This article [10 page PDF - web-based version here] is by Gill Pratt, until recently responsible for the DARPA Robotics Challenge. Pratt starts by explaining why a "cambrian explosion" in the pace of development is on the way, highlighting eight technical drivers that are at work:
- Exponential growth in computing performance
- Improvements in electromechanical design tools and numerically controlled manufacturing tools
- Improvements in electrical energy storage
- Improvements in electronics power efficiency
- Exponential expansion of the availability and performance of local wireless digital communications
- Exponential growth in the scale and performance of the Internet
- Exponential growth of worldwide data storage
- Exponential growth in global computation power
He goes on to summarise four "big ideas" that between then represent "Cloud Robotics":
- Memory-based Autonomy
- High-Speed Sharing of Experiences
- Learning from Imagination
- Learning from People
The article concludes with a speculation - with echoes of ideas advanced by Paul Mason in Post Capitalism: A Guide to Our Future - about the implications (of the explosion) for the economy and the workforce.
Pretty it ain't.