Mind Reading a Reality in Five Years, IBM Says

Paul Lilly

Within five years, IBM believes we'll begin to see early applications of mind reading technology that up to now have been little more than science fiction fantasies. The geeks in blue are, at this very moment, researching ways to link your brain to electronic devices so, for example, you could simply think about calling someone on your smartphone and it would happen. And looking longer term, IBM believes brain control will take over manual typing.

Mind reading is just one of five bold predictions IBM announced this morning as part of its "5 in5" initiative, an annual forecast of future innovations. The others include:

As far fetched as some of these sound, IBM has been issuing 5 in 5 predictions for the past six years and has been doing "pretty well" up to this point, IBM says. Two that were made in the first year and have pretty much come true are:

  • We will be able to access healthcare remotely from just about anywhere in the world
  • Technologies the size of a few atoms will address areas of environmental importance

Others predictions have partially panned out, such as:

  • You will have a crystal ball for your health
  • You will talk to the Web...and the Web will talk back

Predicting future technologies is no easy task, and while mind reading might sound particularly far fetched, we've already seen some related consumer applications, like OCZ's Neural Impulse Actuator, a device that translates electrical biosignals of your body directly into computer commands.

Do you think any of IBM's 5 in 5 predictions will pan out?

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