Here is what my vision for robotics by 2030:
Robots would be all-pervading. In every office, every home, every store — just as computers are today. They would complement humans in a lot of tasks just as the PCs in your lap do.
They would be able to provide companionship to senior citizens living alone. They would remind them of their medicines, alert authorities if there is a burglary or medical emergency. They will also be very useful for entertainment purpose.
Kids will learn how to play in the physical world and not to some glowing liquid crystals because of robots.
They would be able to collect, organize, manage and recycle trash that is filling our landfills and water bodies. They would also be able to find and fix problems in sewage pipelines.
They would be first responders in disasters — whether it is a chemical factory explosion or flood or terrorist attack, they would be able to respond quickly, identify survivors and get them to medical help quickly.
They would be able to provide healthcare anywhere and everywhere. You just talk to the robot prowling your mall, it can do a few tests on you, talk to you about your problems and then connect you to the right experts.
There will be better security —especially for women. They could walk along with you and in public places look for signs of threat [facial recognition for potential offenders, looking omnidirectional mic to sense scream/struggle] and intervene quickly.
They would be able to provide much superior experience in your shopping. Rather than being confused on what to buy — reading through ever more complicated labels and proliferating SKUs — they would be able to know your requirements and help you buy things.
In offices, they would able to optimize real estate use and reduce our carbon footprint.
Robotics by 2030 will be omnipresent. So much that your kids would ask – daddy/granddaddy how did you live without robots? Were you that paranoid about robots?