At its Think 2018 conference, IBM is making five technology predictions that it claims will have a big impact on the human lives in the next five years.
Researchers at IBM Labs will show world’s smallest computer till date. They are not kidding, it is indeed smaller than the size of a grain of salt. The technologies that are predicted to have a huge impact on business and society by the year 2023 include crypto-anchors with blockchain, AI-based robot microscopes, lattice cryptography, unbiased AI systems, and quantum computers in the real world.
- Cryptographic anchors
IBM claims that it is designing the computers smaller than the grain of salt, which will cost ten times lesser in manufacturing. These computers consist as many as one million transistors on them.
The global economy loses around $600 billion every year through fraud and counterfeiting. Goods pass through hands of numerous people from the time of their origin till they reach the end users. The process leaves goods open for tampering.
Blockchain technology is used for digital transactions, infusing trust and transparency into supply chains. However, blockchain alone can’t ensure authenticity of physical goods.
“The tiny computers will be used in tandem with blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to ensure an object’s authenticity from its point of origin to when it reaches the hands of the customer,” wrote Arvind Krishna, Head of IBM Research. “These technologies pave the way for new solutions that tackle food safety, authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods.”
- Lattice cryptography
A new security method called lattice cryptography will be used to hide the information inside lattices. These lattices will be complex algebraic structures (math problems) which cannot be solved without a key, even by universal fault-tolerant quantum computers.
Lattice cryptography will be also used for developing Fully Homomorphic Encryption (FHE), another encryption technology.
Generally, the encryption technology protects data during transit, but the hackers can still view or steal it at the time of decryption. The FHE will enable users to perform actions on a file without decrypting it.
For example, the physicians will be able to share medical records of patients with specialists, labs and genomic researchers in such a way that they can access the data without revealing the identity of the patient.
- Autonomous AI microscopes
IBM is building autonomous 3D microscopes using artificial intelligence technology to analyze the behavior of plankton (natural, biological sensors of aquatic health). These microscopes have no lens and work using an imager chip. The movement of planktons is tracked in three dimensions when they swim over the chip.
This technology will be helpful in finding any abnormalities in real-time in large water bodies like seas, oceans, etc. “This could help in situations like oil spills and runoff from land-based pollution sources, and to predict threats such as red tides.”
- Unbiased artificial intelligence
Researchers from IBM Watson Lab defined and classified over 180 human biases. These biases can affect the way AI systems work.
IBM is working to develop a system that can be trained with data that is free of gender, racial or ideological biases. The new system will reduce the biasing in AI systems.
It is essential to identify and mitigate the biasing in AI systems to build trust between humans and machines.
- Quantum computing to become mainstream
The generally used classical computers have enabled incredible things for everyone. But there are certain problems like large-scale optimization and chemistry simulation, which can’t be solved by the classical computers.
The quantum computers have been developed to solve these problems. IBM’s quantum computer has already been able to simulate atomic bonding in beryllium hydride (BeH2), which is the most complex molecule simulated by a quantum computer.
But these computers are limited to labs, with concepts and vocabulary foreign to everyone, other than scientific community. In next five years, the quantum computers will become common to professionals, developers, and students to create the future of computing.
IBM makes the ‘5 in 5’ technology predictions every year. IBM researchers will talk more about these technologies at Science Slam held at Think 2018 event in Las Vegas.