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IBM predicts: Goodbye password, hello digital guardian

By 2018, people could be bidding goodbye to passwords as they will have so-called digital guardians protecting their identities online.
The concept of a digital assistant is one of the innovations that IBM predicts will potentially change people's lives in the next five years.
"In five years, each of us could be protected with our own digital guardian that will become trained to focus on the people and items it is entrusted with, offering a new level of identity theft protection. Security will assimilate contextual, situational and historical data to verify a person’s identity on different devices," it said.
A digital guardian can also be trained to tell the difference between "normal or reasonable activity" and advise the owner if it senses something unusual.
“We know more now than any other generation at any time has known. And yet, we struggle to keep up with this flood of increasingly complex information, let alone make sense of the meaning that is inherent in the massive amounts of data we are acquiring at ever faster rates,” said Dr. Dario Gil, director of IBM's Cognitive Experience Lab.
Gil said creating technology that is explicitly designed to learn and enhance our cognition will "usher in a new era of progress for both individuals and for society at large.”
Presently, IBM said security is "highly fragmented," given the multiple IDs and devices people presently have.
In 2012, it said there were more than 12 million victims of identity fraud in the United States alone.
"Traditional approaches to security —  passwords, anti-virus or a firewall - are not comprehensive. These rules-based approaches fall short in several ways – they are designed to recognize only known viruses or known fraudulent activity and typically only look at a single source of data," IBM said.
Machine learning
IBM also said its scientists are using machine learning technologies to understand the behavior of mobile devices on a network to assess potential risk.
Thus, it said security in the future "is going to become more agile and contextual with a 360 degree of data, devices and applications, ready to spot deviations that could be precursors to an attack and a stolen identity."
Medicine, education
Another innovation in the next five years involves cloud-based cognitive computers routinely helping doctors use DNA data to provide "effective, tailored oncology treatments."
"The advanced systems will cull through medical literature, clinical records and genomic information to present a set of medications shown to best attack the individual patient's cancer cells, making personalized medicine available at a scale and speed never before possible," IBM said.
"These systems are destined to get even smarter over time by learning about people, their genomic information and response to drugs – opening up the possibility to provide DNA-specific personalized treatment options for conditions such as stroke and heart disease.  Through the cloud, smarter healthcare could scale to reach more people in more locations, while also giving a global community of healthcare providers access to vital information," it added.
Still another trend is in education, where a student "could go through their entire stages of education and master the skills critical to meeting their personal goals in life."
"In the next five years the classroom will learn about each student using longitudinal data such as test scores, attendance and student’s behavior on e-learning platforms, not just aptitude tests," IBM said.
Also, it said sophisticated analytics delivered over the cloud will provide decision support to teachers so they can predict students who are most at risk, their roadblocks, and then suggest appropriate measures.
Buying local
While many people have turned to online shopping, physical stores can take advantage of new innovations to bring back buyers to physical stores, IBM predicted.
"Savvy retailers will use the immediacy of the store and proximity to customers to create experiences that cannot be replicated by online-only retail.  They will magnify the digital experience by bringing the web right to where the shopper can physically touch it," it said.
"As mobile devices supported by cloud computing enable individuals to share what makes them tick, their health or nutritional needs, virtual closets and social networks, retailers will soon be able to anticipate with incredible accuracy the products a shopper most wants and needs. As a result, stores will transform into immersive destinations with experiences customized for each individual," it added.
Smart cities
Meanwhile, IBM said smarter cities will by the next five years understand in real time "what people need, what they like, what they do, and how they move from place to place."
"Soon it will be possible for cities and their leaders to understand and digest new information freely provided by citizens, knowing which city resources are needed, where and when, so the city can dynamically optimize around the needs of the citizens," the tech giant said.
IBM also said mobile devices and social engagement will let citizens strike up a relationship with their city leaders.
This early, the concept is in motion in Brazil, where IBM researchers are working on a crowdsourcing tool that allows users to report accessibility problems via mobile phones.
Such a mechanism aims to help people with disabilities better navigate challenges in urban streets, it said.
In Uganda, IBM said it is working with UNICEF on a social engagement tool that lets youth communicate with their government and community leaders on issues affecting their lives.
"These types of tools will become commonplace in helping city leaders identify trending concerns or urgent matters and immediately take action where needed," it said. — ELR, GMA News