The September Issue
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When It Comes to Your Home, How Smart Is Too Smart?

Twenty three years ago I sat in the basement of my childhood home with my parents and brothers as we watched the latest Disney Channel Original Movie: "Smart House." At the time, the idea of a home that could play any music I wanted, make the lights mirror the sunset, and prepare breakfast before I woke up seemed like a true fantasy.

smart speaker

Unsplash/Dan Smedley

But these days, very little about that movie seems farfetched. Okay, sure, I don't expect Alexa to come to life as a hologram and lock me in my apartment, but so many aspects of our home lives have been truly transformed by smart home accessories.

Every morning I scratchily ask my Google Home for the weather before I even get out of bed, and then immediately ask it to play my "Mellow Morning Tunes" playlist. When I need to throw something away in my kitchen, I simply say "open can" and the lid on my voice-activated simplehuman trash can opens up without me even lifting a finger. When I travel, I can use my phone to turn a light or two on in my apartment so it looks like I'm still home.

The convenience of it all is almost, well, too convenient.

So many aspects of our lives can be smart home-ified these days. From the locks on our doors to the vacuums that clean our floors.

Are those of us exploring this "smart home" world becoming too reliant on these short cuts?

Don't love opening your curtains in the morning? There's an app for that. Forgot to turn off your hair straightener? There's an app for that.

There's no doubt that these smart home advances have made our lives collectively easier—and they're certainly not going anywhere any time soon—but are those of us exploring this "smart home" world becoming too reliant on these short cuts?

I get frustrated when my Google Home plays a different song than the one I requested, even though I could just grab my phone and play the song I really wanted.

According to Wonder, more than half of U.S. homes are will have at least one smart home gadget by 2023 and according to the New York Times, one in four homes already do have a smart speaker with a voice assistant like the Amazon Alexa or Google Home.

And as a smart home device user myself, I can see how reliant I've become on these short cuts. I get frustrated when my Google Home plays a different song than the one I requested, even though I could just grab my phone and play the song I really wanted. And I fear that I'm losing patience for other simple tasks like opening the garbage can and turning the lights on (or off).

There's much to be said about how technological advances have made our lives easier, but lately I've been craving a time before all of my smart home accessories. A time when a movie about a smart house seemed like the most outrageous thing I could imagine.

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