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Scary Automation

Recently Larry and I attended CEDIA, our industry trade show in glorious Indianapolis. One of the major themes of the show was the “Intuitive Home.” The idea is that one’s electronic home should not only be “smart” but also logical, thoughtful, and simple. Intuitive Environments has always taken this approach to our electronic home designs. We believe technology should work for you, not you for it.

Sometimes, however, technology becomes, perhaps too intuitive. Some may say even spooky. In the sprit of Halloween I compiled a list of automation ideas that are downright scary. Enjoy!

1) Automated toilet seat covers on public toilets. Don’t misread the instructions. It will cost you! I have no idea what rocket scientist thought this was a good idea. We saw and experienced this little gem at the Chicago airport on our way to and from Indianapolis.

2) Automatic Hand Soap Dispensers: They never work. I am always dancing around bathroom sinks trying to get these things to do their job. What happened to the manual soap dispensers?

3) Automatic sinks. These things never work for me either. I feel that in this day in age I should not have to work so hard to achieve feats of basic hygiene.

***NOTE: Obviously I have been spending too much time in airport bathrooms.

4) Smart Refrigerators: Today refrigerators can be purchased with an LCD touchscreen, camera and Internet connection which allows it to download recipes and link to online shopping services. The idea is that one manages food shopping by scanning the barcodes of items, or a shopping receipt with a scanner on the fridge door or by describing the item via voice recognition technology. The fridge will monitor its contents and automatically add food to a user’s online shopping account when supplies are running low. It will even suggest recipes based on the ingredients you’ve got left and once a recipe is chosen, the fridge can switch on the oven to the correct temperature and set a timer via a wireless connection.

Ugh…this is quite frightening. Who really wants to communicate with their refrigerator? Do you really want to keep your fridge informed of what you are eating, how often you are eating it, and how you are eating it? I am not ready to take my appliance to that level of intimacy. Also do you really want your fridge communicating with your oven -wirelessly? That sounds like a recipe for disaster. The smart fridge won’t make life easier: It’ll make it more annoying, like upgrading to a “new and improved operating system” to get basic functions on the computer to work. Not my idea of a good time.

5) Automated Customer Service: No matter how good a web site, automated call center or application is, it can never replace human interaction and relationships. At Intuitive Environments our unrelenting commitment to our clients has made us the San Francisco Bay Area’s preeminent residential systems integrator. We tend to every detail, large and small. From design, component purchasing, installation, training and maintenance, we transform your home into a sanctuary that is treasured. We are privileged to serve you.

Happy Halloween!

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