The Helpful Environment: distributed agents and services which cooperate
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Imagine a future environment where networks of agents - people, robots and software agents - interact with sophisticated sensor grids and environmental actuators to provide advice, protection and aid. The systems will be integral to clothing, communications devices, vehicles, transportation systems, buildings, and pervasive in the environment. Vehicles and buildings could assist both their occupants and those around them. Systems would adapt and respond to emergencies whether communication were possible or not. Where feasible, local help would be used, with appropriate calls on shared services facilitated whenever this is both possible and necessary. Through this framework requests for assistance could be validated and brokered to available and appropriate services in a highly distributed fashion. Services would be provided to individuals or communities through this network to add value and give all sorts of assistance beyond emergency response aspects. In emergency situations, the local infrastructure would be augmented by the facilities of the responder teams at any level from local police, ambulance and fire response, all the way up to international response. An emergency zone’s own infrastructure could be augmented when necessary by laying down temporary low cost sensor grids and placing specialized devices and robotic responders into the disaster area. These would form the basis for a distributed, adaptable, and resilient “helpful environment” for every individual and organisation at personal, family, business, regional, national and international levels.