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Smart Technology'? #Sustainable? Maybe better not at home?
Community Community IoT

How smart can we be? We ourselves! ‘Smart Technology’ for our home

Robotic arms have taken a lot of work out of our hands in the industry. Yet we are busier than ever. We hardly have time to live. But now there are also robots for the house to assist us. They can take over many domestic tasks from us. Do they continue the liberation that was introduced with the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine?


White LG HUB robot with black top with 2 blue dots
Photo by: LG

Who does not know the dream of the gnomes who – unasked - do all the nasty chores in the house? They exist! Internet giants Google and Amazon, together with a number of electronics companies, have developed programs for various smart in-home help. 'Smart Technology', for example for the 'Assistant' who does not have eyes, and cannot walk or wave, but who can carry out oral assignments to operate the oven, the washing machine, kitchen machines or the shower thermostat. You can also ask questions about the weather report or the situation on the roads. In the future 'Assistants' will also send advertising messages.

A listening ear, Google Home

#Google home with white top and blue green bottum
Photo by: #Google

There are helpers who go further: they are meant as a 'pivot in the household' and are supposed to make themselves indispensable by arranging everything: the lighting in the house, the vacuuming or the laundry. For example, a robot can ensure that the sports clothes are washed on time if there is an appointment with the fitness center in the agenda. They can also give cooking tips, select news, have a conversation, play games with the children and take photos or films of special moments in the family.

GPS effect
Street map with colorful markers
Everything is taken care of by the industrious electronic gnomes: the laundry is done, the floor sucked, the children are entertained with stories, or games ... do they now offer residents the freedom to follow or develop new interest? It could be, but at a price: just as people become dependent on the navigation in the car, and no longer know where they actually are, residents can also become dependent on the helping electronics and the overview, and thus the control about the household. You might say that residents are now visiting themselves.

But having said this, let's look at what residents, now that they are freed from the worries that housing brings with them, are going to do with their vacant time. Can they indeed follow or develop new interests thanks to the robots?

Embarrisment of choice

Thanks to the rat race, they can choose from an abundance of products. There is probably something in between that which arouses a new interest or sets a new development in motion, but a problem here is that the consumer - due to the constant advertising bombardment that the 'rat race' has to keep going - can have some trouble in recognizing  their own interests.
This can make it difficult to make a meaningful choice ... from the visit to a theme park, a weekend to a strange city, a nature walk, eating out, a visit to the zoo, a new smartphone, new contemporary furniture, an electric bicycle or an investment in renewable energy ...

End of choice stress

Why do not they leave the choice to one of the house robots? The self-learning algorithms with which they are equipped recognize patterns in human behavior rather than the people involved, so these robots can also predict future needs! So making a choice with these algorithms is in good hands! For example, house robots could together ensure a smooth and carefree life. Without annoying housework and also without choice stress.
Woman standing with girl at a washing machine 1950
Photo by: Click Americana

End control over own life

But with this, these helpful robots can contribute to residents losing control, not only about the household but also about the choices they make and therefore about the direction in which they want to develop further. This makes these robots essentially different from simple machines such as the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine.

‘Big Brothers’

In the meantime, these robots, through Google, Amazon and also Facebook, pass on data about our way of living, buying and eating habits and other interests, to companies that can use these to offer products, for prices that are both geared to the residents . Big Brothers are watching us, and take advantage of that. The fact that the 'Assistant' will also send advertising messages in the future was already a warning.

Cover George Orwell 1984 book
Photo: Cover 1984 George Orwell

Invisible hand

Now these Big Brothers can rightly be seen as a danger, but they only follow the automatism of the 'invisible hand', namely becoming big and strong and making as much advertising as possible. And in the latter they are particularly successful, as their home robots indeed contribute to consumers losing control of their private lives and are happy with all the choices that the robots bring into their private lives.


This can have an alarming consequence ... If the commercially interesting offers from companies are constantly coming up to the internet searches, products that do not have a commercial interest will no longer have a chance. All the more because the storage capacity of data centers irrevocably lags behind the exponentially growing collection of big data about consumers. Then choices have to be made, and then one day there may be no more critical sounds on the net. Like the 1984 book by George Orwell!

Not only for the home

Ultimately, it is not so exciting, or cute, or convenient to the offered robots with 'Smart Technology' to take home. They do not serve the residents but the 'invisible hand'. 'Smart Technology' is not only available in-house: robots and computers are also active in public areas. More about that in the next episode.

By Philip Krabbendam