Your Future Home

Well, huh. Nothing like the Law of Unintended Consequences to gouge a hole in the boat. The initial plan here was to proffer a rash of innovations that would coalesce into what any reasonably lucid individual would consider a Dream Home, when, honestly, this should really be billed as the quest for the Home of the Future. 

What exactly is a Home of the Future?

Well, okay, near as I can figure, this place is going to be and/or feature:

All-electric. Automated everything. High-IQ thermostat. A home gym. Hypervigilant home security. Environmentally beneficial. Everything up to and including the toilet brush connected to the internet. Blah-blah-blah … yawwwwwwn. Then, as I researched this story and began compiling something of a list, it rather quickly dawned on me that the Home of the Future has, as we speak, become the Home of Now. 

Freed of such restraints, let’s dream a little, eh?

When it comes to domiciles, personally, I am a simpleton. If it keeps me warm and dry, and there are places to keep my cold foodstuffs cold and places where the cold things can be made warm, I am a happy simpleton. The phrase, “needs almost no maintenance,” is scintillating to my ears. That would mean, as defined by yours truly, any Home of the Future would be self-healing. Leak in the roof? No sweat. Before you can locate the number to the roofing peeps, the house has taken over and fixed it up good as new. How? That’s not our job here! Do I look like some kind of engineer?

One thing to determine is what it is we’re trying to do here. Is the goal to erect a domicile the size of which would turn Jay Gatsby green with envy? Are we looking for a place that satisfies basic human needs? Or do we want something in between the impress-onlookers and that basic-human-need thing?

Reduced to the basics, one learns early in one’s homeowning life that things are either trying to work their way inside the structure, or trying to get out, wherein lies the ultimate battle. In this case, provided access to unlimited funding, thanks to the largesse of Main Street Magazine, it occurred to me that was likely to not be my most immediate conundrum to resolve. I decided it was time to shed that happy simpleton thing and go for it. To heck with all this fidgeting around. I was going to have me a Gatsby-style château.

Let’s talk 2075 here

Would it be untoward of one to think that we shoot right by this AI thing and introduce a dose or two of extra sensory perception into the equation? Picture this. It’s half-past six on a Thursday evening and I’m traveling up the street to my new home. My new, new home. How new is it? It is so new that it knows I’m headed home before I head home. It is so new it knows what I’d like for dinner tomorrow evening and ensures the proper ingredients are on hand. Things will be cooking at the ol’ casbah, thanks to this new wonder of nature I now call home.

When I walk through the door, a favorite Grateful Dead show should be in the process of cranking up, preparing itself to wail out of my concert-quality speakers. 

Okay, we all know some of this is ridiculous. In 2075, if anyone is working in an office setting at an address separate from their domicile, I’m pretty sure they should be reported to the missing persons bureau.

The Jetsons did it best

You know, the instant I hear the phrase Home of the Future, I think “Jetsons,” which debuted on American TV screens in 1962. Set in 2062 Orbit City, the home of George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Rosie the Robot, and Astro the Space Mutt sure seemed to be ensconced in the lap of luxury. 

Setting aside flying cars, it seems to me, as noted earlier, we’ve reached that future in 2024, with one other major exception: automatic food preparation. Isn’t that something AI should be good for?

But here, then and now, remains a sticky wicket: humans. Despite the technology the creators dreamed up in The Jetsons, Digital Trends notes, “the future still had some of the same human experience themes we see in our lives today. George’s boss was a jerk, Elroy hated doing his homework, and the Jetson family often grew annoyed that the technology they had in place sometimes malfunctioned.” What happens when AI successfully identifies these issues and sets about rectifying them? 

Bottom line, I have a batch of questions, and here are a few. What can “being connected” actually mean to the function of a home? Is the vision of the Home of the Future more utopian or dystopian? How will people function in the world of their home? Will things skew more urban or  rural? Maybe we’ll find out by 2075. •

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