IBM Forecasts Major Advances in Cognitive Computing

IBM on Tuesday released its annual “5 in 5” list of predictions about technological innovations that will change the way we live in the next five years, with the theme this year being cognitive advances in computing that help machines “learn” how to better serve us. 

Last year’s 5 in 5 list also focused on the rise of cognition in computing and how the five senses humans use to gain information about and manipulate the physical world are being emulated by computing systems like IBM’s own Watson artificial intelligence framework.

For this year’s edition, IBM got a little more specific about the ways that such advances in machine learning will affect us, touching more on data analytics and offering up the following predictions:

The classroom will learn you: Kerrie Holley of IBM described this as a concept “built on a lot of the technologies you see with how the Khan Academy works, cloud-based computing, and the like.” In the years to come, new learning technologies will use advanced analytics of “longitudinal student records” to help teachers better assess what individual students need, which ones are at risk, and how to help them in their education, he said.

Buying local will beat online. Less about a specific tech advance, this prediction is based on the idea that the “tables will turn” in terms of access to the kind of technology, cloud services, and analytics that can help “mom and pop” businesses compete more readily with big national and global retailers, Holley said. “Technology costs are dropping and as they do, proximity will allow local retailers to create experiences the big retailers are not able to do online.”

Doctors will use your DNA to keep you well. IBM presented this prediction as one involving more advanced computational work than some of the others in its 5-in-5 list. “Cognitive-based systems like Watson, along with breakthroughs in genomic research, will enable doctors to be better able to diagnose cancer and offer better treatments,” Holley said.

The city will help you live in it. In just a few decades, as many as seven out of 10 people around the world will live in cities, according to some projections. We’re already seeing more computational resources being dedicated to helping those city dwellers manage their urban lives and that will only accelerate, according to IBM.

A digital guardian will protect you online. Holley explained this prediction as an expansion on financial fraud protection services offered by banks and credit card companies, only much more personally tailored to individuals to safeguard their entire digital lives.

“This year’s IBM 5 in 5 explores the idea that everything will learn—driven by a new era of cognitive systems where machines will learn, reason and engage with us in a more natural and personalized way. These innovations are beginning to emerge enabled by cloud computing, big data analytics, and learning technologies all coming together,” the research team behind the company’s annual list of predictions said in a statement.

“Over time these computers will get smarter and more customized through interactions with data, devices, and people, helping us take on what may have been seen as unsolvable problems by using all the information that surrounds us and bringing the right insight or suggestion to our fingertips right when it’s most needed. A new era in computing will lead to breakthroughs that will amplify human abilities, assist us in making good choices, look out for us, and help us navigate our world in powerful new ways.”

Written by: Damon Poeter, PC Mag
Posted by: Situated Research

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