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Five years is a very long time in the tech world. That’s why so many look forward every year to IBM’s predictions on where technology is going the next five years. Forbes columnist Greg Satell recently wrote a column looking at IBM’s latest five-year predictions. What’d he discover? Some pretty interesting stuff.

Schools get smarter

It’s a problem: U.S. school children are slipping behind their global peers, especially in the important areas of math and science. IBM, though, sees a solution: tech-savvy classrooms. As Satell writes, IBM predicts that teachers will become more skilled in their use of classroom technology to reach a larger number of their students. Today, even though many students receive an excellent education, way to many others are left behind. IBM predicts that technology will change this.

Retailers get smarter

Online shopping is blossoming. But IBM predicts even more impressive retail technology over the next five years. According to Satell’s column, the tech giant says that retailers will make use of tech to send information directly to your smartphone regarding the products you want. If you want a new pair of boots, your favorite retailer can tell your smartphone exactly what products in your shoe size are in stock. Then you can send a message to the sales staff conveying what boots you would like to take a look at.

Medicine gets smarter

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

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