Today’s voice-recognition software and wireless domestic devices mean that the seemingly far-off world of Hal 9000, the computer that controlled all systems in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 epic 2001: A Space Odyssey, is finally here.
Home automation has undergone a technological revolution in the last five years. Plummeting prices for sensors and wireless antennas have brought the latest generation of “smart home” devices within reach of many. Previously, automation was prohibitively expensive and had to be planned ahead of time, so that it could be wired during construction by expert technicians. Now, the building blocks for the “smart home” are affordable, connect wirelessly, and can be added ad-hoc by any technically-inclined homeowner.
With the growing usefulness and popularity of voice-recognition software, whether Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa, a new summit of home automation is clearly within sight. At it’s very best, a single command can now deploy an army of connected devices into a symphony of sensing, data and motion: dimming lights, lowering shades, cuing date-night playlists and altogether offering the ultimate thrill of Zeus-like omnipotence.