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By 2018, computers will touch, see, hear, taste and smell

In its annual '5 in 5' predictions, IBM forecasted that in five years, computers will gain the five senses and be able to experience the world as humans do.

See

gallery ibm 5 senses see

Today's computers are very good at capturing and displaying images, but despite advances in image recognition software, computers are still pretty lousy at understanding what they're "looking" at. Humans are still needed to tag friends, label photos and identify diseases.

In five years, all that will change, IBM says. Computers will be able to interpret images better than we can, analyzing colors, texture patterns and gaining insights from other visual media. They will even surpass doctors' abilities to read medical imagery, including MRIs, CT scans, X-Rays and ultrasounds.

Computers of the not-too-distant future will be able to see subtleties in images that can be invisible to the human eye. For instance, computers will be able to quickly differentiate healthy from diseased tissue on an MRI and cross-reference the image with a patient's medical history and scientific literature to make a diagnosis.

- Last updated December 17 2012 09:11 AM ET