Monday, December 24, 2007

"IBM Next Five in Five"

IBM has revealed 5 ways in which our lives are going to change in the next 5 years:
  1. It will be easy for you to be green and save money doing it.
  2. The way you drive will be completely different.
  3. You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat.
  4. Your cell phone will be your wallet, your ticket broker, your concierge, your bank, your shopping buddy, and more.
  5. Doctors will get enhanced “super-senses” to better diagnose and treat you.
Click here for more details on each of these.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy any of these. Maybe a little of #1, a miniscule amount of #2, none of #3, perhaps some of #4, and none of #5.

Especially #3:
You are what you eat, so you will know what you eat: We've all heard the saying 'you are what you eat', but with foods being sourced across international borders, the need to 'know exactly what you eat' has never been so important. In the next five years, new technology systems will enable you to know the exact source and make-up of the products you buy and consume. Advancements in computer software and wireless radio sensor technologies will give you access to much more detailed information about the food you are buying and eating. You will know everything from the climate and soil the food was grown in, to the pesticides and pollution it was exposed to, to the energy consumed to create the product, to the temperature and air quality of the shipping containers it traveled through on the way to your dinner table. Advanced sensor and tracing systems will tell you what you eat, before you eat it.
This would all very very nice, and probably even possible in 5 years in an enlightened world. But our government and corporate overlords will never allow it. The won't even let us know if our food is genetically modified, or if our milk contains rBST. You think they're going to let you see what all pesticides have been dumped on your food? No way. Agribusiness and the FDA will say that pesticide-laden foods are "substantially equivalent" to organic foods, like they do with GM foods now, and say there's no need to label them. Same will go with food from China -- you think they want you to know where every stalk of celery comes from? -- and other countries will balk as well. This prediction just isn't going to happen.

Five years ago was 2002. What really has changed since then? Some Web 2.0 technology, a little cell phone technology. Not much more. Facebook hasn't rocked the world by any means.

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