Today: what we want in a household robot.
In another 10 years or so, we should begin seeing some true household robots of the multi-tasking variety that crudely imitate humans. Current advances in computing power, artificial intelligence, minitiaration and robotics should make it possible for us to have robots capable of doing at least some household chores.
So, what do we want in such a robot? A robot that could clean up after a meal--now that would be worth paying for. Of course, that would require a robot that could clean dishes, throw away trash, put leftovers away, and wipe up after everyone's done. A robot that could do that could probably do just about everything in the house.
Doing laundry would be another nice function to have (including folding and putting away the clothes). (And finding all those missing socks!)
Vacuuming. Mowing the lawn. (Yes, there are currently robots that sort of do both; but we want a robot that will get those robots out and put them away when they're done.) Cleaning the bathroom.
A really useful function would be for our household robot to scan every item in the house, remember where it is, and retrieve it when needed. ("Robot, can you get me the plyers and find the TV remote?")
Maybe the robot could do some rudimentary cooking as well. And be a handyman. Rake leaves. Feed the cat! Trim hedges.
And do paperwork--keep track of bills and all that!
In other words, our robot is going to function like an entire staff in a mansion. (Hey, why not--it can work 24/7.)
We imagine that robots in this class are going to be expensive. But that's ok. We'd certainly pay the equivalent of what a luxury car costs today for a truly versatile robot of the future. And, like a car, we'd probably get an upgrade every few years.
Who knows, in 10 years we may be Facebook friends with our robots!
Next up (when we get time), we'll explore the more distant future--around 2040 or so, when things may get really interesting.