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What's a Research Roadmap For?
Why do we need one?
How can we avoid the usual trap of making bold promises to do X, Y and Z,
then hope that our previous promises will not be remembered the next time we apply for funds to do X, Y and Z?
How can we produce a sensible, well informed roadmap?
Originally presented at the euCognition Research Roadmap discussion in Munich on 12 Jan 2007
This suggests a way to avoid tempting dead ends (repeating old promises that proved unrealistic) by examining many long term goals, including describing existing human and animal competences not yet achieved by robots, then working backwards systematically by investigating requirements for those competences, and requirements for meeting those requirements, etc. Insread of generating a single linear roadmap this should produce a partially ordered network of intermediate targets, leading back, to short term goals that may be achievable starting from where we are.
Such a roadmap will inevitably have mistakes: over-optimistic goals, missing preconditions, unrecognised opportunities. But if the work is done in many teams in a fully open manner with as much collaboration as possible, it should be possible to make faster, deeper, progress than can be achieved by brain-storming discussions of where we can get in a few years.