theCriticalThought.com May 2017          Tom Ersin, Managing Editor
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My House Is
Talking to Itself
(just like Grandma)

"Who put the refrigerator in charge?"



Some people think that the fusion of home computers and home theaters will never catch on because most of us want to keep those two things separate, that it would be too complicated for the average starchy tuberous root vegetable that lives on the living room settee. These are the same naysayers that said commercial jet packs would never arrive ... and your point!?

With almost every innovation from the automobile to the jet pack, mass marketing Jet pack over cityof these products has mandated the simplification of their use. The convergence of technologies marches on — to, and sometimes beyond, its logical conclusion. Just as the exploration and settlement of the adolescent United States never stopped until virtually every square inch of territory between Mexico and Canada (and then some) achieved statehood, technological convergence is inevitable, as the sun comes up in the east, as every hard drive will eventually fail, as George W. Bush will create at least one new word at each press conference.

The ability to access radio and TV stations all over the world from anywhere in the world is just too delicious. Think of the expanded consumer pool for advertising. And that’s just the beginning. Don’t even get me started on the existing video, audio, PowerPoint, and game files that will now play through your big screen, big stereo media control center. AND, it slices, it dices!

Our houses will eventually talk to themselves (just like Grandma). You might have read how Bill Gates’ house is completely wired, automated, and Internetted. A guest might walk into the art gallery (What — you don’t have an art gallery in your house?), and the paintings will rotate based on her taste in art because the house downloaded all of her preferences as she walked through the front door. The temperature adjusts as she enters the guest room because the house knows this is a woman over 50, and she likes it a little cooler. Bill’s Shih Tzus are automatically caged because the house knows this guest is just not a dog person.

This is only somewhat exaggerated. Refrigerators are on the market now that accept an Internet connection. As one representative described it, the refrigerator will automatically order your groceries for you from your favorite store based on its sensing of what items are running low. The refrigerator, however, eliminated the Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream from your next order because it just talked to your bathroom scale. And besides, the pantry reported there are still plenty of Twinkies in back stock.

Granted, there is more to figure out. But as technologies are combined and reduced in size, the learning curves will also shorten; we will learn how to use the new gadgets or pieces of software that interest us. And speaking of software, convergence is also heavy in this area. I can now record, edit, mix, and master my own songs and burn CDs, all with the same piece of bootlegged software (just kiddddd - - - innngggggg, Bill). As certain innovations shake out of the many that are introduced, people will learn enough to use them and like them. We might not know a motherboard from a power supply, but we still learned to use a computer. Though I may not be able to rebuild a car’s transmission, I can still start the engine and drive down the road — to get that Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream. Guess I showed technology. ■



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Bill Gates' house

 

The temperature adjusts as she enters the guest room because the house knows this is a woman over 50, and she likes it a little cooler.

 

Bill Gates on a big screen

 

The refrigerator, however, eliminated the Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream from your next order because it just talked to your bathroom scale. And besides, the pantry reported there are still plenty of Twinkies in back stock.

 

Bill Gates house

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