Their third prediction involves “macroscopes”, a somewhat obtuse term for seeing things on a grand scale.
Today, there are thousands of satellites orbiting Earth that, in real-time, reveal heat signatures, criminal activity, troop movements, crop yields, hurricane locations, and so on.
IBM suggests that by 2022, all this data will become combined to such an extent that analyzing interconnected phenomena, like climate change, will become more efficient and precise – and perhaps predictive – than ever before.
And then, there are “labs on a chip”, small devices that can fit into the palm of your hand and diagnose you for a range of illnesses and conditions. Right now, these are mostly in the prototype stage, and short of a FitBit-like device letting you know if you have an abnormal heartbeat, almost everyone goes to the doctor to get their general health checked out.
GPs will still be as vital as ever by 2022, of course, but IBM predicts that these miniature biochemistry laboratories will become so commonplace that your health stats can be checked at the tap of a screen. If these chips are connected to the health service, your local GP can be alerted if anything untoward is detected – and this could save your life.
Lastly, smart sensors are on IBM’s radar. These tiny devices – which detect poisonous gas leaks, temperature changes, or damage – already exist, but they often require human input to correct the problem.
Newer versions aren’t just being linked to the Internet, they can also power themselves. Throw in a little AI and you’ve got a self-sustaining system than can fix some problems all by themselves.
All videos: IBM via YouTube