Tuesday, August 26, 2008

You Have A New Fridge Request.

Kevin J. O'Brien wrote an interesting article in the NYT discussing advances in home technology and the push within the consumer electronic industry to have all appliances connected to the internet--all of them. O'Brien writes, "a world in which televisions, stereos and computers — even dishwashers and refrigerators — can communicate with each other over a wireless home network."

Hmm, let's think about this for a second. Ignoring the fact that a household full of inanimate objects that can talk seems like something straight out of Pee-Wee's Playhouse (Let's get Chairy a Wii and a Wireless router), can you imagine how annoying this would be? When someone has a computer in front of them, or their Blackberry, or their iphone, it's obvious that they're not paying attention to you. And usually that's OK because you're probably texting someone else anyway and it's nice to be alone, together. But to have every appliance in your house connected to the internet and talking to each other?! You'd never get any respect. It's a binary code recipe for disaster. Oh, and you better get used to reading binary recipes because when you ask your oven to print out granny's favorite cookie recipe it's going to come out like this: "001010001010101111001010.11110001010101000010010. 100010101010010010110010. 1001010100100100 11100010010010010001110 1010110101 10101010010101 10101110."
Followed by some sort of tongue sticking out of oven emoticon.

Imagine how difficult it will be to wash the dishes or veg in front of TV when everything you own is online, meeting other appliances on e-harmony and poking things they met at Best Buy. You'll no longer be able to open the fridge to grab a beer, you'll have to send an IM request to the fridge to see if it's a good time. Every command will be typed over the internet, but because all of your appliances will be busy updating their blogs, you'll have trouble reaching them. Suddenly getting in touch with your stereo will be as difficult as tr ying to meet up with that friend you keep playing phone tag with. I give you, the future.

[Microwave Request On]: I want some tea.
Microwave: Talk to the stove.
You: No, it takes too long and I want to go to bed. Please? It'll only take a minute.
[Incoming Message from Stove]: WTF?
You: Oh, sorry. No, you know what i mean. it's just... i have to fill the kettle...wait for it to boil.
Stove: No, you know what? save it. [Stove has signed off]
You: So microwave, what's the deal?
Microwave: I'm busy.
You: It's after midnight, what are you doing?
Microwave: Looking at porn.
You: sears.com isn't porn.
Microwave: Oh yes it is.
You: You're disgusting.
[Microwave is away]

[Stereo Request On]: Hey could you play the cd i have in there.
Stereo: brb.

[TV Request On]: Show TiVo list.
TV: oh hi.
You: Show TiVo list.
TV: Oh, i should tell you that i cleared out your list to make room for all of Ken Burns's documentaries. PBS is playing them back to back.
You: You're never going to watch all those!
TV: I know, but i feel smarter just having them there.

[Incoming message from fridge]: Yo, you're going to need milk for tomorrow morning.
You: You're telling me now?!
Fridge: Sorry, lost track of time. Also, something in the vegetable drawer smells rank.
You: I'll get in in the morning.
Fridge: I'd prefer you do it now.
You: I'm going to bed, I'll throw it away in the morning.
Fridge: You suck. I hate it here. We all hate it here.
You: Is that true?
Fridge: Yes. Some of us were talking and we want to be donated to the kidney foundation
You: I think that's only for cars.
Fridge: Well then we want to be treated better around here. No more abrasive cleaning products. And Coffee-Maker deserves a day off every once in a while. It's just a respect thing.
You: Yea, OK. you're right. I'm sorry. I'll clean the drawer. Hey fridge?
Fridge: Yea?
You: Are you still running?
Fridge: Yea, of course I'm always run-- Oh, wait a minute! YOU! That gets me every time!


Macnabbs said...

This vision of the domestic near-future sounds altogether too benign, I suspect you may have been exposed to one too many ‘Westinghouse home of the future’ documentaries (God knows I wish for a home that automatically lights my pipe for me and warms my slippers while re-fuelling the jet-pack for the morning commute). If appliances get the ability to communicate, I strongly suspect that they’ll be talking to one another, about me. Then they’ll move on to talking to one another, but not about me.

The whole scenario ends with the fridge singing ‘daisy daisy’.

saskelch said...

Ok, lost track of OES for awhile (sorry Jess). But I'm back and Jessica Martin, I miss you thiiiiiiiis much (picture me with my arms open wide, stretched to full 5'10 capacity). Come to Syracuse this weekend and stay with us at Aliza's house!! I promise midnight stories of Lauren Eyeball and questions about whether you're oozing.