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IBM’s mission has always been to innovate and in the process, change the way the world operates. With this objective in mind, IBM Research started a conversation termed as ‘5 in 5’ way back in 2012, giving their top 5 predictions every year at IBM Think 2018 on how technology would change the world. These predictions are usually the drivers for their research and innovation – and eventually solving the problems by coming up with efficient solutions to them.

Here are the 5 predictions made by IBM Research for 2018:

More secure Blockchain products: In order to avoid counterfeit Blockchain products, the technology will be coupled with cryptographic solutions to develop decentralized solutions. Digital transactions are often subject to frauds, and securing them with crypto-anchors is seen as the way to go forward. Want to know how this can be achieved? You might want to check out IBM’s blog on crypto-anchors and their real world applications. If you are like me, you’d rather watch IBM researcher Andres Kind explain what crypto-anchors are in a fast paced science slam session.

Sophisticated cyber attacks will continue to happen: Cyber attacks resulting in the data leaks or stealing of confidential data is not news to us. The bigger worry, though, is that the current methodologies to prevent these attacks are not proving to be good enough. IBM predicts this is only going to get worse, with more advanced and sophisticated cyber attacks breaking into the current secure systems with ease.

IBM Research also predicted the rise of ‘lattice cryptography’, a new security mechanism offering a more sophisticated layer of protection for the systems. You can read more about lattice cryptography technology on IBM’s official blog. Or, you can watch IBM researcher Cecilia Boschini explain what is lattice cryptography in 5 minutes on one of IBM’s famous science slam sessions.

Artificial Intelligence-powered bots will help clean the oceans: Our marine ecosystem seems to be going from bad to worse. This is mainly due the pollution and toxic wastes being dumped into it. IBM predicts that AI-powered autonomous bots, deployed and controlled on the cloud, can help relieve this situation by monitoring the water bodies for water quality and pollution levels. You can learn more about how these autonomous bots will help save the seas in this interesting talk by Tom Zimmerman.

An unbiased AI system: Artificially designed systems  are only as good as the data being used to build them. This data may be impure, or may contain flaws or bias pertaining of color, race, gender and so on. Going forward, new models which mitigate these biases and ensure more standard, bias-free predictions will be designed. With these models, certain human values and principles will be considered for effective decision-making.

IBM researcher Francesca Rossi talks about bias in AI and the importance of building fair systems that help us make better decisions.

Quantum Computing will go mainstream: IBM predicts that quantum computing will get out of research labs and gain mainstream adoption in the next 5 years. Problems considered to be difficult or unsolvable today due to their sheer scale or complexity can be tackled with the help of quantum computing. To know more, let IBM researcher Talia Gershon take you through the different aspects of quantum computing and why it is expected to be a massive hit.

Amazingly, most of the predictions from the past have turned out to be true. For instance, IBM predicted the rise of Computer Vision technology in 2012, where computers would be able to not only process images, but also understand their ‘features’.

It remains to be seen how true this year’s predictions will turn out to be. However, considering the rate at which the research on AI and other tech domains is progressing and being put to practical use, we won’t be surprised if they all become a reality soon. What do you think?

Data Science Enthusiast. A massive science fiction and Manchester United fan. Loves to read, write and listen to music.


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