Next stop: are smart homes making us stupid?

Smart Home Ring Videodoorbell, Amazon
Ring video doorbell
(Image credit: press)

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.

Autonomous door-to-door travel

(Image credit: press)

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

‘Next stop’ is a three-part series which looks to the future of technology, from domestic AI, to the daily commute, and luxury medical breaks

The swimming pool area

(Image credit: press)

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)

Elly Parsons is the Digital Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees and its social platforms. She has been with the brand since 2015 in various roles, spending time as digital writer – specialising in art, technology and contemporary culture – and as deputy digital editor. She was shortlisted for a PPA Award in 2017, has written extensively for many publications, and has contributed to three books. She is a guest lecturer in digital journalism at Goldsmiths University, London, where she also holds a masters degree in creative writing. Now, her main areas of expertise include content strategy, audience engagement, and social media.