After a decade languishing on consumer tech’s back porch, the smart home has started to enjoy mainstream success. Voice-activated butler bots such as Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit chime in 39 million American homes, while Ring, a video-activated doorbell, has been snapped up by Amazon for $1bn.

But has good tech turned fad? Tech firms are embedding remote-controlled capabilities into everything, from ludicrous ‘Laundroids’ to help fold your clothes to toilets such as Kohler’s ‘Numi’, which monitors the pipes in a little too much detail. Meanwhile, potentially worrisome tech that exists to siphon data from our day-to-day lives comes cloaked in a stylish shell – like the Yves Béhar-designed Hive View security system – so it doesn’t feel like an AI alien has invaded your home.

Inevitably, we’ll keep welcoming ever brighter AI into our living rooms. But if we fear smart homes will make us stupid, we could heed Elon Musk and the late Stephen Hawking, and seek out domestic design that’s a little bit dumber.

Read part two of ‘Next stop’ on the uprising of autonomous door-to-door travel

Read part three of ‘Next stop’, where we look to the future of the medical makeover

As originally featured in the June 2018 issue of Wallpaper* (W*231)