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The Future Is Now: 5 Tech Trends To Watch Out For

IBM released the big five today as in the eighth annual “IBM 5 in 5″– a list of innovations that have the potential to change the way people work, live and interact in the next five years. Some of these things sound like they are out of a futuristic sci-fi film, but this stuff is really happening. Dr. Dario Gil, Director, Cognitive Experience Lab, IBM, said:

“We know more now than any other generation at any time has known. And yet, we struggle to keep up with this flood of increasingly complex information, let alone make sense of the meaning that is inherent in the massive amounts of data we are acquiring at ever faster rates. By creating technology that is explicitly designed to learn and enhance our cognition we will usher in a new era of progress for both individuals and for society at large.”

The big changers:

1. Buying local will beat online

Right now it seems like online shopping rules the roost but that isn’t going to be the case for long, says IBM. They believe that in just a few years it will be much cooler to say you bought your clothes at the store down the street than online at ASOS. Online has had an advantage over local retailers because web shops can learn what you like to shop for and send you a personalized list of recommend products. But because of new Watson technology, brick and mortar retailers will also be able to equip their sales associates with advanced knowledge of your wants and needs.

A little big brother, yeah, but hey! The sales clerk at the bookstore was right, you did really want to read the new Divergent book.

2. Smarter Cities

With 70% of the population predicted to live in cities by 2050, it’s going to get a little intense in terms of traffic, crime and crowd control. But IBM’s Smarter Cities Program will help identify and predict problems (like that nasty traffic jam) before it even happens. The power of prediction is everything. IBM also imagines these future cities will have more crowdsourcing, analytics, and physical sensors working together.  This new system will also give city leaders a way to interact with their citizens on a whole new level.

Think of all the annoying arguments you could avoid in the car if you knew about the traffic jam before it even occurred and took an alternative route. Of course, then you won’t be able to play the blame game anymore.

3. Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well

Through an awesome combination of emerging cloud-based cognitive systems and advances in genome research and data analytics, doctors will be able to accurately diagnose cancer and create personalized cancer treatment plans for millions.

Can you imagine a cancer treatment based specifically on the DNA of your body? This has been a dream for people for so long and now it is becoming a reality.

4. The classroom of the future will study you

Adult Americans ranked last in a new international survey graphing basic numeracy skills across the world’s 23  leading labor countries. The U.S. also came in far below the international average for literacy. There is an education problem in this country. But what if a student could go through all their education and master the skills they would need for their particular life path? Well, IBM believes that the classroom of the future will give educators the tools to learn about every student, providing them with a tailored curriculum from kindergarten to high school and on to employment. Super complex analytics will help give teachers the tool they needs to identify different kinds of students and their needs to help them have the best possible education.

How cool would it have been if you had forgone Shakespeare and instead just practiced writing 140 character poems?

5. A digital body guard will protect you

Online security is still a major problem today, but not for long. In five years there will be a digital guardian designed to protect people and their assets. The guardian will get to know the person via data and behavioral patterns so when an irregular event occurs they will know there is an issue and act accordingly!

Kind of like when you are on a trip to Spain and your bank shuts down your credit card, but you know, not totally lame.