IBM predicts 5 innovations that will change the way we live
Energy saving solar technology will be built into asphalt, paint and windows
Ever wonder how much energy could be created by having solar technology embedded in sidewalks, driveways, siding, paint, rooftops, and windows? In the next five years, solar energy will be an affordable option. Until now, the materials and the process of producing solar cells to convert into solar energy have been too costly for widespread adoption. But now this is changing with the creation of “thin-film” solar cells, a new type of cost-efficient solar cell that can be 100 times thinner than silicon-wafer cells and produced at a lower cost. These new thin-film solar cells can be “printed” and arranged on a flexible backing, suitable for not only the tops, but also the sides of buildings, tinted windows, cell phones, notebook computers, cars and even clothing.
You will have a crystal ball for your health
What if you could foresee your health destiny and use that knowledge to modify your lifestyle? Even though we are told that things like chips, crisps, cheese and wine aren’t good for us, what if you could find out that you are someone who could consume more sinful foods without having negative impact on your health? In the next five years, your doctor will be able to provide you with a genetic map that tells you what health risks you are likely to face in your lifetime and the specific things you can do to prevent them, based on your specific DNA – all for less than $200. Pharmaceutical companies will also be able to engineer new, more effective medications that are targeted for each of us as individual patients.
You will talk to the web . . . and the web will talk back
The web will change dramatically in the next five years. In the future, you will be able to surf the internet by using your voice, eliminating the need for visuals or keypads. New technology will change how people create, build and interact with information and e-commerce websites – using speech instead of text. The technology is available, but we also know it can happen because it must. In places like India, where the spoken word is more prominent than the written word in education, government and culture, “talking” to the Web is leapfrogging all other interfaces, and the mobile phone is outpacing the PC. In the future, through the use of “VoiceSites,” people without access to a personal computer and Internet, or who are unable to read or write, will be able to take advantage of all the benefits and conveniences the online world has to offer. You will be able to sort through the web verbally to find what you are looking for and have the information read back to you – as if you are having a conversation with the internet.
You will have your own digital shopping assistants
In the next five years, shoppers will increasingly rely on themselves – and the opinions of each other – to make purchasing decisions rather than wait for help from in-store sales associates. A combination of new technology and the next wave of mobile devices will give the in-store shopping experience a significant boost. Fitting rooms soon will be outfitted with digital shopping assistants – touch screen and voice activated kiosks that will allow you to choose clothing items and accessories to complement, or replace, what you already selected. Once you make your selections, a sales associate will gather the items and bring them directly to you. You’ll also be able to snap photos of yourself in different combinations and email or SMS them to your friends and family. Shoppers can access product ratings and reviews from fellow consumers and will even be able to download money-saving coupons and instantly apply them to their purchases.
Forgetting will become a distant memory
Information overload keeping you up at night? Forget about it. In the next five years, it will become much easier to remember. That’s because such details of everyday life will be recorded, stored, analysed, and provided at the appropriate time and place by both portable and stationary smart appliances. To help make this possible, microphones and video cameras will record conversations and activities. The information collected will be automatically stored and analysed on a personal computer. People can then be prompted to “remember” what discussions they had, for example, with their daughter or doctor by telephone. Based on such conversations, smart phones equipped with global-positioning technology might also remind them to pick up groceries or prescriptions if they pass a particular store at a particular time. It’s not hard to imagine that TVs, remote controls, or even coffee table tops, can one day be the familiar mediums through which we tap into our digitally-stored information.
Want to know more? You can watch a video from IBM about these trends below: