15 Retrospect and Prospect

Computation is the fire in our modern-day caves. By 2056, the computational revolution will be recognised as a transformation as significant as the industrial revolution. The evolution and widespread diffusion of computation and its analytical fruits will have major impacts on socioeconomics, science and culture.

- Eric [Horvitz (2006)]

In this chapter, we stand back and give a big-picture view of what we have covered. By placing many of the representation schemes in the design space we introduced earlier, the relationships among the representations become more apparent. This allows us to see where the frontier of AI research now lies and to get a sense of the evolution of the field. We also consider some of the many social and ethical consequences that have arisen from the development and application of intelligent computational agents. As Horvitz points out in the quote above, computation is changing the world; we must be aware of its positive and negative impacts.