Is a Smarter Home Really so Good?
I have to admit it, things are getting smarter.
Manufacturers are planting chips into every possible product. There are smart TVs, smart fridge, smart curtains, smart switches… You name it, I bet you can at least find something on the internet.
However, are they the real future we want? The tech industry today seems like running out of ideas and becoming more conservative. Sure, I understand, at a difficult time like today, people are getting more pessimistic about the future. Then hot money became reluctant when looking at innovative products. They favor things that had proven performance in the past so they can gain stable income.
Is it so? Is this how we, the entire mankind, should imagine our future homes as a place where every item is chipped? It does feel good if your room complies with every command you give.
Ok, now imagine this.
Before your feet land on your floor, the lock senses your presence and unlocks automatically. Then, take off your shoes (or not) and step into your room. The curtain opens automatically, and the air conditioner starts working at your best comfort.
The floor is as clean as ever because the robot vacuum takes off the dust when you get out. With a few movements of your lips, the coffee maker starts to make the best coffee for you. When the coffee bean container is empty, the maker directly makes an order online via credit card. Sit in front of your sofa, the sofa gives you a deep massage when your skin touches it. The Tv is also triggered, playing the best film according to your preference and data.
Sounds good, yea?
Everything served you just so right, and none of them requires your action.
What is stated above is viable at the stage of tech we have today. For example, the auto-door lock can use face recognition. If you don’t like the idea of face recognition, you can try things like NFC and WiFi keys that are pre-programmed in your phone. If we implement the coffee machine with a Chip and AI, it can adjust all parameters like time, water flow, temperature, and even the type of coffee beans. All you need is to tell the AI your feelings every time. Auto-massage sofa that triggers the Smart TV is even easier. With a simple load cell, all can be achieved. Or a more flexible option would be the smart central control using image recognition to find you are sitting on the sofa, and do the rest.
Everything seemed so right, and achievable, except you. Make the house run to serve you alone, and then you become the supplier of power and resources to make them serve you. Sounds like a medieval Monarchy, but replacing all servants into robots.
Does this sound right? Yea, but… Nah.
Not quite right, your track and proof of existence seemed to be arranged by the AI. Your identity has almost been wiped out from your home and becomes nothing more than a pile of data.
Even if they can work in their best possible ways, being so intelligent tears down all the fun in our daily life. Making anything at home is just supplementary to who we are outside. We aren’t machines waiting to be refilled by comfort and entertainment.
However, the question here is not how good a smart home is. The problem we are now facing is the obsession with smart homes that fill every corner of home appliances.
Can we have something else?
Of course, we can, but if you step back and think for a while, the answer comes up blank. Even the internet isn’t so sure about your questions.
Have we lost imagination on how we should improve our home using technology? I believe the tech industry is better than this. Can we have flashy windows that show everything out of nowhere? Can we have an electromagnetic shelf that allows us to optimize our space? Or something simpler that can merge our room better with plants and nature.
Does tech change our lives? Of course, they do, but aren’t they supposed to be unexpected and groundbreaking? They should as well, now, they just don’t have the gut to challenge more as the iPhone did many years ago.