Every year IBM announces “5 in 5” technology predictions which will be important to the world within 5 years. This year IBM researchers reviewed them at at IBM Think 2019 on 2/13/2019. The presenters were:
- Geraud Dubois, DGM Science to Solutions, IBM Research – Almaden
- Arvind Krishna, SVP, Cloud and Cognitive Software, IBM
- Jeannette M. Garcia, Global Lead for Quantam Applications in Quantum Chemestry & Science
- Donna N. Dillenberger, IBM Fellow, Enterprise Solutions
- Juliet Mutahi, Software Engineer IBM Research Africa
- Sriram Raghavan, VP IBM Research-India @ Singapore, CTO IBM India, IBM Research
Summary and background
This year’s 5 in 5 focuses on food. The world’s food supply faces dire problems.
- The population is growing fast and the farming footprint is getting smaller. The food supply must be sustained and increased.
- Climate events such as droughts, fires, floods etc affect the food supply chain in many ways.
- 45% of all food goes to waste today. The USA alone wastes 150 tons per day.
Melissa King, Top Chef Finalist, introduced the five IBM reseachers. The predictions follow:
Digital technologies in agriculture will contribute to feeding a growing population using fewer resources
- Farming’s digital doubles will help feed a growing population using less resources. This is essentially a virtual model allowing farmers to socialize, share and act on data.
- Farmers band together to form cooperatives to share information today but technology can make that instantaneous and on a global scale.
- IoT can and will provide predictive fleet maintenance.
- Sensors on tractors can digitize a farm.
- AI can analyze information from farm and crop data across the planet.
- Example: a digital card is available that can analyze soil composition and then a mobile app reads the card and analyzes results.
- AI can track and predict yields.
- Technology ultimately helps farmers make better decisions.
Amplify Your Value With Custom Product Development
The world has changed, with digital presenting unprecedented opportunities for new revenue streams for companies across industries. How you can take advantage of and exploit your unique offerings to your competitive advantage by exploring custom development?
Blockchain will prevent more food from going to waste
- 1/3 of all food and half of fruit and vegetables go to waste.
- 150 billion oranges are wasted every year.
- This isn’t just food waste: it wastes water, energy, land, effort etc.
- This happens because supply chain is complex and chaotic.
- Blockchain, IoT and AI within 5 years will drastically reduce food waste.
- Blockchain – it visibility to distribution.
- I0T will track the food.
- AI will optimize food distribution and increase freshness.
- Example – Orange distributor in Florida
- Today, mostly guesswork on quantity, amount and time of a shipment are used to determine what to send.
- For example, what if oranges are flying off the shelves in Atlanta but not Chicago. By the time this is known, it is too late to route shipments.
- Blockchain can securely share distribution data points.
- IoT can capture data everywhere, e.g. weather, traffic, consumption etc.
- AI makes intelligent decisions.
- Sending the right food to the right place at the right time is the key to reducing waste.
Mapping the microbiome will protect us from bad bacteria
- 2008 more than 50,000 babies in china were infected with an infant formula contaminated with Metaline .
- Microbes are everywhere – the human body has as many microbes as cells. Some are good and some are bad.
- Food-borne illnesses cost $9 billion in medical expenses and $75 billion in food loss each year.
- Many microbes are good.
- Microbes can be mapped with DNA and RNA sequencing and analyzed for changes
- Sudden changes are signs of a problem
- Big data is important to it.
- Created a database containing all microbiomes the world produced in the last 10 years.
- Team has generated 500 terabytes of data.
- This technology can detect outbreaks before they happen through data, AI and analytics
AI sensors will detect foodborne pathogens at home
Donna N Dillenberger
- In 2018 food made 76 million people sick from food and killed 5,000.
- What if there were a technology that could scan food and tell if it is ok?
- IBM Verifier
- It is an optical device connected to a phone that captures wavelengths at the micron level such as detecting bacteria.
- AI software can take the data and determine what is safe.
- It can also detect counterfeit food products.
- It can also authenticate drugs, labels, food, wines, oils, etc.
- The Verifier can be attached to other things such as cutting boards, containers cutlery, cooking utensils etc.
- It could be in trucks shipping food, conveyor belts moving food and in supermarket isles.
- Today it takes 2 days or more to test food. Within 5 years testing for pathogens will take seconds instead of days.
A radical new recycling process will breathe new life into old plastic
Jeanette M. Garcia
- The US recycles less than 10% of plastic waste.
- We have produced over 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic.
- 1/2 of all manufactured plastics wind up trash.
- Projections that by 2050 predict the ocean will contain more plastic than fish.
- IBM just announced a breakthrough called VolCat
- Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is the core product in virtually every plastic.
- PET can be 100% recyclable using a process called VolCat(volatile Catalyst)
- The Volcat process can extract the PET from plastics and use it to remake the same material or something completely different.
- Cleaning plastics prior to the VolCat process is not needed because of filtering.
- Breakthroughs like VolCat will create a true plastic circular technology.
IBM has published the full predictions here.