A question of dosage – why we are going to live so very much different in 2032 and yet not

The automation of our lives is in full swing: smartphones are reacting to time and place, are spouting out digital memories and are canalizing our communication. Cars are navigating around traffic jams, are interchanging with their conspecifics in order to prevent major disasters. And houses? Well okay, they are rather stupid compared to the masses, but this is going to change as well in the medium term. Compared to 1992, this is all technically magnificent and one is tempted to ask how one could ever live without these technologies.

Looking ahead, development is after all not linear, we will obviously be approaching golden, fully-electronic times, in which the technology surrounding us might know if we are going to be sick, if a storm is impending to break the windows and if we are going to get to our job battery powered without any red lights.

In reality this fails, due to the central factor: man. We do like comfort, but we also hate to be controlled. Complete digital monitoring justifiably frightens us. The concept of a refrigerator ordering milk and yoghurt on its own when dwindling, already demonstrated this. We like green lights, but do want to control it ourselves via the accelerator- or battery pedal instead of just rolling along like in a tram. We love digital downloads, because they satisfy our consumption desires instantly, but do not want to entrust our valuable photos and other memories "only" to the data cloud, because we would then lose control over them.

What is the recipe for the acceptance and usage of existing technologies?

It’s a question of the right dosage, emotional implementation of new services and technologies that leave the choice to us and avoid constrains.   Everything that is imposed or to what there is no alternative, is doomed to fail out from the start. Thus, we are probably still going to live having beautiful analogous books in 2032, which are peacefully lying on the shelf in coexistence with the twentieth edition of Kindle. Our houses will be full of sensors, full of distributed, digital intelligence and we are going to tolerate it, if it does not patronize us.

Fine, if a sensor detects a leak in the washing machine, bad if hallway light doesn’t turn on, because it is supposedly still too light outside. It must be possible to set the heater to 25 degrees, if we want it; if the kids have left the Playstation 6 running at full steam, while kicking a ramshackle ball outside, then it may automatically go into hibernation mode.
Do as you like, and within these boundaries the developments which we are going to accept and which can thus be successful, are going to be.

It is the much discussed "Ambient Assisted Living", which is still being quoted in the context of ever aging population that could soon enrich our complete life. Distributed intelligence without monitoring is the magic word for future developments.

With this in mind: to a good future...

About Frank Kreif:

Frank Kreif is managing director of the plugged Media Publishing Group and thereby publisher and chief editor of pluggedmedia, smarthomes and trenddokument.
Due to a current campaign, the magazines smarthomes and trenddokument can be currently downloaded as a free iPad App.