If you’re not familiar with the smart home, it’s, in essence, the concept of a home that can be centrally controlled and that can pretty much run itself. This means that there are all sorts of nifty gadgets coming out (check a few of the best for 2018 out here). What all of these gadgets really are is simply a 21st Century version of an old-fashioned housekeeper: they take all the stress out of living by dealing with all the administrative side of things, letting you just get on with living your life.
Unlike the old-fashioned housekeeper though, these gadgets don’t take up much space and certainly don’t need a room of their own in which to rest their weary bones! In fact, on the contrary, these gadgets are proving to be excellent space-savers. This means there’s more room for the things that actually matter in the home such as beautiful beds and sofas. In fact, the super king size bed is now becoming a real possibility for many, and classic furniture such as the chaise long is coming back in fashion too.
This seems a very positive development, and it’s interesting to think about what might be coming in the next few years too. Fingerprint lock technology is becoming more prevalent, making its way into schools, offices and a few homes. Could we all then be dispensing with the humble house key soon? It’s not exactly the nicest thing in the world to carry a huge bunch of keys around with you or to have spikey little metal objects digging into your leg wherever you go, so this would certainly be welcome. Of course, it would take some time to adjust to and to trust- the thought that your entire home is not safely held behind a conventionally locked door isn’t likely to be too pleasant initially, but in time it would surely become natural.
Now, one point of caution here is that handing over too much control to the technology could go badly. It’s not an original point of course; indeed it’s been a theme in Sci-fi for as long as the genre has existed, but letting machines run everything makes us vulnerable. The vulnerability here is not so much a vulnerability to the machines themselves- that’s a little too fanciful at this stage, but rather to each other….
When criminal-minded types can hack into one area and gain access to everything, it could get very unpleasant. The possibilities range from minor inconveniences such as pranksters tampering with the central heating and turning it up to maximum on a hot day then preventing the home-owner from adjusting it to acts of remote vandalism- flooding homes by remotely over-running baths and even remote arson by controlling ovens and toasters. It might sound ridiculous and we shouldn’t get into a panic, but it’s as well to temper our excitement about new technology with an awareness of the potential for human ill-will to misuse it.