infoTECH Feature

August 04, 2017

Big Data Predictions for the Next Five Years

Technology is currently more advanced than ever before. This sentiment will likely ring true every year for the foreseeable future, long past the lives of everyone who was around to see this article published. Computer programs and software can take on larger sets of data than in the past, using algorithmic formulas to reason out inferences and likely-true assumptions about human tendencies and actions from data sets. Such large swaths of data are referred to as "big data," the collective body of ultra-sized data sets reasonably processed with today's futuristic technology. Here are five bold – yet reasonable – predictions into where big data will take us in the next five calendar years.

Computer programs will detect, diagnose, and analyze mental health issues

Thanks to medicine's research and application, our life expectancies have skyrocketed in the past one hundred-odd years. In 1900, the average human lifespan was a measly 31 years. One-hundred-and-fourteen years later, in 2014, it had more than doubled to a grand total of 71.5 years. Being a worldwide average, some countries' inhabitants were expected to live considerably longer, including Japan's females estimated at enduring 87 long years on Earth!

Despite virtually mastering physical health, mental health is miserably underrepresented today. Even though our generation is highly progressive, mental health treatment faces many stigmas, an unhealthy chunk of insurance plans don't cover mental health services, and government programs generally lack sufficient funding. However, IBM (News - Alert) scientists are currently developing programs using live audio inputs to recognize and diagnose neurological disorders like schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder.

This technology will be made available by researching the speech patterns and intricacies of those afflicted by mental health issues. Recording thousands of speech samples and programming computers to detect them is one of the near future's many utilizations of big data.

Harmful particulates in our atmosphere will be speedily identified

Planet Earth is now experiencing an all-time high of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Excess carbon dioxide is bad because it warms up the atmosphere, causing oceans to rise and habitats to rapidly self-destruct, among a wealth of other detrimental outcomes. Mother Nature is experiencing high levels of methane as well; methane is a harmful gas when it too heavily populates the atmosphere, like it does today.

Gas spectrometers using tiny silicon chips will be attached to natural gas pipelines, of which much of the methane that escapes into the atmosphere leaks from. Currently, leaks are difficult to find, taking weeks in many cases. With systems of these small-scale spectrometers spread out along natural gas pipelines, less methane will escape into the atmosphere because leaks will be repaired promptly.

Precursors to deadly diseases will be detected as easily as diabetics check blood sugar

Some diseases and disorders can be mitigated or cured entirely if caught at early stages. Medical technology will soon yield tiny silicon chips, similar to those in computers, that warn people of when biomarkers associated with various diseases are found. Healthcare professionals will be able to extract medical insurance data, presence of biomarkers, and vital signs by simply reading silicon chips' information. Using research from countless people affected by such diseases, big data will help us live safer lives.

More types of light will become visible to humans

We often think of light as that from the sun, light bulbs, and fire. However, these are just visible lights from the electromagnetic spectrum, of which we can only see about 0.1 percent. In coming years, instruments are slated to detect new forms of light on the electromagnetic spectrum never seen before. Through analyzing countless phenomena, food, and drugs, these lights will be able to assess various characteristics of objects and occurrences.

Using household data to understand life better

The Internet of Things involves tons of data output. By analyzing these troves of now-unusable data, researchers will be able to link information from seemingly-unrelated places, sources, and activities to learn more about how life works. Through big data, people can look at facts such as: whether you are a renter or homeowner, where you like to shop, or what foods you eat. This will all help people better understand your household and make things more personalized and simpler for you.

Technology has obviously advanced rapidly in past years. However, not many people – except for the Jetsons family of the 1960s TV series – felt we could reliably carry out tasks we do today. Big data has unarguably helped us learn things about life, human behavior, and activities. Complex computer programs relying on algorithms and complex formulas to sort through data are entirely to credit for the above innovations that are likely to surface in the next five years and even further in the future.


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