IBM predicts the future for 2016

January 8th, 2012 | by Aaron Tan

If IBM researchers get their way, remembering passwords will soon be a thing of the past. Big Blue has recently published a video of what it thinks will become reality by 2016, such as mind reading and generating electricity from human activities, among other predictions:

Generate your own electricity
Anything that moves generates kinetic energy, which can be converted to electricity. We can tap this energy from running water, or the rotating wheels of a bicycle to power our homes and offices. IBM scientists in Ireland are already looking at ways to understand and minimise the environmental impact of converting ocean wave energy into electricity.

Your biological make-up could be used more extensively to authenticate access to secured systems and safeguard your identity. According to IBM, biometric data such as retina scans and voice can be combined through software to build your unique DNA-based password. The same biodata could also be used to authenticate ATM transactions, eliminating the use of magnetic strip cards, which are prone to card skimming as we’ve found out this week.

Mind reading
Mind reading has been wishful thinking among science fiction fans for decades. But their wish may soon come true. Within five years, we’ll begin to see the applications of mind reading technology. Doctors could use it to test brain patterns, assist with rehabilitation of patients and understand brain disorders such as autism. IBM researchers are now figuring out ways to link our brains to devices so you can just call someone on a smartphone by thinking about it. In the further future, you could also type on a computer by thinking about the words to say!

No more digital divide
The digital divide will cease to exist in a global society where the wealth of economies is determined by the level of access to information. In five years, the gap between information haves and have-nots will be eliminated, thanks to the adoption of mobile technology. Eighty percent of the global population of seven billion will have a mobile device, IBM predicts. It’ll be cheaper to own a cellphone than open a bank account or buy a laptop. And because of this, rural communities are able to achieve much more than before, such as checking weather reports on their cellphones to determine the best time to fertilise their crops.

Death to junk mail
Too often, we’re flooded with irrelevant information including junk mail. In five years, spam e-mail will become personal notes. Through analytics technology, computers will be able to filter data that’s important and relevant, and bring you information that you would have asked for. Imagine your phone knowing that your favourite band is coming to town and putting tickets on hold for you to purchase.

Do IBM’s predictions sound too far fetched to you? Let us know in the comments.


  1. Michael Tan says:

    The future’s already here, but just not evenly distributed. At least some of the things IBM predicted are available to Android / Google users 🙂

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