IBM predicts that withing five years the world will see the rise of cognitive systems -- computers that can experience the world through the five senses.


Today's PCs and smartphones can do a lot — from telling you the weather in Zimbabwe in milliseconds, to buying your morning coffee. But ask them to show you what a piece of fabric feels like, or to detect the odor of a great-smelling soup, and they're lost.

That will change in the next five years, says IBM. Computers at that time will be much more aware of the world around them, and be able to understand it. The company's annual "5 in 5" list, in which IBM predicts the five trends in computing that will arrive in five years' time, reads exactly like a list of the five human senses — predicting computers with sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch.

The five senses are really all part of one grand concept: cognitive computing, which involves machines experiencing the world more like a human would. For example, a cognizant computer wouldn't see a painting as merely a set of data points describing color, pigment and brush stroke; rather, it would truly see the object holistically as a painting, and be able to know what that means.

Via LeapMind, Annette Schonborn, Sigalon