What does the future hold? Ask IBM

Five years is a long time in the tech world. This is why so many look forward each year to IBM's forecasts on where technology will be in the next five years. Forbes columnist Greg Satell recently wrote a column looking at IBM's latest five-year predictions. What did he find? Some pretty interesting stuff.

Classrooms get savvier

It's made headlines: U.S. school children have fallen behind their peers in a lot of the rest of the world, especially when it comes to math and science. What can we do about it? IBM predicts that teachers will have access to more technology, and they'll be able to use this tech to reach a greater number of their students. This would be welcome. As Satell writes, while many U.S. students flourish in our educational system, way too many others don't. Tech could help change this.

High-tech retailers

IBM predicts, too, that technology will dramatically transform retailers. How big of a change? IBM predicts that one day soon we'll walk into a store and have our smartphones automatically search the retailer's inventory for the exact shoe or coat we want. You can then use your smartphone to send a message to a salesperson that will deliver you your items. Pretty cool, isn't it?

High-tech medicine

What's the biggest problem with medicine today? Satell writes that medications impact people in different ways. What's perfectly safe and effective for one patient may cause serious side effects in another. IBM, though, predicts that within five years, doctors are going to be able to sequence the DNA of individual patients. They can then access a cloud-based center of research and clinical studies to find the best possible medication for each patient.

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