Art of Design: Is Your Home Getting Too Smart for You?
Sometimes I think we are living in the futuristic era of the Jetsons. At other times, it's George Orwell's "1984." A recent online search for an office coffee maker literally put me over the edge. I like all the fancy coffee concoctions made by hipster handlebar mustachioed baristas as much as anyone. Of course, I love the foamy cream with the heart-shaped caramel drizzle, but what that has done to the coffee makers is beyond my comprehension. Now there are capsules, large and small, of every flavor imaginable, machines that make coffee short or long and accompanying equipment to make milk frothy hot or cold. Oh, the possibilities!
Some newer homes are now considered "smart." These are homes often with automated doorbells with cameras. Their climate can be controlled with a tap of your phone. Coffee can be started so it is ready by the time you wake up, and music and information can be commanded out of thin air by speaking loudly so that a home-automating apparatus can execute online searches and get your favorite tunes playing at your whim. Rosie the robot has been replaced by a small round disc that vacuums on a regular basis without even being asked. But how much technology is too much?
Of course, our desire is to keep up with the latest innovations. Many of you who are of a certain age may remember the 1960s television cabinets that came with built-in speakers, a record player on one side and a bar cabinet on the other, the 1970s beds that had speakers on the headboards and a slot for your 8-track tapes or the massaging beds that made you feel like hurling -- especially after dinner and a couple of cocktails.
Today's furniture makers have taken notice and have begun to incorporate technology in ways never before imaginable. Beds can be made softer or firmer according to your sleeping habits and try to adjust themselves to whether you snore or not. The newest selections of sofas and comfortable chairs for family rooms are equipped with USB ports for recharging your tablets, laptops and phones. Recently, there are even wallpapers woven with LED lights in them and fiber-optic fabrics that can change colors at your desire.
I enjoy the novelty of these innovations as much as any consumer, but knowing how quickly technologies change nowadays, I'd think really hard before spending any significant amount of money on any of these trendy items. There are some innovations that work really well, such as those that turn lights on and off, as well as surveillance and security systems that allow you to see what is going on in and around your home for protection. But sometimes, your home may be getting too smart. As a matter of fact, the other day, I was just thinking out loud and the home-automating apparatus that sometimes goes by a single name answered me back. Talk about creepy.
Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is www.josephpubillones.com. To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.Copyright 2019 Creators Syndicate Inc.