IBM: Five Predictions for 2017

IBM announced its annual list of five technology predictions for 2017, consisting of one for each of the five senses.

by / December 17, 2012

IBM may be onto something with its predictions. In 2010, the tech giant predicted that within five years there will be mobile phones that project holographic images of callers. It also envisioned the popularization of 3D imaging technology in flat panel televisions and video chat in mobile phones. It's that time of year again, and IBM has announced five new predictions for five years from now.

This year's list, based on ideas contributed by IBM biologists, engineers, mathematicians and medical doctors, includes one prediction for each of the five senses. Computers, IBM predicted, will use sound to identify structural weaknesses in buildings before they collapse and sensors that can “smell”, using olfactory data to analyze personal health.

IBM predicted that infrared and touch technologies will evolve to simulate the actual feeling of touching something on a screen -- a fabric, a road surface, animal fur, etc. IBM also predicted that small anomalies seen in images through the use of Big Data analytics will allow for faster and more accurate medical diagnoses. A new computing system will utilize digital taste buds to encourage healthy food choices, and help build perfect meals for people around the world, IBM predicted.

An archive of IBM's past predictions going back to 2006 can be found on their website. Some predictions proved correct, such as the 2006 prediction of the availability of remote health care by 2011. Other predictions, like the one that foretold a 3D Internet, came true in a more limited fashion -- the picture IBM painted in 2006 was one far loftier than the seldom-used online 3D interfaces that now exist.

Check out IBM's 2012 predictions, complete with videos and story maps for each of the five senses.