"Robot renaissance map"

The Institute For The Future (IFTF) has just released an interesting map [PDF] of signals and forecasts about robotics:

"After decades of hype, false starts, and few successes, smart machines are finally ready for prime time. (...) This map, and the associated series of written perspectives, are tools to help navigate the coming changes. As we scanned across ten application domains, seven big forecasts emerged. In the process, we also identified three key areas of impact where the robot renaissance will change our lives over the next decade.

In each domain we focus on three levels of impacts: (1) Robots helping humans understand ourselves (2) Robots augment human abilities (3) Robots automate human tasks"

Why do I blog this? Both because I am working on a project about robotics and due to my interest in how technologies fail and re-appear on a regular basis. I am not sure about the term "renaissance" and do not necessarily agree with some of the trends but there are some interesting aspects in this anyway. Above all, what I am interested in here is:

  • The variation in terms of shape/forms and what is considered here as a "robot",
  • The assumpttions made about humans needs and desires,
  • The mix between engineering projects, quotes from sci-fi movies and pictures,
  • The rhetorical tricks (present tense, "from XXX to XXX", "Rise", "Every machine", "self-manage".