Jetsons reruns always show George, the loveable father, getting twisted up in his home’s vacuum tubes or otherwise fighting against the seemingly magical tech in his futuristic home. The show always leaves me marveling at his unnecessary struggle against technological advances.
If I had a house like George, I would dive right in and let all that smart automation take me away, like Calgon. A place where I can be at one with the Internet of Things (IoT) and all its comforts. That futuristic Jetsons’society with moving skywalks, flying cars, and a robot maid. And it’s exciting to realize we’re not so very far away from having just that.
Smart tech is all the rage, from refrigerators that can tell you if you’re running low on soda to thermostats that you can control from work to ensure the house is all nice and toasty when you get home. The Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year offered predictions that a Smart Home could be doable within five years — though you know there must be some folks from Google living in them now.
Others (from Google) are non-believers, strangely enough. One of them is a leader in smart tech, Nest CEO Tony Fadell. In an interview, Fadell said connected homes won’t work because the various devices and appliances all speak different languages. He cautions everybody to wait 20 years for the IoT to be a reality.
But if that’s the case, why did Google (Nest’s new owner) direct the Nest folks to purchase tech startup Revolv? Revolv’s claim to fame is creating a hub that lets people control all their smart devices from one app. Kind of a translation device for all those different languages. So this leaves us with lots of questions: Is Fadell being disingenuous in downplaying the possibility of a fully connected home? Or is he being secretive so his corporate bosses get the jump on the rest of the smart house playing field?
Every new innovation or technological leap has had its detractors and smart houses are no different. Just like George Jetson fought against his robotic home, so too do those who express concern that we’re all becoming “too connected.” They decry the loss of privacy that comes with having all of your devices streaming data about your life 24/7.
Newsflash folks: Do you have a credit card? You have no privacy. Internet connection? Same. Social media account? Snapchat? You get the idea. No NSA-level snooping required really — you’ve already put yourself out there and (face it) there’s no taking it back. And even if you aren’t participating online, unless you are living a relatively Amish lifestyle with no credit history, true privacy is a thing of the past.
I propose we embrace this technological wave and ride it. Smart technology hints to a future where we can order our house to clean itself up while we’re gone (yes, I am a proud owner of a Roomba and his name is Jeeves!), unlock the door and turn on the lights as we approach, and have the kitchen prepping itself for us to cook dinner. Who wouldn’t love that?
And I won’t be worrying about my privacy in the meantime. I think we can be pretty sure the microchips aren’t coming any time soon (though honestly, if they improved my life significantly I’d be among the first in line for the injection). You?