Sooner or later attempts will be made to design systems capable of dealing with a steady flow of sensor data and messages, where actions have to be selected on the basis of multiple, not necessarily consistent, motives, and where new information may require substantial re-evaluation of plans and strategies, including suspension of current actions. Where the world is not always friendly, and events move quickly, decisions will often have to be made which are time-critical. The requirements for this sort of system are not clear, but it is clear that they will require global architectures very different from present expert systems or even most AI programs. This paper attempts to analyse some of the requirements, especially the role of macroscopic parallelism and the implications of interrupts. It is assumed that the problems of designing various components of such a system will be solved, e.g. visual perception, memory, inference, planning, language understanding, plan execution, etc. This paper is about some of the problems of putting them together, especially perception, decision-making, planning and plan-execution systems.
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