, revolve more around my cellphone.

Also, a link to last year's .
posted by dobie (60 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fascinating-- and I surmise that RFID is going to be a pretty cool thing ( I'll know when my apple was picked, and where...) , even though the Big Brotherish aspects have elicited a shitstorm from some.
posted by Dizzy at 5:31 PM on May 19, 2008


Additional Links:

Video Overview

Personally Manage your Carbon Footprint - [How it Works]
Commuting your Commute - Video- [How it Works]
Avatars
Traceable Food
posted by dobie at 5:33 PM on May 19, 2008


Still no flying cars, I see. *shoves hands in pockets, kicks some dirt*
posted by goatdog at 5:42 PM on May 19, 2008 [3 favorites]



July 22, 1961, Weekend Magazine

" What sort of life will you be living 39 years from now? Scientists have looked into the future and they can tell you.

It looks as if everything will be so easy that people will probably die from sheer boredom.

You will be whisked around in monorail vehicles at 200 miles an hour and you will think nothing of taking a fortnight's holiday in outer space.

It will be the age of press-button transportation. Rocket belts will increase a man's stride to 30 feet, and bus-type helicopters will travel along crowded air skyways. There will be moving plastic-covered pavements, individual hoppicopters, and 200 m.p.h. monorail trains operating in all large cities.

Your house will probably have air walls, and a floating roof, adjustable to the angle of the sun....."
posted by Espoo2 at 5:48 PM on May 19, 2008


Man. Whatever happened to dreaming about new ways of transportation or space travel or robots? Instead we're dreaming cell phones with situational advertising and ways to shop that don't involve social interaction. Whoopty freakin do.
posted by Citizen Premier at 5:56 PM on May 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


Man, I can't wait to have a car that drives itself.
posted by Merwin at 5:56 PM on May 19, 2008


a shopping cart that can alert me to every item in it which contains high fructose corn syrup?

hot damn! now that's progress.
posted by CitizenD at 6:00 PM on May 19, 2008


I wonder what will happen with drunk driving laws and driverless cars? It seems like it would be a fantastic way to prevent drunk driving injury and death, but I bet you anything MADD and other groups would lobby to keep it illegal just for the hell of it.
posted by delmoi at 6:02 PM on May 19, 2008


My life revolves around my computers, but I find that no more depressing that someone from 100 years ago saying their life revolved around their horse or opera glasses or bookshelves. It's my window onto a world I enjoy.
posted by DU at 6:04 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what's worse than biting into an apple and finding an RFID?
Biting into an apple and finding half an RFID.
posted by MtDewd at 6:05 PM on May 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


(A world that does not necessarily involve computers at all, I might add, anymore than I use cellphones to talk to other cellphones.)
posted by DU at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2008


I don't think RFID will be cheap enough to change the world within 5 years. More like the tipping point will be in 5 years, and it will have changed everything in another 5.

This list is also missing the memristor, which is absurd, as it will definitely cause a paradigm shift in electronics very soon. (Here's a random article in case you've been living under a rock.) Cellphones will definitely continue to swallow all other portable electronic devices, but that's not a change so much as more of the same.

Cars that drive themselves are about as stupid as flying cars, if they become viable they will require a ton of regulation/certification legislation and extremely heavy field testing before they are allowed to be commercialized. Imagine the shit that would fly if your car that drove itself crashed itself. Does anyone trust GM enough to buy such a thing?
posted by mek at 6:17 PM on May 19, 2008


Five years is WILDLY optimistic for these predictions.

They will all EVENTUALLY come to pass, though.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:21 PM on May 19, 2008


This list?

It's Basically Marketing.
posted by googly at 6:23 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I for one doubt that my socialized Canadian medicine will pay

Think again - Canada is taking the lead in tele-medicine, remote robotics, etc:

- Robot removes Calgary womans brain tumor

- Dr. Robot

If more hospitals and clinics used electronic systems and health records more effectively the public system would save money and reduce wait times.

(Disclaimer - my wife was involved with a project to introduce an EMR for orthopedics across southern alberta - it reduced wait times dramatically, even though it was horrific from a software design perspective... sigh...)
posted by jkaczor at 6:27 PM on May 19, 2008


Holy crap jkaczor.
posted by dobie at 6:29 PM on May 19, 2008


6. Cannabalism. Although many believed that we had put this "arcane" practice behind us, the rising cost of crop production and loss of biodivesity have put cannabalism back in fashion. At once a solution to aging western populations, lower food production, and declining culinary innovation, cannabalism is set to change the way we think about each other. Bon appetit!
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:39 PM on May 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


ugh, *biodiversity. you guys won't take me seriously now. sigh.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 6:40 PM on May 19, 2008


I also pine for the days of being excited about the future. This list is depressing.
posted by Dr. Twist at 6:43 PM on May 19, 2008


1) Not in five years
2) No again
3) No
4) Partially
5) Almost definitely more services around cell phones, but because it's a captive market in the US everyone will be charging $5 a month for every possible kind of service, so adoption may be low.

So maybe a 25% hit rate with this, which probably puts them ahead of Gartner et al, and the technopundits.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:48 PM on May 19, 2008


Dillonlikescookies, what are you a church of euthanasia member?
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:50 PM on May 19, 2008


Mek, I think the list is more along the lines of 5 predictions in 5 years that IBM consulting can help businesses achieve.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:53 PM on May 19, 2008


I like how their version of a green house is one that monitors every freaking lifeform inside it and spams my cellphone. That's got to be easier to achieve than, say, good insulation and efficient appliances.
posted by uosuaq at 7:00 PM on May 19, 2008


nah, more like zero-population growth. Try this.

anyway i find it hard to take the lists seriously because when I think about the next five years, I think..

1) Peak oil
2) Economic downturn, increased crime rates
3) Increasing Natural disasters and climate refugees
4) Global food shortages
4) Increasing global conflict and political isolationism
5) ?!?
6) Profit!

Maybe I'm pessimistic but I think we should worry about more immediate problems before we get all FLYING CARS! about the future.
posted by Dillonlikescookies at 7:01 PM on May 19, 2008


Weird that they left robot sex off the list.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:02 PM on May 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Consumers just need to tap on a Smart Poster with their phone to receive information, access services and conduct transactions like buying movie tickets.

Five years from now: What's a "movie ticket?"
posted by Faze at 7:11 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


In the next five years, you might get this call on your mobile: "It's your air conditioner calling, you left me on and nobody's home. I'm wasting energy. Would you like to turn me off?"

Groundbreaking! Remote monitoting & control of household appliances via cellphones & the web! Why hasn't this incredible innovation made every single future-of-technology list for the past 15 years?

And what will they think of next? A fridge that notices when you're low on milk, and automagically places an order with your local grocer for more?

The sky's the limit! Oh, brave new world!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:30 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


That list was actually really depressing. I'm not excited about any of that stuff.

I wish somebody would tell me we'll have a high speed rail system in the U.S. in 5 years, then I'd have something to look forward to.
posted by Jess the Mess at 7:48 PM on May 19, 2008


Maybe I'm pessimistic but I think we should worry about more immediate problems before we get all FLYING CARS! about the future.

Well, they're not mutually exclusive. There's a lot of us humans. I think we can work on solving more than one problem (or even five) at once.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:50 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Please--the full quote:
O brave, new, world! That hath such gadgets in it!
posted by hexatron at 7:51 PM on May 19, 2008


1 in 10, from IBM Research...Racetrack memory stores far more data in less space at faster speeds than current storage technologies, consumes less power, generates less heat, is practically indestructible, lays waste to Moore's Law, and according to IBM "potentially unleash[es] applications that nobody has even imagined yet."

In layman's terms, imagine your iPod being able to contain your own personal Netflix and run for weeks on a single charge. Because it has no moving parts, and would be able to handle infinite rewrites without damage -- unlike Flash or spinning disks -- the device itself could last for decades (or at least until you wear the thumbwheel out...)

For you physics nerds, here's a Stuart Parkin presentation on spintronics (PDF link), and here are links to the abstracts of publications in Science which you can read if you're a subscriber.

Granted, it's not as exciting as flying cars, but even the cynics around here will have to concede that will be pretty damn cool.
posted by edverb at 7:52 PM on May 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Now, see, that's what the future's supposed to look like! It's not as exciting as flying cars, but it sure is purty.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:02 PM on May 19, 2008


a shopping cart that can alert me to every item in it which contains high fructose corn syrup

The bummer being that no alternative products will be available.
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 8:13 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


You know what's worse than biting into an apple and finding an RFID?

Being raped to death by Reavers.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:16 PM on May 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


Wow, you guys will never be happy. We have airplanes, internets, cell phones, cancer treatments, nuclear powered submarines, solar powered cars, video game consoles, bullet proof vests, night vision goggles, THE HUBBLE TELESCOPE!... I feel like George Jetsons grandfather. Who knew the future would also bring people dissatisfied with the amazing technologies at their feet, its nothing short of strange.
posted by pwally at 8:40 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I want a skateboard that will do ollie kickflips by itself.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 8:42 PM on May 19, 2008


pwally - I was thinking that exact same thing as I drove my nuclear powered sub to work this morning. How I ever got by without it is beyond me.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:02 PM on May 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


How did you, a pithy commoner, afford a nuclear submarine?
posted by pwally at 9:15 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Shit I used pithy thinking it meant something bad. Just know, Ubu, I meant petty. Also, I am joking. And you might not have a submarine but I bet you've flown and own a cell phone.
posted by pwally at 9:24 PM on May 19, 2008


Yes - I use my cellphone to guide my remote-control seaplane to land next to my sub, so I can embark on the second leg of my journey to work.

For all their convenience, nuclear subs can be a bit of a pain in the arse unless you have a nice wide canal passing right by your office.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:30 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thats why my nuclear sub is my office.
posted by pwally at 9:42 PM on May 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


It will be the age of press-button transportation. Rocket belts will increase a man's stride to 30 feet, and bus-type helicopters will travel along crowded air skyways.

Maybe the future is here after all; we just havn't noticed because we were too busy playing Wii.
-30 Foot Stides
-Sky Taxi
posted by humanfont at 9:42 PM on May 19, 2008


This list doesn't take into account the large social factors that are involved in adoption of innovation.

For example, we have most of the technology to track and label foods now, but large food producers have weakened organic labeling standards, irradiation labeling, and genetically modified food.

New technologies won't benefit us unless we stop the unbalanced influence these corporations have on our government. Time to overthrow the multinationals, I suggest we start with IBM.
posted by formless at 9:55 PM on May 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


BrotherCaine: you broke my brain with that link. And probably got me another FBI watch list. Thanks.
posted by agentofselection at 10:12 PM on May 19, 2008


a shopping cart that can alert me to every item in it which contains high fructose corn syrup?

It has to use the default Microsoft / AOL "someone is chatting with you" alert sound, though. "UH OH!" I can totally see this in my mind... a grocery store filled with shopping carts all blurting that damned UH OH! UH OH! over and over again...
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:40 PM on May 19, 2008


Tomatoes and apples with web sites have been in stores for sometime.
posted by Cranberry at 11:57 PM on May 19, 2008


1. Will revolutionize pornography.

2. I'll being able to choose from five entirely different squash, all hailing from a laboratory somewhere in Transylvania.

3. No matter what kind of footprint managing is made available, the U.S. will continue to be peopled by ecological sasquatches.

4. The first time a death happens in an auto-drive car accident, regardless of whether the computer is at fault, public skittishness multiplied by cable news fearmongering will doom the technology for decades.

5. As cell phones become even more essential to ordinary life, cell phone companies will, somehow, become more evil, not less. Eventually an event horizon of evil will be passed, unleashing the dark hordes upon the earth. They will expend lots of minutes will be expended calling that lab in Transylvania, and cell phone profits will soar ever higher.
posted by JHarris at 2:11 AM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


(Dammit, the proofreading lobe of my brain must be asleep.)
posted by JHarris at 2:12 AM on May 20, 2008


1. As long as doctors work as salespeople for the pharmacutical companies their judgements are worthless irrespective of how high-definition their computer models are.
2. What formless said regarding standards erosion
3. Why is the house of the future using air-conditioning? Surely they will be able to design a house that regulates its temperature without the need for refrigeration.
4. Public transport. It is here already. This nonesense about cars piloting themselves has been bandied about since forever. There are no realistic benefits that public transport doesn't already offer.
5. Phones with internet access! Really? Now you are blowing my mind.
posted by asok at 3:26 AM on May 20, 2008


5) : counterexample - see a new outfit on someone, go to said someone, ask what brand it is, go to store and try it out.

My bet is this would take far less time than messing with a mobile device. In my experience, past a certain point when phones were the right size and their displays the right legibility it's been going seriously downhill. Now tasks I don't really need them to do take much longer to execute.
posted by Laotic at 4:26 AM on May 20, 2008


4. Public transport. It is here already. This nonesense about cars piloting themselves has been bandied about since forever. There are no realistic benefits that public transport doesn't already offer.

Custom routing at a time of my choosing with a guaranteed seat. Also immediate route change acceptance; depending on last minute forgetting of wallet, decision to stop for a snack. Finally car seat pre-loading. Public transit sucks.
posted by humanfont at 5:40 AM on May 20, 2008


It's Basically Marketing.

Pepsi Big Blue
posted by DU at 5:42 AM on May 20, 2008


Early memristor.
Early racetrack memory.
posted by MtDewd at 6:02 AM on May 20, 2008


I hate to piss on the self-driving car thing, but from the inside I can tell you that the car manufacturers already know exactly how many of what models they will be producing in five years time. A new technology of that scale has a lead time of at least 20 years, probably more.

Also, motorised transport that gets you where you have to go without you having to drive? That's a bus, isn't it? Or a cab.
posted by The Ultimate Olympian at 6:18 AM on May 20, 2008


Imagine watching what you want, when you want...

Imagine paying a toll... without ever slowing down...

Imagine sending a fax... from the beach...

YOU WILL

And the company that will bring it to you?

AT&T IBM.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:28 AM on May 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


From the cell phones part of the main link:

If your friends can't make a shopping trip, you can bring them along, not just by texting each other, but by connecting them into the experience.

I don't know what I find most depressing about this concept; That my friends would have nothing better to do than virtually connect to my phone to go shopping, or that I would be so desperate for company that I would think this was a worthwhile use of their time.

The only change which I would really like to see introduced to my phone was the ability to sync up with a store that I'm in and act as a guide.

>>Find paper towels, light-bulbs, dog food

>>Aisle 15, Aisle 7 [right hand side], Aisle 19 and 20


That is a technology I could really find useful.
posted by quin at 8:23 AM on May 20, 2008


I can't wait to have a car that drives itself.

I'm holding out for a car that chats on the phone for me while I drive.
posted by Smart Dalek at 9:44 AM on May 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


3-D representation of the human body: Sounds sexy but absolutely useless. This makes as much sense as those startups who think that replacing a text-based search engine with a 3-D browser spinning cube of search listings would be an improvement. Last I checked the problem with the healthcare system wasn't that doctors couldn't visualize ailments in 3-D.
posted by junesix at 5:40 PM on May 20, 2008


humanfront-

Custom routing at a time of my choosing with a guaranteed seat.

When is this going to happen? The cost of employing a driver is going to be less than the cost of a self driving car for the foreseeable, if *not driving there yourself* is the thrill you seek.

Also immediate route change acceptance;

You can do that on a good public transport system by changing buses/trains/etc.

depending on last minute forgetting of wallet, decision to stop for a snack.

You can also do this on public transport.

Finally car seat pre-loading.

?

Public transit sucks.


This is something it is easy to improve. Developing self-driving cars is something that is very difficult to do and has no advantages for the majority of poeple, even if it comes to fruition. I can understand the attraction of the idea on some levels, however the benefits are far outweighed by the negatives IMHO.

Maybe it would be simpler to build or adapt communities so that they do not require car use, as well as improving public transport. Maybe there will be a cultural change resulting from the increased cost of hydrocarbon powered vehicular transport that results in there being less desire or need to travel long distances by car regularly.
posted by asok at 2:01 AM on May 21, 2008


Self driving cars are more about limiting congestion and traffic jams than anything else. The theory being that your car whizzes along at 60 MPH with a mere 6 inch cushion between it and other cars, thereby doubling the freeway capacity, and using inter-car communication to alleviate the start/stop traffic jam problem. There'll be a 72 car pileup now and then, but less cell phone / drunk driving accidents will alleviate that.

So goes the theory anyway.
posted by BrotherCaine at 5:41 AM on May 21, 2008


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