July 28, 2015 08:22 UTC

Science & Technology

IBM Says Computers Will See, Taste, Smell, Touch and Hear Things Better in the Future

Read, listen and learn English with this story. Click on any word to see the definition in the Merriam-Webster Learner's Dictionary.

IBM 5-in-5
IBM 5-in-5

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report in Special English.
 
Every year, IBM Corporation chooses five new technologies it believes will change the world within the next five years. The IBM list is called “Five in Five.” The company says it considers its own research and the new directions of society and business when identifying the technologies.
 
This year, the list describes some future devices that will extend our five senses. Imagine looking for clothes online and touching your computer or smartphone to feel the cloth. IBM Vice President Bernie Meyerson predicts that technology could be available in the next five years.
 
“You’re talking about almost reinventing the way computers operate and how you interact with them as humans.”
 
Touch is just one of the senses that computers will help to extend. IBM says smart machines will soon be able to listen to the environment and give us information about the sounds they hear. For example, Bernie Meyerson says an advanced speech recognition system will tell new parents why their baby is crying.
 
“From the sound the baby is creating, that particular frequency in the voice of the child, you know the difference between a child for instance who is sick as opposed to a child who is just lonely. That kind of understanding would be great for parents. This kind of thing is not possible today, but with a sophisticated enough system, it actually is possible.”
                                                                               
Smart machines will also help identify medical conditions. If you sneeze on your computer or cell phone, the machine will study thousands of molecules in your breath. Then it can tell you whether you need to see a doctor.
 
“It can give you an alarm and say; ‘Hey, you may not feel sick yet, but you have an infection, which you must go see your doctor immediately.’”
 
In the near future, built-in cameras in our personal computers will be able to examine and name colors and recognize images. Mr. Meyerson says IBM scientists are also developing a computer system that can examine and combine food molecules to create the most popular flavors and smells.
 
“It’ll start to be able to recommend to you foods you’ll love the taste of, but it can also keep track of the caloric limits, whether you have limits on fat or cholesterol that you can eat. So it strikes this almost ideal balance between the best possible taste and the best possible nutritional outcome.”
 
Mark Maloof is a computer science professor at Georgetown University. He says he hopes the progress that IBM is predicting will lead more students to create future inventions.
 
“It’s going to be very exciting to see what young people do with the increased availability of mobile platforms and networking and computing power.”
 
Professor Maloof says advances in computer technology will make what now seems like science fiction a part of our everyday lives.
This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Learn with The News

  • Audio Another Sharp Drop on China’s Stock Exchanges

    China’s Shanghai Composite index dropped 8.5 percent on Monday: the largest single-day drop in eight years. The price drop comes after weeks of efforts by the government to support prices. One expert says these efforts will not work as some investors reduce their investment borrowings. More

  • Video Bus Brings Meals to Hungry Children

    In the United States, millions of students depend on schools for meals during the school day. That means they eat less when schools are closed over the summer. An aid group has found a way to reach out to some of these children with a former school bus. More

  • Video Cubans Look Forward to Using Internet

    Cubans still have a very limited access to the Internet. Many young people in Cuba use their mobile devices at government-operated community centers to get free Internet connections. Some Internet users are trying to build their own local networks to connect with others. More

  • Audio President Obama Urges More Open Ethiopia

    President Barack Obama has urged the government in Ethiopia to give more freedom to reporters and opposition political parties. The U.S. supports Turkey’s attacks on PKK rebels in Iraq. The Shanghai stock market index dropped sharply on Monday. Fighting continues despite truce in Yemen.. More

  • Video After Much Delay, Wildlife Park Opens in Jerusalem

    Activists fought for the park for almost 20 years against the wishes of developers who wanted to build businesses and homes on the land. The activists wanted to show how wildlife can live in cities. “Just leave some space for nature…and let people in so they can enjoy all this beauty.” | As It Is More

Featured Stories

  • 'You're Giving Me the Creeps!'

    "You're giving me the ...!" The jitters, the creeps, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, goose bumps, butterflies, and a heart attack ... you can give all these things to other people. Are they good or bad? Read on to find out! More

  • Audio Everyday Grammar: Can I, Could I, May I?

    English teachers and parents used to try very hard to get young people to use "may" when asking for permission. Now it seems that "can" or "could" works just as well. Learn about the rules for asking permission with these modals. More

  • Video The Devil and Tom Walker by Washington Irving

    In this classic American story, we learn about the hunt for a famous pirate's treasure and the greedy desire for wealth. One couple, Mr. and Mrs Tom Walker, learn the danger of making a deal with the devil. They want the treasure but learn there is a high price to pay. More

  • Audio TOEFL, IELTS, or TOEIC? Comparing the Tests

    When international students want to apply for schools or jobs, they must pass a standardized test of English as a Foreign Language. Learn about the differences and similarities between the tests. Hear from an international student who has taken them. More

  • Almonds are also high in calcium.

    Audio Eat Nuts to Stay Healthy

    Recently researchers in the Netherlands have found that you do not need to eat many nuts to get all the health benefits. Also, not all nuts have the same nutrients. This article features some of the more popular nuts in the American diet. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner
Confessions of an English Learner blog

Tell us About Our Programs