As we look at what the future might bring, in terms of the technology revolution, there are a number of issues we must address before we can begin to visualize the possibilities. There appear to be several in academia with varying ideas of what the future home should look like. According to Kent Larson, who has practiced architecture in New York City since 1981 (and is on the MIT Home of the Future Consortium team) believes that the future homebuyer will design, and purchase, their home online.
The home will come in prefabricated modules. Delivery will take place within four weeks, and a crew of three will do the completion in another two weeks. In his article “The Home of the Future” he states, Living in their new home takes some getting used to. With sensor arrays and digital displays embedded into most surfaces, the home begins to discover their patterns of activity and tries to anticipate what they might need or want…
It adjusts the ambient light for reading a book in the afternoon, keeps tuna fish on hand in the pantry, monitors their nutrition, and suggests new films that they may enjoy. (62) He suggests that this is simply just the way it will be, given that larger, technology driven, companies are looking at entering the housing market. At no time in his article does he look at the issues involved in these new technologies. On the other hand, Stephan S, Intille, a Ph. D.
in Media Arts and Sciences, working with the team on the MIT Home of the Future Consortium looks at several issues concerning these new technologies. In his article “Designing a Home of the Future”, he addresses issues such as whether or not the future home should automatically make all of the adjustments to the environment, or perhaps there is a better way. That way is to have the technology be pervasive rather than intrusive. He states, “Technology should require human effort in ways that keep life as mentally and physically challenging as possible as people age” (81).
By addressing some of these issues as he does, he looks at the home of the future as something that should allow us to grow rather than making everything automatic so that we deteriorate both mentally and physically. Finally, yet another project at Georgia Institute of Technology, is looking into the home of the future as one that not only serves the “technophiles” who have plenty of money to spend on gadgets, but rather as one that can assist seniors to live longer fuller lives.
As author W. Wyat Gibbs states in his article “As We May Live”, Maynett [a Ph.D degree in Computer Science working on “The Aware Home” project] … who suggested the focus be on the aged, spends half her time working with caregivers and anthropologist to figure out what problems tend to force seniors from their homes and what annoyances and invasions of privacy they might trade to postpone that. (p37) This statement says that this project is looking into the privacy of the people that they feel could benefit greatly from new technologies. From the quotes in these three articles, we can see that there are some in academia who simply feel that new technologies in homes will do every thing for us.
While others believe that, there may be a better way to incorporate technologies into our homes. It should also be stated that in order for these homes to function in the most effective way-strictly from a technological perspective-they would control every aspect in our home lives. In order to do this, all information that the monitors receive would be fed continuously to databases on the internet that would make the adjustments. This would lead to a number of issues concerning our personal privacies as well as ethical issues.