Mapping the co-evolution of artificial intelligence, robotics, and the internet of things over 20 years (1998-2017)

Understanding the emergence, co-evolution, and convergence of science and technology (S&T) areas offers competitive intelligence for researchers, managers, policy makers, and others. The resulting data-driven decision support helps set proper research and development (R&D) priorities; develop future S&T investment strategies; monitor key authors, organizations, or countries; perform effective research program assessment; and implement cutting-edge education/training efforts. This paper presents new funding, publication, and scholarly network metrics and visualizations that were validated via expert surveys. The metrics and visualizations exemplify the emergence and convergence of three areas of strategic interest: artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and internet of things (IoT) over the last 20 years (1998-2017). For 32,716 publications and 4,497 NSF awards, we identify their conceptual space (using the UCSD map of science), geospatial network, and co-evolution landscape. The findings demonstrate how the transition of knowledge (through cross-discipline publications and citations) and the emergence of new concepts (through term bursting) create a tangible potential for interdisciplinary research and new disciplines.

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