@Technocrati, I've worked in and around heavy industry just enough to think about problems with sticking people into dangerous situations. But there are many more much less hazardous situations that will benefit from embedded intelligence.
At CES, for example, I saw a great underwater drone. When I think about the possibilities of getting low-cost, long-duration views of what's going on inside our rivers, lakes, and estuaries, it just thrills me no end. I also think we're on the verge of finally seeing some of the benefits of intelligent buildings that we've been talking about for years.
And I'm enough of an optimist to think that we're going to see some really interesting ways for people to interact with one another -- including ways to help make face-to-face interaction richer and easier -- so that some of the "digital loneliness" will start to go away.
I know that there are downsides to some of the digital applications but I'm silly enough to think that the positives are going to outweigh the negatives by a fair margin.