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IBM Predicts Five Tech Innovations Coming to Your Senses

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 17, 2012 03:29 PM

Smartphones are pretty smart as it is now. But in five years’ time, they could be smelling you to see if you have a cold, allow users to feel objects from across the globe, and see such things as cell structures that are likely to turn into a melanoma. Not too shabby, right?

Some of IBM’s top researchers share the news on these potential capabilities – and plenty more – in the company’s new list of five predictions of innovations that will change our lives in the next five years. The annual "Smarter Planet" look what’s coming down the pike in the world of technology this year is grouped around cognitive computing, another name for trying to get computers to behave more like humans.

“With all due respect to current technology, our computers today are just large calculators,” said Paul Bloom, the CTO of Telecom Research at IBM. “They calculate very fast and lots of data, but they really don’t think.” That is about to change. IBM has released five videos (watch below) to showcase how computing may change each of the five senses — hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and seeing. Researchers, for example, are getting closer to “hearing” mudslides and other natural disasters before they actually occur.

"This is really an assistive technology," commented Dr. Bernard Meyerson, IBM's VP of research. "It can't go off on its own. It's not designed to do that. What it's designed to do, in fact, is respond to a human in an assistive manner. But by providing a human-style of input, it's freed us from the task of programming and moved to the task of training. It simply has — not more intelligence — but more bandwidth, and there's a huge difference between the two."

Hearing:

Sight:

Smell:

Taste:

Touch:

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