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IBM's Five Predictions For the Next Five Years

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the ok-but-let's-revisit-in-5-years dept.

IBM 219

PolygamousRanchKid writes "In each of the past five years, IBM has come up with a list of five innovations it believes will become popular within five years. In this, the sixth year, IBM has come up with the following technologies it thinks will gain traction: (1) People power will come to life. Advances in technology will allow us to trap the kinetic energy generated (and wasted) from walking, jogging, bicycling, and even from water flowing through pipes. (2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will finally replace the password and thus redefine the word 'hack.' (3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction. Scientists are working on headsets with sensors that can read brain activity and recognize facial expressions, excitement, and more without needing any physical inputs from the wearer. (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected. (5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

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And none will ever need (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38434816)

whatever the amount of ram was stated.

Or there is only a need for 5 or 6 computers on the whole planet. Somebody has posted before me with a better recollection of the meme

Re:And none will ever need (-1, Offtopic)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435616)

Bloody Hell! I got a first post and I wasn't logged in. No one will ever believe me. It was me I tell you! Me!

Re:And none will ever need (4, Funny)

sadness203 (1539377) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435700)

That's ok. Nobody would've cared anyway.

Re:And none will ever need (1)

Dupple (1016592) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435752)

True enough, but after about 7 or 8 years hanging around here mostly lurking, it would have been nice

Re:And none will ever need (2)

Noughmad (1044096) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435868)

Or there is only a need for 5 or 6 computers on the whole planet.

Let's see: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple. The sixth could be IBM, if they believed that prediction. Everyone else needs only thin clients such as phones, tablets or netbooks.

Anyone who thinks they can predict the future... (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434838)

...has no vision

Here are their predictions from five years ago (all the wonderful things we are supposed to have today):

We will be able to access health care remotely, from just about anywhere in the world.

Not even close

Real-time speech translation—once a vision only in science fiction—will become the norm.

Some advances have been made, but nope

There will be a 3D Internet.

Nope

Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance.

Wow, not even sure what the fuck that was SUPPOSED to be about. Nanotech maybe??

Our mobile phones will start to read our minds.

God help us.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38434898)

Our mobile phones will start to read our minds.

God help us.

Yes. Read my mind. [tumblr.com]

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (5, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434924)

Thank you. I opened up the comments to ask how their predictions for the last 5 years went. Something I always look for in an article about someone's predictions for the future is how did they do in the past at predicting the future. Unfortunately, most such articles never bother to tell you that the "prophet" they are quoting is not better than random at predictiing the future. If the source they are got one big thing right, they will tout that, but never mention that that one thing was one out of 100 and the other 99 weren't even close.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435178)

Actually, I do have a prediction about the future:

Five years from now, somewhere in America, a teenage girl will argue fiercely with her mother over her new boyfriend. Her mother will warn the girl that he is no good. The girl will contend that the mother doesn't appreciate how great he is or how real their love is. Later the girl will complain to both her best friend and the boyfriend in question about how her mother is a bitch who doesn't understand that she and her boyfriend they are meant to be together forever.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (4, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435602)

"Forever" meaning until the boyfriend hears those two magic words, I'm pregnant.

My prediction is somewhere shortly after five years from now, somewhere in America, a teenage girl will be hearing the phrase "I told you so" from her mother.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (4, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435694)

A fellow psychic. All these years I thought I was alone.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435260)

Past performance is not an indication of future results, is it? Granted that past results will give you the forum to make predictions in the future. In this case, it's IBM. Having been a leader--or at least major player--in technology for the last 100 years, they do and will continue to have a basis for making this predictions.

Maybe NONE of the predictions will come to fruition within 5 years. But at the same time they'll have people talking about them and who knows what will eventually come from them?

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (3, Informative)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435332)

Thank you. I opened up the comments to ask how their predictions for the last 5 years went. Something I always look for in an article about someone's predictions for the future is how did they do in the past at predicting the future. Unfortunately, most such articles never bother to tell you that the "prophet" they are quoting is not better than random at predictiing the future. If the source they are got one big thing right, they will tout that, but never mention that that one thing was one out of 100 and the other 99 weren't even close.

Maybe opening up the article would have served you better than opening up the comments. From the article...

New predictions aside, IBM’s track record of predictions over the past five years has been somewhat mixed. Let’s take a step back to 2006 and look at its predictions:...

They then go on to assess the prediction that the commenter made above but with a more generous tone than that being applied above. In general they treat them as though they were general business predictions (e.g. smartphones get smart...not that they literally read our thoughts) rather than acting like IBM is claiming to be a group of religious prophets.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435664)

IBM’s track record of predictions over the past five years has been somewhat mixed

No it hasn't. It's been shit. These predictions are just self-serving wishful thinking on IBM's part. You can summarize them as follows "We think/hope/pray these things will happen because this is what we're currently focusing on as a company."

treat them as though they were general business predictions (e.g. smartphones get smart...not that they literally read our thoughts)

Making a prediction like "smartphones will get smarter" is absolutely worthless. It's like me saying "computers will get faster" or "game consoles will get more powerful." It's a no-shit-Sherlock "prediction" that doesn't help anyone.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (2)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435848)

No it hasn't. It's been shit. These predictions are just self-serving wishful thinking on IBM's part. You can summarize them as follows "We think/hope/pray these things will happen because this is what we're currently focusing on as a company."

Um ok..you're allowed to agree with the article but your level of vitriol is a bit silly. It's a puff piece and I would argue that for rolled up high level media predictions that is a mixed bag not "complete shit" which is also what the article claims. They've been partially correct on about half of the ones that have now expired (i.e. the 2006 ones). Given the high level nature of them that would be a mixed bag in my opinion given that they are predictions and not prophecy.

Also what predictions actually help people? What were you expecting the predictions to do? End hunger, fix injustice, provide world peace? Predictions by themselves (especially at this high of a level) are by definition pretty worthless. Why be such a jerk about it? It's a game. Chill out.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435864)

Yeah... you're pretty much an idiot.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (3, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434936)

There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail. Spam that is that personalized is going to be perceived as CREEPY. Of course, IBM would like that, because IBM will make $$$ selling services to make spam creepy^Wpersonalized.

No passwords in 5 years? Maybe in 15 - 20, but it's not like all the computers that use passwords are suddenly going to disappear in 5 years. Besides, one of the advantages of a password is you can give it to someone else. What good are biometrics if you're sitting in the hospital after losing a hand? Or retinal scans after you've had laser retinal photocoagulation to remove the "distinctive pattern of veins" on your retina? Or if you're going to be away on vacation for a week, and you want someone else to log in for you?

In other words, passwords will always be around. But IBM would like that, because IBM will make $$$ selling services to make it more inconvenient for you to get things done^W^W^W^W^W^W^Wmore convenient most of the time, and then pay big $$$$ for the edge cases.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (5, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435154)

I was thinking the advantage of passwords or physical tokens is that they aren't tied to your body too, but for a different reason. Not so that you share them with friends, but so that nobody chops off your body parts just to access your stuff. People have had their finger chopped off [newscientist.com] just so that someone can steal their fingerprint-scanning car.

What's more important to you, your finger or your car? Considering replacing the car just requires an insurance claim..

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435558)

I was thinking the advantage of passwords or physical tokens is that they aren't tied to your body too, but for a different reason. Not so that you share them with friends, but so that nobody chops off your body parts just to access your stuff. People have had their finger chopped off just so that someone can steal their fingerprint-scanning car.

What's more important to you, your finger or your car? Considering replacing the car just requires an insurance claim..

In the future, replacing your car will only require chopping off someone else's finger!

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435360)

> Maybe in 15 - 20

Technology that is 20 years away will be 20 years away indefinitely.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435374)

I was surprised that this crap talk about biometrics comes from IBM.
I mean, it's long known that biometrics-only security is a bad choice for single-factor security.
How do you revoke someone's biometrics login if it's stolen?
Besides, considering the cost, and that people have different levels of trust on different locations/websites, the "what you know" factor is actually the most reasonable approach for simple/general security.

The real reason for the emphasis on biometrics ... (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435614)

IBM wants to use biometrics because then it's easier to profile and track someone w/o it being obvious. You're collecting their face, their fingerprints, their voice, so now you can sell that info to the people who will bay the biggest $$$ - the government. We're looking at "yes, we can track every phone call of every person of arab descent in real time" $$$.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (2)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435438)

There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail

I think it could be. The baselines for creepiness in our interactions with machines is something that continually moves. I know a few older folks who find it creepy that their mobile phone knows when they've arrived at a certain location and can alert them to some reminder. Speaking to an 'assistant' program running on a phone is currently creepy (or just odd) to many people, but I bet in 5 years it will be absolutely normal behavior for 30 year olds.

The more comprehensive personal data collection becomes the better targeted spam will be, it is just a matter of applying some good predictive algorithms.

A friend texted me a bit ago about wanting to go to a certain taco shop for lunch. It may seem random, but I bet if looked hard enough at enough data his cravings for that taco shop are not random and could be modeled. So if he is sitting around one day around 10AM, which is when he normally thinks about where to go for lunch, and his phone showed him an ad for a different taco shop, that would be a nearly perfect time for that shop to advertise to him and he might actually appreciate the suggestion. That might seem creepy right now, maybe even in the next 5, but it isn't all that bug a step from saying "I want a taco" to your phone and getting the same recommendation.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435718)

That sort of behaviour would just p*ss me off. My phone is for *my* convenience - not some spammer. But just in case, I'm going to write (not email - snail mail still gets more respect) my representatives to demand that spam sms messages be specifically prohibited to numbers on the do not call list (they already are by my carriers' ToS for accessing their network, but might as well get those $15,000 fines going :-)

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

leonardluen (211265) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435638)

Besides, one of the advantages of a password is you can give it to someone else.

there are just so many things wrong with that statement...

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435794)


So, when someone is fired, how do you access their systems if it's biometric-only?
So, when you bring in a machine to get repaired, how do they test it if it's biometric-only?
So, when you're going to be away for a week and you want someone you trust to check your email, how are they going to if it's biometric-only?

There was nothing wrong with my statement. There's something seriously wrong with you thinking that there are *no* reasons for using a shared password.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

SigmundFloyd (994648) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435742)

There is NO WAY that spam will ever be personalized enough to make it become priority mail.

If it can be done, it will be done.

Considering how much information people are willing to give about themselves, that outcome is more than realistic.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435846)

This is just nuts. You could just use any random "password" given to you by the government. This would be fine. But taking some biometrics of you without really comparing that this given biometrics matches YOU is the scary part. Lose the password and you will lose yourself.

The stronger "authentication tool" you use, the stronger physical verification you need.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (2)

omega8932 (1224904) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434982)

Here's the thing. Just because they're not accurate, doesn't mean there is no benefit to it. It's good to look to the future and it's good to dream. A lack of wonder and creativity leads to stagnation. I don't understand saying that people that try to predict the future have no vision. The whole point of this list is more about getting people to think about the future. To get them to imagine. This is not a bad thing. Yeah, you can probably make safe predictions about the future, but that doesn't get people striving to do something. Getting people thinking is not a bad thing.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435162)

The problem is their goal is ridiculous, complicated, stock price increasing, security theater, consumerism oriented junk.

Why not radical simplification instead of dilbertian complication? Other than it wouldn't make IBM as much money so we're not gonna talk about that.

Walled gardens are simpler, although ickier. I predict more.

Pointless invasive security theater is simpler than tech. Whatever would be extremely intrusive and intimidating and embarrassing so the Americans will love doing their part for the war on terror or civil liberties or whatever.

Death of the mouse and keyboard. Onscreen keypad for all except for the modern equivalent of data entry operators. Lowered productivity has never stopped any other UI innovation / simplification.

Goodbye broadcast TV and its 99 layers of resale and advertisement and complication and retransmission and uplinking and re-compression. Find it on "itunes music store" or the producers website, pay for it, watch it. Expect most advertising money to go into product placement.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435576)

You do know the difference between Apple and IBM, right? None of your idiotic rant has anything to do with IBM.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435982)

I read, it's what i do, and i can tell you that IBM is the worst offender when it comes to unrealistic ideas.
hal is a single letter per letter shift to IBM.
from what i see scientists are portrayed as all being greedy and stupid, wanting bad technologies like fusion power, giant space labs etc. yes, fusion is a bad technology, it promotes the loss of one of the most life essential nutrients water. but religious zealots are no better. there is no god, never was, never will be. in my reading it became abundantly clear that people are post peak in their intellectual capabilities that there are people who will manipulate others with science and those that will manipulate people with religion, and that no matter how rarely a person might manipulate others they will eventually manipulate others. and politicians and corporations are where they are because of how good they are at manipulation.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (4, Insightful)

Natales (182136) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435072)

The problem is that many of these things are potentially possible, but they are presented from the pure technology perspective without considering the social and political aspects that at the end are the ones with the real influence.

Think about TCP/IP in general. With the power of todays computers, even cell phones, the world should have evolved into an Internet architecture that was purely P2P based. Everything could have been a real cloud of distributed processing and information sharing. But that would have been disruptive, and any technology that would sufficiently threaten the establishment, and in particular the ones with serious money, will be fought back in the form of regulation or in more subtle ways, such as a slight bending of their direction. ADSL was one of those cases, where by empowering a download speed substantially higher than uploads, it literally steered the way technology developed, from all nodes being equal, to nodes becoming consumers, while other becoming servers.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435098)

Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance.

This one might be considered a wash, considering the new small manufacturing techniques for computer parts that allow less energy to be used to accomplish more.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (3, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435238)

And here's their predictions from the end of 2007 [ibm.com] , which have one year left to come true:

It will be easy for you to be green and save money doing it

Arguably yes in some cases, but not for any of the "smart grid" reasons the explanatory text talks about.

The way you drive will be completely different ... The cities you live in will find a cure for congestion using intelligent traffic systems that can make real-time adjustments to traffic lights and divert traffic to alternate routes with ease.

Nope.

You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat ... Advancements in computer software and wireless radio sensor technologies will give you access to much more detailed information about the food you are buying and eating. You will know everything from the climate and soil the food was grown in, to the pesticides and pollution it was exposed to, to the energy consumed to create the product, to the temperature and air quality of the shipping containers it traveled through

Sounds cool, but nope. All I know about my imported fruit is the "grown in Chile" sticker.

Your cell phone will be your wallet, your ticket broker, your concierge, your bank, your shopping buddy, and more

Arguably coming close.

Doctors will get enhanced “super-senses” to better diagnose and treat you ... An avatar – a 3D representation of your body – will allow doctors to visualize your medical records in an entirely new way, so they can click with the computer mouse on a particular part of the avatar, to trigger a search of your medical records and retrieve information relevant to that part of your body, instead of leafing through pages of notes.

Pretty sure this ain't happening.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435768)

IBM has a traffic system in Stockholm that is easing congestion [ibm.com] .

Just yesterday (I think) there was an article on here about an IBM system for tracking food from source to consumer in China.

IBM's Jeopardy-winning Watson system is now doing medical records processing as mentioned in the last item.

Are all these things in widespread use? No, not yet. They still require money to implement. However, from a technology point of view, they are available.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435372)

It's be easier to predict the future, if you're the one making it happen.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435406)

access health care remotely - "Not even close" probably doesn't work:
http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/15/us-teleradiology-india-idUSTRE49E01920081015
http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2011/11/10/cisco-systems-remote-healthcare-india.html

Real time speech translation - Again, we're getting there. Look at current translation software, speech to text, Siri, etc.

3D Internet - We're finally seeing consumer level 3D TVs. Will it take off? My guess is no, but who can say. I would submit that this is but one step toward the potential of a 3D internet, even if what you and I may envision as a "3D internet" isn't what we would come to see.

Technologies the size of a few atoms addressing areas of environmental importance - okay, you got me here...

Mobile phones reading our minds - we have applications on phones that are location aware, context aware, preference aware...while not actually reading my mind, that's certainly getting pretty close to appear to "read my mind".

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

WalkingBear (555474) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435422)

There is no technological barrier to remote health care. There is a regulatory and legislative barrier; at least in the US. Look at the massive rules regarding patient privacy (including things like where computers are oriented in the *home* of a doctor doing remote assist) in the HIIPA bills. I routinely talk to my doctors via e-mail and my records are only on paper when they're writing notes in my folder. Everything's electronic and exchanged that way.

SIRI, Google Voice, Dragon Natural Speaking (I know of at least two NYT Best selling SciFi authors who use is extensively).

Again, the tech is there. Look at the vast number of people using MMOs for gaming and socialization. There's no valid reason to force a fully 3D interface onto things that are, in essence, purely text information.

Nanotech. Technologically valid, regulatory (EPA, etc..) nightmare. Give it 10 more years.

Behavior tracking and assist based on your normal usage. Again, possible, but not yet implemented. Don't know why but it's not something I'm too terribly interested in.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435436)

<i>We will be able to access health care remotely, from just about anywhere in the world.

Not even close</i>
We can do it. It is just that health care organizations are so pressured to cut costs that they do won't implement unless the government is going to fund them or there is a direct effect to the bottom line. We have technologies and standards to do this ICD-10, SNOMED-CT, CDA/CCD, HL7. Already Radiology results are being shipped across the world to be analysed by radiologist during off hours. We even have vendors trying to push technology for virtual Dr. visits. But right now Insurance companies are not paying for them. We have the technology, the standards. We also have a bunch of political finger pointing at everyone blaming each other why heal care is so expensive.

<i>Real-time speech translation&mdash;once a vision only in science fiction&mdash;will become the norm.

Some advances have been made, but nope</i>

Some really good advancements. It isn't a Star Trek Universal translator but we are getting there. Once mobile processors get to the right speed it will be more useful.

<i>There will be a 3D Internet.

Nope</i>

What z-index css still doesn't work?

<i>Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance.

Wow, not even sure what the fuck that was SUPPOSED to be about. Nanotech maybe??</i>

Yea Nanotech why not.

<i>Our mobile phones will start to read our minds.

God help us.</i>

There are some kids toys that are doing this right now. I think the smart phone actually doing it is an issue of fashion then technical ability.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435566)

I believe analyst said that we always massively overestimate impact of technology in the short run, and massively underestimate the long run. Technically if we were an open society we probably could have accomplished most of these goals. Well 3D internet is just silly, I can't understand the point of that one. Voice recognition, we've got like 5 competing groups that are 60% of the way there. If the teams google and the teams apple bought out, pooled their resources we'd probably have almost perfect voice recognition today. However the goal of technology is how to profit from it first, far more then it is about how to master it.

Re:Anyone who thinks they can predict the future.. (1)

helix2301 (1105613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435932)

My problem with the mind reading piece is if you can take thoughts out what prevents them from putting thoughts into your brain. What about the parts of the brain it reads that your don't know about. Something tells me mind reading technology is not a one way street. Plus you always have to put something in for something to come out. VERY SCARY the thought of controlling something via your brain.

It'll still be spam to me (4, Insightful)

pauljlucas (529435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434854)

In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead.

I don't care how personalized it is: it's still unsolicited and I don't want it in my in-box. Even if the mail is advertising something I'm interested in, unless I'm actually in the market to buy a new one (which is rare), I'll consider it spam.

Re:It'll still be spam to me (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434904)

Yeah, unless the spammers figure out how to turn the 10-20% of the population who aren't sheeple into sheeple, #5 isn't coming true, at least not for the whole population.

What about #2, was I the only one who winced, reading that?

Re:It'll still be spam to me (3, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435122)

Directed emails addressed to a specific individual that explain how and why a potential partner or provider is contacting them are not only legal, but necessary as the "cold call" of the internet age.

Broadcasting to purchased mailing lists using BCC addressing or mailing list processors are spam, and a completely different scummy approach to advertising that smacks of the door to door salesman who won't take "No" for an answer. It's intrusive, it's rude, and the only thing spammers do is guarantee that I will never, ever, ever buy a product from the spaming vendor.

Seems like.. (1)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435568)

They are implying on the marketer half of the equation, analytics will advance to the point where you more accurately target your demographic. It will still be unsolicited, but at least volume would go down as the marketer does not waste resources sending mail to people who will never care This may have merit in post, but not email since the former does carry non-trivial cost but the latter doesn't matter. They also explicitly referenced spam filter quality going up on the recipient side.

Re:It'll still be spam to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435572)

But you fail to take into account not everyone is the same as you. Genuine marketeers (not those than send the same thing to everyone) put in a lot of effort into their mailing campaigns, most have math degrees. If you come up in a selection for mailing, you're considered a prospect (due to a previous relationship for similar products) or a hot prospect (answered something suggesting you're actually interested in whatever the mailshot is for, regardless of timeframe). They wouldn't di this if it didn't work. Auto industry is very big on it, and it works very well for them.

If you genuinely don't want any contact, you've got to get busy and make it known. Send stuff back in the enclosed envelopes with big black marker writing stating "please remove from all contact lists", or similar. Get on each mailing preference list for your country/area. You can even be removed from the weekly newspaper/coupon rounds with a little effort. It'll take a few weeks, but once it has kicked in, you'll wonder whether you've been missed in the mail routes because you'll get almost no mail.

Re:It'll still be spam to me (1)

JustinOpinion (1246824) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435980)

To play devil's advocate here: What if the personalization did include elements such as whether or not you're in the market for something? What if the personalization were tuned to each person's 'spam tolerance' so that the number, type, and content of the emails were below your threshold for annoyance?

Imagine your phone breaks, and then you sit down and your computer and already there is an email along the lines of: "These are the current best smartphones that match your desires and budget. Here are links to reviews for these phones (at sites you trust). Here are links to buy any of these, if you are interested." Or, a month before christmas, you receive an email like "Your sister would probably like the following items for Christmas. If you buy them soon, you can get better rates and they'll arrive in time for the holidays." Or you get an email like "You were interested in buying a bigger TV a month ago, but they were all too expensive. However a recent sale has the TV you like at the price you were willing to pay. Click here to buy it on Amazon (which currently has the lowest price for this item)." And so on...

In other words, imagine if the advert emails were actually useful to you. So useful, in fact, that they offset the annoyance of getting an 'out of the blue' email. If advertising emails were really that tailored, people would probably read them, and click on the links. Heck, people might even actively sign up for (even pay for!) such tailored shopping advice.

Having said all that, I agree that this kind of advertising would be fundamentally creepy and unsettling. It would very pointedly highlight just how much information companies have on us. (How did they know my phone just broke? How did they know I wanted to buy a new TV?) Creepy as it is, however, the cynic in me says that the majority of people would eventually get used to it. The main reason it won't work, actually, is because companies don't have the self-control necessary to pull it off. They will use any opportunity to mislead, lie, and annoy, as long as it gives them (or they think it gives them) a slight edge. With thousands of companies trying to out-yell each other to catch our attention, it inevitably becomes annoying. Which means that no matter how good those emails might be, we will still be aggressively spam-blocking them, and won't trust any of them.

Biometrics? Pass. (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434860)

Biometrics are a terrible idea. They can't be changed. That means that as soon as somebody lifts your fingerprint off that class, you're 0wn3d. Forever. Sorry, but biometrics are to proper security what the TSA is to proper security—a lot of flashy show with no real function—a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Thanks, but no thanks. Maybe as a fairly weak second factor, but not as a replacement for passwords. A more reasonable solution would be a chip-and-pin scheme in which you enter the pin on the (very simple, hard-to-hack) card rather than on the reader, so that the reader is just a dumb device that passes the authentication request through to a backend server and receives an authorization token a la Kerberos.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (2)

LastGunslinger (1976776) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434964)

Obligatory XKCD. http://xkcd.com/936/ [xkcd.com]

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435118)

I use the second one with a mix of the first one.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435016)

Biometrics are a terrible idea. They can't be changed. That means that as soon as somebody lifts your fingerprint off that class, you're 0wn3d.

glass, not class.

I can phrase it simpler. If you can measure a biometric using a hardened scanner for years, for less money, I can replicate it for one time use. And most biometric scan technologies are pretty cheap... Hand geometry scanners, owned. fingerprint scanners, LOL. Iris scanners, owned. "face recognition" owned.

Nearly all biometric devices rely intensely on physical security, once you have access to the device and the wire almost all are subject to playback attacks, some as simple as "open circuit this wire" or "close circuit this wire".

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436006)

glass, not class.

Gah. I knew I should have read through that more carefully. :-| My brain said one word, my fingers typed another.

Nearly all biometric devices rely intensely on physical security, once you have access to the device and the wire almost all are subject to playback attacks, some as simple as "open circuit this wire" or "close circuit this wire".

And there's no real way to avoid that as long as the device is under someone else's control. At some point in the hardware, the unencrypted data must exist. It's basically the reverse of the DRM problem, and it is unsolvable for precisely the same reason. The only way to avoid the problem in the biometrics case is to deny the bad guy physical access to the hardware, as you said. In effect, this means that you would need to carry your own personal fingerprint scanner around in your pocket.

Short of that, biometrics cannot be made more secure than a (good) password, and in practice, biometrics tend to be much less secure because of how easy it is to obtain them surreptitiously (the old "dust the glass after you leave the restaurant" trick). And as soon as you guard that device as though losing it could mean someone draining your bank account, there's no longer any reason to require the biometric info; it is basically just as secure to authenticate based on whether you have possession of the device... and possibly more so.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435074)

They are redefining "hack" as is sawing/cutting away your body parts to use for gaining access to your money. Not looking forward for a future like that.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435218)

Wow, Macbeth quote and everything! Respect.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435652)

What I like even less about biometrics replacing passwords is that the emphasis shifts from something you know (and, of course, can change or use selectively) to who you are. Because your biometrics identify you, you're traceable wherever you go, forever.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (1)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435686)

You assume biometrics are fingerprint/iris scanners and the likes. Why couldn't our "mind reading" computer friends tell who you are based on your thought pattern? How about coupled with the scent of pheromones you excrete? Volume of food you tend to have in your stomach? The style of tacky shirt you tend to wear? Obviously, none of these are a solution by themselves, but if you put enough of these patterns together, you should be able to tell who is who.

Re:Biometrics? Pass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435970)

You assume biometrics are fingerprint/iris scanners and the likes. Why couldn't our "mind reading" computer friends tell who you are based on your thought pattern? How about coupled with the scent of pheromones you excrete? Volume of food you tend to have in your stomach?

No. He didn't assume anything like that. This is really simple - all the computer really gets to work with is a digital representation of whatever data you're using. If you use something fixed to the person and not changeable then once someone is able to reproduce that digital information you're stuck with it - you have a permanent security breach instead of a fixable one. That's the same whether it's fingerprints or mind scans or anything else.You can cross your fingers and pray for some magical tamper proof system that can only react to a 'genuine' brainscan instead of a copy being fed into it but that's a different technology issue entirely from developing new biometrics. The problem is that using something that is fixed and non-changeable instead of a password/card etc that can be cancelled or suspended is really really stupid. It's a terrible idea.

My cynical take... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38434872)

1: More ways to power the mandatory GPS trackers governments will require of individuals. Maybe even ways to bring the concept of a remote "kill switch" to a new level not seen outside of Dune and heart plugs.

2: I will never need a password again, but neither would the hackers and phishers who manage to get the unchangeable identification from the biometric device.

3: The thought police will be real. Same with thoughtcrime.

4: The poor will receive something, it will be like a TV with one-to-many broadcasting so they can get the latest propaganda.

5: Subliminal advertising and legal defeats for anti-spam items such as Adblock are just waiting for us. Yippee.

I disagree with that last one... (4, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434880)

(5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

Any unsolicited mail will always be spam no matter how personal and relevant it is.

Re:I disagree with that last one... (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435760)

What if spam comes in the form of discussion board members who make relevant posts, otherwise indistinguishable from human posters (but are really computer programs), then form friendships with you, and only inject their spam payload via occasional, bizarre suggestions that you should try out some flaky product (which is otherwise out of character for such an intelligent poster)?

I think that's what IBM has in mind ... or at least, would be a serious, creepy way of implementing what they describe.

Fortunately, we already have countermeasures [xkcd.com] for this kind of thing.

Re:I disagree with that last one... (1)

Jackdaw Rookery (696327) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435842)

Exactly. If marketing material is more and more targeted and all pervasive:

- I would find it really freaking creepy. I don't care if it is relevent or not
- I would make a point of NOT shopping at anywhere that targeted me in this manner

Of course stores *may* realise that people don't want this kind of unsolicited hassle and start stating that they don't use this technique. You never know ...

He who would fortell the future... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38434906)

...tells lies.

All wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38434908)

People won't be using biometrics and mind reading - they'll be using RockMelt. RockMelt is an interesting browser - it completely abandons geeky stuff like NoScript or Adblock but instead caters to casual, normal people and how they use the internet. RockMelt has online Facebook friends directly on the site, along with recent news and updates from all social networks. It lets you easily add social bookmarks to sites like Reddit and Digg, along with sharing to Facebook and Twitter. Most people have been saying how wonderful it is compared to biometrics and mind reading. It's an browser that actual people want.

Re:All wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435052)

That's just what my good old grandpa used to say - who needs to develop biometrics and mind reading when you already have RockMelt?

Re:All wrong (1)

Targen (844972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435336)

I don't know about junk mail, but perhaps in five years Slashdot spam bots will be smart enough to use "geeky stuff" as something desirable on a website with the motto "news for nerds, stuff that matters", rather than as something that should be abandoned.

It'll still be spam (3, Insightful)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38434942)

(5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

It'll still be crap that's stuffing my mailbox, I'll still use it as kindling, and it'll still exist only to keep the USPS in business. The only way I'd even bother looking at junk mail would be if it screamed as I threw it into the fire.

Re:It'll still be spam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435728)

Hmmm, might be doable.

My predictions for 2012 (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435008)

Canonical will see a not insignificant number of Ubuntu users migrate over to Mint Linux.

PS4 and the next Xbox will be announced at E3, to be released in 2013.

Facebook will experience its first notable slump in active users.

I wager 0 of 5 (2)

Kjella (173770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435010)

1) It's enough to drive a wrist watch, but no I don't think so.
2) Not going to happen or you could do "identity theft" from any paper cup..
3) Very limited degree of giving directions with your mind, yes. Anything that actually resembles reading a thought? No.
4) The "poorest of the poor" live on less than a dollar a day. It's a long way to everyone browsing the Internet on their smartphone.
5) Hahahhahhahaha LOL

My prediction is that all these predictions are wrong. That's not to say anything big won't happen, but IBM isn't exactly a Jobs or Zuckerberg. They're good on tech research but I think several of these predictions lack real world grounding.

Re:I wager 0 of 5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435502)

I agree. I want to find the person responsible for these predictions and punch him in the face. They make me angry.

1. Maybe it can power cell phones... But wouldn't I still break a sweat, if I tried to Fred Flintstone my flying car to work?
2. WHAT IF I CHOOSE TO USE A PASSWORD? WHAT IF I CHOOSE TO ENCRYPT MY DATA?
3. WHAT IF I DON'T WANT TO ENGAGE IN TELEPATHY? (and I'll way for the beta testers to work out all the annoying kinks that cause aneurisms first, thanks!)
4. I'M NOT GIVING UP MY HIGHLY CUSTOMIZABLE DESKTOPS. SORRY.
5. LET'S ALL SPAM IBM.

More misses than hits? (1)

cyberchondriac (456626) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435028)

I'd like to see Number 1 more often, such as the so called self-winding watches that rely on the motions of your arm.
Then again, for those peculiar people who don't swing their arms when they walk (that sorta creeps me out) they won't work so well

I don't see number 2 happening.
Number 5? Never.
Number 3 is the most likely, IMO.

Word parsing (1)

wagr (1070120) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435042)

To parse the words carefully:
4) Within 5 years, it will become popular within the US to say there is no digital divide - there is no such thing a class divide in the first place.
I think reality will look more service caps that limit the average user to software updates, streaming a movie per week, and playing a few hours of a browser game per month.

Not a chance (1)

Beachhouse (1235186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435082)

1, 2, and 3, no way. 4 and 5, maybe. But mail spam is going to up in price a lot. I think it will almost totally go away in the next 5 years. People forget that they only things we innovate are things we actually care about. The level on complexity in the average cell phone far out paces the level of technology, even well, in the space program.

Junk Mail is intrusive (2)

wombatmobile (623057) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435100)

Duh... the reason Junk Mail is not valued by the recipient is because it is INTRUSIVE. Intrusiveness cannot be overcome by personalisation. More like enhanced. The more personalized the junk, the creepier the intrusion.

I wonder why that person from IBM predicts such a creepy future?

Why does IBM pay someone to publish creepy stuff like that?

Re:Junk Mail is intrusive (1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435716)

These predictions look more like a corporate wish list than anything we peeps are looking for.

No not really... (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435106)

1 - cant happen unless they really reduce computer power requirements. People dont have that much power to generate passively.
2 - HAHAHAHAHA Yeah right.
3 - I dont think so. we can barely control a mouse position or even do a reliable on or off.
4 - Not a chance in hell unless Cellphone data costs drop to $0.00
5 - Companies dont get it that people dont read junk mail to the home, when Spam costs nothing, why stop using it?

Did they ask the janitor for these predictions?

Prophecy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435126)

Is this the same IBM that predicted that there would only be a need for a handful of personal computers across the globe?

Re:Prophecy (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435394)

Is this the same IBM that predicted that there would only be a need for a handful of personal computers across the globe?

The prediction was that there would be a handful of computers across the globe. Of course,this was at a time when computers took up an entire room and the concept of a "personal computer" was ridiculous. At the time, the most prescient of people involved with computers thought that sometime in the 21st century computers would become so powerful that people would have terminals in their homes that would allow them to access a computer (that was located in some central location) over the phone lines.

Re:Prophecy (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435878)

No, it's the same IBM that people CLAIM made that quote, but no-one can ever point to exactly when it was made or in what context. The quote doesn't even make sense. IBM has, over the last century, invested a huge amount of it's resources into developing computing - who does that if they think there is no market?

Predictions for PHBs (2)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435204)

Conveniently aimed at technologies in which I'm sure IBM is investing.

I predict that in five years, it'll look at lot like it does now, with perhaps different providers.

IBM delivered personally tailored unsolicited data (-1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435242)

During the holocaust, IBM delivered personally tailored unsolicited data, tattooed onto the arm of jews, slavs, homosexuals, etc

Re:IBM delivered personally tailored unsolicited d (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38436020)

Boy, slashdot never disappoints, does it? You can always count on some idiot making this incredibly insightful and informative post in every article about IBM.

#4 (1)

ZiggieTheGreat (934388) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435292)

>> (4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected

Uh huh. Maybe a pre-pay phone with voice minutes but that won't help them connect like a smart phone will. And I don't think data plans OR smart phones are going to be affordable to the upper middle lower class without some huge price cuts that I would LOVE to see but don't think will happen.

Meanwhile, I'm so addicted to mine, that I can't get rid of it. Sigh.

Redefining the word "Hack"... (5, Funny)

Zamphatta (1760346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435296)

Hack (verb) - to cut off someone's finger or eyeball, in order to use it later for biometrically entering their computer accounts.

rapid smarphone evolution missed in 10yr forecasts (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435320)

Ten years ago few people predicted the huge variety of applications one would be able to do on a pocket-size computer. It was consider dicey at the time for Apple to get into the phone busy at all, even though this seemed be the logical progression of ever smarter iPods. The real innovation came when Apple opened these devices to devices after an initial year of resistance. Something perhaps not even Steve anticipated.

This is just one of several under-expected forecasts in the industry- the surprise racehorse. I've seen many of these in my career.

Not as enthusiastic, myself.. (2)

n5vb (587569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435352)

(1) People power will come to life. Advances in technology will allow us to trap the kinetic energy generated (and wasted) from walking, jogging, bicycling, and even from water flowing through pipes.

Possible, I'd say. Not holding my breath, but this is at least benign.

(2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will finally replace the password and thus redefine the word 'hack.'

Yes you will. Authentication that relies on a single factor has been proven time and time again to be inadequate. The most viable authentication methods have almost always relied on at least two factors, the rule of thumb being "something you have and something you know" .. the latter being a password, or a PIN, or some other piece of information you memorize. Until we can all do public-key encryption in our heads, passwords or other memory-based authentication factors will be necessary. Even if they take a form like "crimson, eleven, delight, petrichor".

(3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction. Scientists are working on headsets with sensors that can read brain activity and recognize facial expressions, excitement, and more without needing any physical inputs from the wearer.

Only a complete extrovert would find this idea anything other than absolutely horrifying. (Granted, extrovert-chauvinism is endemic to this culture, so it's not surprising this would be seen by major decision-makers as a good thing.) I cannot imagine any future where I would trust any real-world government run by any of the kinds of people who've been running things until now with any knowledge of what's going on in my mind. The moment they think they know what's going on in our heads with any degree of reliability, people start getting preemptively locked up by "precrime" units for crimes the state thinks they were about to commit, either in a genuine (if misguided) effort to protect "the public", or as a pretext for locking up people who disagree with them .. most likely the latter, in my experience. (And I'm not even going to open up the can of worms of whether they really do know what people are thinking. Being convinced they know and being wrong is even worse than actually knowing.)

(4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected.

Probably. The continuing value of being "connected" just for its own sake remains to be seen.

(5) Junk mail will become priority mail. "In five years, unsolicited advertisements may feel so personalized and relevant it may seem that spam is dead."

I'm almost as disturbed by this as by (3) above. There's a real danger in the cognitive merger of advertising and human interaction that, again, I'm not sure is getting nearly as much critical attention as it deserves because the type of people who promote advertising tend to be extreme extroverts who don't have much of a grasp of the self/other boundary. However, for those of us who value our own internal identities and prefer to draw a clear distinction between interacting with actual human beings on an individual level and the (increasingly intrusive) encroachment of advertising on those interactions, or for me at least if I'm the only one, spam will always be spam, because unsolicited messages designed to persuade the recipient to buy a certain product or have a certain positive emotional reaction to a certain brand will be intrusive whether they're personalized or not. And I for one don't want them personalized and indistinguishable from my interactions with family and friends. I want there to be a clear distinction between the two -- I want advertising to be honest about the fact that it's trying to sell me something.

One of my biggest concerns with blurring that particular boundary is that advertising sells candidates for public office, as well, and it uses the same end-runs around our conscious cognitive processes to make its pitch, which is one reason I'm not confident that more than a few people in this country really vote with any effectiveness for their own interests. The Tea Party exists largely because of that kind of advertising -- it's probably the best example I've ever seen of people being persuaded to vote directly against their own interests by messages that appeal to their baser emotional needs. Do I want that kind of advertising to be so pervasive that it becomes just like chatting with my friends? That, to me, is a nightmare scenario, and I don't want any part of it. If that's where the world is headed, don't say you weren't warned.

4 out of 5 will be wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435354)

The innovations all sound possible to one extent or another, but the "popular" part is another mater.

1. People power. Any time you harvest energy from a system, that energy has to come from somewhere. When you were growing up did you have one of those headlamps on your bicycle that used a generator on the rear tire? It caused a noticeable amount of drag. Given how sedentary the U.S. culture has become I can't see this becoming ubiquitous. It will be an expensive toy that a small fraction of people use. Even the use of water flowing through pipes would cause a slight increase in power draw in the water pumps (except for the case of gravity feed) so the energy is not free or even break-even.

2. Biometrics. Governments and large corporations want biometrics far more than individuals, especially individuals that understand the privacy implications. In the next 5 years there will remain so many glitches in the implementation that many people will swear off using the biometrics after the fifth time they are locked out of their own stuff (car/phone/computer/etc.) because of misbehaving biometric systems. I know a guy with a laptop with a thumbprint reader. He plays with it occasionally and it correctly reads and identifies his thumbprint less than 1 out of every 5 tries. Also, even if biometric access controls do get installed everywhere there will always be other ways to circumvent the systems.

3. Mind reading. Yes, there have been huge advances in this area, but the cost in the next 5 years will remain high enough that only governments will use it (or force its use) to any large scale. You won't be able to "think" at your computer and have it do what you want. Even if you could, I bet only a small fraction of people would be able to think coherently enough and suppress random thoughts (I'm hungry. What am I going to do for lunch?) so that they could get real work done. No, this technology will be used for security, similar to polygraphs but in a preemptive fashion.

4. Digital divide. Have you looked at your cell phone bill lately? The only way the "poorest of the poor" will get properly connected is if the government pays for their service. If the government gives you something, you can bet that soon after they will start controlling how it is used.

5. Junk mail. No mater how personalized unsolicited advertisements become they will still be junk mail. There are thousands and thousands of companies that would like to have me give them my money and I just don't buy things that often. Even if they tell me about a product that I want, if they tell me about it every week when I only buy it once every 6 months then it is all unwanted junk mail.

True futurists (4, Insightful)

harperska (1376103) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435384)

People who truly have an accurate vision of the future don't make silly public predictions or videos [microsoft.com] about where they think technology will be in 5 years. They work in secret in labs at places like Google or Apple making said future actually happen so that in 5 years they can sell it to you.

I don't want this future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435392)

So IBM is predicting a dystopian future?

Let's look at the predictions (2)

g2devi (898503) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435478)

Here's my take:
(1) People power will come to life.

Hmmm, most people who use a PC or tablet (unless they're playing a game) tend to sit quietly at location for hours on end. There's not a lot of opportunity to harness power. Now it might be possible for such harnessing to power cell phones and iPods, but unless cell phones use significantly less power, this is a no-go.

(2) You will never need a password again. Biometrics will.....

Yes, immediately after voice recognition and AI take over. Biometrics might take over for informal use, but it's too flawed (either too many false negatives or false positives) for widespread use. It's much more likely that a personal SKEY-type personal RFID might become available.

(3) Mind reading is no longer science fiction.

It's no longer science fiction today, but even if it is cheap enough, our minds are too scattered to have this as the primary mode of input.

(4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make....

May parts of the world live on less than one dollar a year, virtually no infrastructure, and have virtually no need for technology that doesn't directly contribute to the bottom line (i.e. surviving). The digital divide will be around for years to come.

(5) Junk mail will become priority mail.

This might be come true, but it would be priority mail for mail services who want to gain extra income, not users.

Okay, let's assume that all people play by the rules of using this smart feature (and that there's enough gold at the end of the rainbow to end world hunger).

Smart junk mail is the modern equivalent of Microsoft Clippy. Yes Clippy tried to be helpful, and often did provide users with valuable information, but it was still hated precisely because it was unsolicited.

This is not to say that junk mail can't be made valuable. If mail could be pulled into three bands by mail providers, "Regular Mail", "Smart Mail", and "Junk mail". It has to be something that depends on the mail providers, not solely the mail publishers since we can't trust them. For most people, smart mail would be ignored unless you were looking for a deal. You could then call on it as a supplementary knowledge base.

SPAM: A free service poorly customized (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435500)

Spam is a free service. It is commercial entities (mostly) sending you unsolicited information.

The problem is that spam very, very rarely hits the mark.

But imagine if the things you wanted, information you would like actually *found you*.

- I'd love it if articles I wanted to read magically found me and brought themselves to my attention.
- I'd love it if books I actually wanted to buy found me.
- If movies I didn't know I would want to see found me.
- If products with a lower price actually found me.

The problem is, this rarely happens. So rarely that I can think of only 2 or 3 times it has occurred.

But if spam hit the mark with a decent "success rate", I would like spam.

On #2: Biometrics are not secrets (4, Insightful)

j-turkey (187775) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435508)

Bruce Schneier said it better than I can. [schneier.com]

Biometrics are unique identifiers, but they are not secrets. You leave your fingerprints on everything you touch, and your iris patterns can be observed anywhere you look.

Authenticating with biometrics is little better than using social security numbers. They are both unique identifiers, but neither are secrets, making them better suited to user id's. Passwords, on the other hand, are secrets.

Dreaming / Sales Oriented (2)

sociocapitalist (2471722) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435640)

(4) The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected.

The poorest of the poor don't have enough food to eat, never mind portable phones and dataplans to allow them on the net.

The digital divide also isn't only about accessing the Internet. The limitations of a mobile with regard to screen size, input speed and capacities will keep it from being used in any serious way.

I'm guessing this is more of a list of what IBM hopes to promote the next year or two.

Um, the Mythbusters busted #2... (2)

Ransak (548582) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435674)

2) Biometrics is not authentication, it's identification. Any system pretending otherwise is ripe for abuse.

The predictions do NOT have to come true . . . (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435722)

. . . IBM just has to make money off them for the next five years . . .

Re:The predictions do NOT have to come true . . . (2)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435920)

This is exactly what I was going to post. This is a self-fulfilling prophecy. These are obviously the new technologies that IBM is investing in and banking on. The three that stick out as creepy are the biometrics, mind-reading, and advertising. All three scream privacy invasion to me and all three can (will) be abused in the wrong hands.

The kinetic energy proposal seems promising but the digital divide issue just seems to be the 'safe bet.' It's already the case that cell phones are allowing almost anyone to connect to the internet. But that fails to acknowledge that being connected to the internet doesn't mean taking advantage of what it really has to offer. Having a Facebook page doesn't mean anything. Furthermore, it fails to acknowledge that while this 'digital divide' is shrinking, it's not doing anything to stop the social divide from widening. In fact, the internet allows people to stop diversifying altogether. You have a dating website for every type of person: Christian, wealthy, fat, smart, beautiful, into furries, etc. Then people only pull their news from places that confirm their own biases. Like /. but worse (Fox News/Huffington Post). You can buy whatever you want off the internet so you don't have to go out in public and associate with the plebs who run registers and stock shelves for a living. So while they make it sound like shrinking the digital divide is some social positive, I don't know if that's really the case.

they have forgotten a key detail (1)

Gravis Zero (934156) | more than 2 years ago | (#38435938)

PATENTS.

unless you have suffered a brain injury where you cant remember things for more than a few minutes, you know that businesses a suing the hell out of anyone that threatens them or just wants a piece of the pie. if it disrupts anyone in business or is too successful, it's going to be swamped by legal trouble. got a great idea? "NO YOU DONT, I PATENTED IT, YOU THIEF!"

so my prediction is that the 1% will continue to war on the 99% and congressmen will continue their war on liberties. if we are lucky, our oppression will come with smaller tech that sucks less power.

Prediction 6 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38435992)

And prediction number 6 is "pigs will fly!".

Sure, and... (1)

certain death (947081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38436012)

" The digital divide will cease to exist. Mobile phones will make it easy for even the poorest of poor to get connected." The above should read... "They will try to make everyone believe they can't live without a mobile phone, taking as much money as possible from the poorest of the poor."
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