IBM unveils a computer as small as a grain of salt and other 4 tech trends to change the world

Eva González , 20 marzo, 2018

IBM unveiled last week the annual ‘5 in 5″, a list of ground-breaking scientific innovations with the potential to change the way people work, live, and interact during the next five years. This year’s predictions span the most talked about areas of tech: AI, quantum computing, blockchain and cybersecurity.

Among the projects developed by the company that will change the world in no more than 5 years, today the tech giant unveiled the smallest computer in the world. It is called and is as tiny as a grain of salt and will presented at IBM’s Thinks 2018, the summit that the multinational organises every year.

The smallest computer in the world will cost less than ten cents to manufacture and can monitor, analyze, communicate, and even act on data, despite its processing cappability is also very short, just like that of a 1990 chip x86. It packs several hundred thousand transistors into a footprint barely visible to the human eye and is scalable. It can be added to connected devices and objects to enhance IOT cappabilities or to a motherboard to increase other chips’ processing power. Still under development, the smallest computer in the world is still not being launched to the market.

“This year’s 5 in 5 is far more than a showcase of groundbreaking innovation. It is a reaffirmation of technology’s role as a force for good in a world that desperately needs it. Society’s ability to overcome intractable challenges and unprecedented threats depends on steady advancements in technologies like AI, blockchain, lattice cryptography and quantum computing, all of which IBM Research has invested in heavily. We have our scientists to thank for making this essential progress possible and for giving us powerful systems we can trust that enable us to look with renewed hope to the future,” Arvind Krishna (Head of IBM Research) underscores in his post.

Find here below a summary of Krishna’s post:

© IBM.

1.- Crypto-anchors and blockchain will unite against counterfeiters

Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors, such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt, will be embedded in everyday objects and devices. They’ll 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. These tech opens a new horizon for new solutions that tackle food safety, authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods.

2.- Lattice cryptography, against hacking

IBM researchers have already developed a post-quantum encryption method, which we’ve voluntarily submitted to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), called lattice cryptography. No computer can crack it, not even future quantum computers. With lattice cryptography we can work on a file, or encrypt it, without ever exposing sensitive data to hackers.

3.- AI-powered robot microscopes to save oceans

IBM scientists are working on an approach that uses plankton, which are natural, biological sensors of aquatic health. AI microscopes can be placed in bodies of water to track plankton movement in 3D, in their natural environment, and use this information to predict their behavior and health. This could help in situations like oil spills and runoff from land-based pollution sources, and to predict threats such as red tides.

4.- Only the unbiased AI will survive

IBM researchers developed a method to reduce the bias that may be present in a training dataset, such that any AI algorithm that later learns from that dataset will perpetuate as little inequity as possible. IBM scientists also devised a way to test AI systems even when the training data is not available.

5.- Quantum computing will be mainstream in five years

In five years, quantum computing will be used extensively by new categories of professionals and developers to solve problems once considered unsolvable. Quantum will be ubiquitous in university classrooms, and will even be available, to some degree, at the high school level. IBM Researchers are already achieving major quantum chemistry milestones. They successfully simulated atomic bonding in beryllium hydride (BeH2), the most complex molecule ever simulated by a quantum computer. In the future, quantum computers will continue to address problems with ever increasing complexity, eventually catching up to and surpassing what we can do with classical machines alone.

Image over the headline.- IBM micro computer is as small as a grain of salt. © IBM.

Related eastwind links:

IBM ‘5 in 5″ 2018 list (the video)

Related external links:

IBM ‘5 in 5″ 2018 list

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