Here’s what we do in our house when we forget to leave a light on and walk in the front door. We reach over, flip up the light switch and magically, the hallway light comes on. I don’t have to open the door and politely ask my “smart house” to turn the light on.
I guess that makes my house stupid.
If my doorbell rings, I look through the glass in the door to see who’s there. If it rings when I’m not home, no one is going to answer it except Louie the Labrador, who will bark loud and long enough for any thief to reconsider entering.
When I want more air conditioning, I hit the little arrow on the thermostat to lower the temperature and cool the house. The fact that my thermostat can also give me the weather forecast in Guam is irrelevant when I’m getting ready to go to sleep and want to be comfortable.
Of course, a smart house always needs an internet connection and we all know how reliable that is. In my stupid house, I can still use my dishwasher by pressing the start button. I don’t have to worry if I can’t dim the dining room lights with my phone, I can just turn the knob to the left. I still have a CD player and a radio if I can’t access my streaming music services.
Do I need to use my phone to check what’s inside the refrigerator? If I find a cold beer, I still have to get up, open the door, grab the bottle and open it. And I certainly don’t need a video screen on the front so I can look inside. I can just open the door.
Let me tell you my idea of a smart house. When I’m in the shower, prevent anyone else from flushing the toilet or brushing their teeth, causing me to a dance around scalding water. Want to impress me? Close the windows when it rains or change the color on the walls, so I don’t ever have to paint again.
Is it really a technological advancement to speak into my remote control to change the channel? I guess having a device that can electronically send a signal from my couch to the TV when I press a button wasn’t convenient enough for mankind. Forget about sanctioning the great minds of the 21st century to cure diseases, let’s make a remote control that doesn’t need you to press buttons. What’s next, blinking my eyes like “Jeannie” to change the volume?
Instead of being innovators, nobody seems to be making anything truly useful anymore. We’ve all become consumers and more interested in buying a new version of something that was already designed to make our lives easier. Why, in 2019, have we not made any real progress in offering affordable, aesthetically pleasing solar panels, for homeowners that want to harness the power of the sun and reduce their dependence on electricity? Instead, we’ve created a couch that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker and a smokeless grill we can use indoors.
A person in their 80s today has lived through some of the greatest technological achievement’s mankind has ever seen, from the advent of electricity to space travel. What will children today see when we get close to the end of this century? The way we’ve been going, there may not even be a need for them to get out of bed in the morning.
There were plenty of times I’ve gotten in bed and wished I’d shut the light off. I know if I really had a Smart House, I could just pick up my phone and turn off the light without leaving my cozy bed.
Then again, for $19.95, all I would need to do is clap my hands twice and my “clapper” will do it for me. With or without an internet connection.
Paul DiSclafani, a Massapequa resident, is a 2018 Press Club of Long Island award winning columnist and an Anton Media Group contributor since 2016.