5 Technologies That will Change Our Lives in 5 Years


IBM (2018). THINK logo [Digital image]. IBM Think 2018, Las Vegas. Retrieved from https://www.ibm.com/events/think/

This year’s ‘IBM Think’ conference was all about change. Discussions revolved around the topics of making the world a better and safer place, the fair use of data, and the power of new technologies and of our minds.

Being at an event like this is like getting a sneak peek into the future. It was very inspiring to see how artificial intelligence (AI) can improve the world and the quality of our life rather than just using their abilities to increase sales or decrease costs. One of the main takeaways for me was that it’s worth thinking outside-of-the-box to discover different ways in which we can add value to our company, to our clients’ companies, and to our world.

As an IBM partner, it’s good for us to keep updated on what software and services they will be offering. This – in turn – allows us to offer our customers better, more innovative solutions. There is a lot we can learn from our partner. We ‘Optimize the World’ in many ways, but it could be smart to add a new target group to our portfolio. The way we use our technology mainly helps reduce CO2 footprint, while IBM focuses on bridging the diversity gap and increasing the quality of life.

In terms of changes coming to the data science world, I see quantum computers being a huge game-changer for optimization algorithms, and they are already quickly approaching commercialization. Through them, we’ll be able to solve problems currently unsolvable, and can – potentially – become great assets to our company.

IBM (2018). Think 2018 Chairman’s Address Putting Smart to Work – RBC [Digital image]. IBM Think 2018, Las Vegas. Retrieved from https://www.ibm.com/events/think/watch/

Here’s a quick briefing of the top 5 lecturers and their technologies

Andreas Kind has introduced us to the world of crypto-anchors. Most of us are familiar with blockchain, however having a digital trace is not enough to guarantee that items will not be counterfeit.

What if we could have a physical signature hidden in the item itself that can guarantee its authenticity? We’re not just talking about branded high-end fashion shirts and purses, but we’re talking about medicine, spare car parts or even food items. Blockchain alone cannot ensure authenticity of goods, and that’s why we’ll need to pair it with crypto-anchors.

Cecilia Boschini gave us a glance at the post-quantum cryptography. Cryptography is the art of keeping data safe. But how safe is our data exactly and what’s going to change in the upcoming years?

To crack current encryption would take hackers many years to achieve, but what would happen if the same hacker had access to a quantum computer? Well, encryption as we know it won’t be safe anymore.

To make sure our data stays safe in the future, IBM is working on lattice-based cryptography – a technique so complex that it would make cracking it impossible, even by a quantum computer.

Thomas Zimmerman talked about his latest invention, an AI-powered microscope that will be able to clean our oceans. Thomas is a brilliant inventor that really cares about the planet, when he realized how important plankton is for keeping our oceans clean and the oxygen in the air at good levels, he had to do something.

His creation will use neural networks to recognize different species of plankton and their behavior. Thanks to this microscope, scientists will have new instruments to study our oceans and increase the chances of saving the planet.

Francesca Rossi is developing a technique to remove bias from data sets. One of the major problems in today’s AI models is bias – the prejudice in favor or against something. Bias leads the AI models to behave unfairly.

The main reason for this bias, is that models are trained using data provided by humans, and humans are biased. For example, a facial recognition that is mainly trained on white men will have problems with people of color and women. IBM is working on a new technique to recognize and mitigate bias in the training sets. But we can go even further, we can build machines that can alert us when we’re behaving unfairly and can help us improve on ourselves from the inside-out.

Talia Gershon spoke about quantum computing, one of the big topics of this year’s conference. There are problems – such as hard optimization problems – so complex that they cannot be solved using traditional computers alone. Quantum computers can make it possible but it will require a shift of paradigm.

When companies stick to the traditional way of thinking, innovation dies. We need to embrace a new creative approach to allow teachers, scientists and IT professionals world-wide to experiment. A good place to start would be by testing-out the quantum computer that IBM has built, the ‘IBM Q Experience.’ It’s a platform that makes one of their five quantum computers available in the cloud. Let’s start changing the world, the 5-year countdown to building upon innovational-excellence begins right now!

If you would like to know more, please contact Erica D’Acunto, Senior Data Scientist at ORTEC Consulting, via Erica.dAcunto@ortec.com or via our website: www.ortec-consulting.com.

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Erica D'Acunto
Enthusiastic, structured and committed data scientist that has a long history with the development of algorithms. I have a passion for machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistics and algorithms. My current challenge is to use the experience I gained from working on the development of scientific software to approach a new challenge and focus on the designing of algorithms for analytics and big data.

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