INTERNET: Many of us feel that personal technology is changing so fast that we can hardly keep up. For example, five years ago the iPhone was born, and there was no iPad. One company is predicting what the next five years will bring.
The IBM 5 in 5 2011 report looks at five developments in personal technology it predicts will happen within the next five years. Of course, as the firm is itself working on some of these, it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy — but interesting all the same.
1. Passwords will become a thing of the past, as biometrics will become widely used. These include fingerprints, iris recognition, voice files and facial profiles.
2. Mind reading will become a reality, as we will be able to control smartphones or computers with brainwaves. Thanks to sensors, you will be able to think about a phone number and your smartphone will dial it for you. Look at where you want to move the cursor on your monitor, and it will go there.
3. Created energy will help to power our batteries. Recharge your music player as you jog — or even your mobile phone as you speak. Power up your iPad with heat produced from your laptop. Scientists are developing more and more ways to use and convert the energy that people produce every day.
In five years, there will be no more junk mail.
4. Mobile phones and smartphones will bridge the digital divide. According to the IBM site, in five years, 80 per cent of the people on the planet will have mobile phones. These already have the power to connect people who can't read or write (thanks to speech technology), provide banking services to remote areas and help farmers in developing countries get the best prices on global markets.
5. No more junk mail! Better spam filters will stop the truly unwanted stuff. At the same time, fed by data from online buying and social media sites, advertising will become so personalized that we won't mind getting it.