IBM Predicts Computers Will Have The Ability To Smell And Taste In 5 Years

IBM Predicts Computers Will Have The Ability To Smell And Taste In 5 Years

The tech giant potlights in-house experts on cognitive computing to talk about the future of the machinery.

Plus Aziz
  • 21 december 2012

Cognitive computing is defined as a computer that tries to imitate how the brain works. In IBM’s annual ‘5 in 5’ prediction, the company predicts that in 5 years, computers will have various cognitive abilities. Capable of experiencing its environment, these ‘cognitive computers’ will be trained rather than simply programmed.

IBM predicts we’ll be able to ‘feel’ different textures through our touchscreens. Computers will be able to understand what they see, helping a doctor ‘see’ signals of disease through a photo, be able to analyze audio patterns to predict events, help us figure out our perfect meal, and process smells to tell us if we’re getting sick.

Below are the 5 predictions, each dedicated to a human sense and how computer technology will come to embrace it.

Touch: By developing vibration management systems, technology companies will be able to translate how a texture or fabric feels. IBM’s retail expert Robyn Schwartz talks about some of the implications of this.

Smell: Breaking down the smell of a fragrance or wine is a complicated process. IBM’s Dr.Hendrik Hamann is a Physical Analytics researcher and he is working on developing this area. In the video below, he discusses how this innovation will help reduce costs in the healthcare sector.

Sight: Dr. John R. Smith, working in Intelligent Information Management, says that computers will understand images by learning to detect the patterns that matter. He provides an example of how this will have implications for the safety and security industries.

Hearing: Dr. Dimitri Kanevsky is a Master Inventor at IBM. He works at IBM Labs in developing computers that can hear mudslides and interpret flooding signals; this is done by placing sensors that listen for changes in nature sounds and patterns. His bold prediction is that computers’ listening skills will develop to the point where it can tell parents why their baby is crying.

Taste: IBM’s Dr. Lav Varshney is a Research Scientist focused on services. He says that future computers will be able to provide a chemical breakdown of ingredients to artculate not only what people find to be delicious, but actually put something together for us based on personalized taste. He imagines how this will impact cafeteria food in schools.

Watch a round-up video of the predictions below:

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