Imagine that you were frozen in 1980 and woke up yesterday. The bad news is that you're going to want to change out of your half-shirt and denim cutoffs as soon as possible. The good news is that it's probably going to take you only about 15 minutes to adjust to today's technology. Once you wrap your head around the internet, the rest of everyday life is just a shinier, more expensive version of the world you were used to.
Which is weird, right? Shouldn't the 21st century look more like The Jetsons than Family Ties, Only Everyone Is 30 Years Older? YES. But there are some very basic things that are standing in the way of the sci-fi future we were promised.
Smart Homes Are Developing Too Fast To Be Useful
Every futuristic family we've ever seen on TV or in the movies has access to technology that caters to their every whim. Housekeeping is handled by a robot, everyone has smartwatches, holograms aren't just concert novelties, and hot meals require nothing more than the push of a button.
Meanwhile, this is as close to a robot butler as reality gets.
Here's the thing: Everything in The Jetsons is pretty much doable today. We know how to infuse just about anything with online capability, except elderly people. We could have Back To The Future Part II-style smart houses right now if we really, really wanted them. But we don't want them, because they're too goddamned expensive. Who wants to pay three times more for a "smart" toilet when a regular toilet steals your poop just as well? Picture replacing all of your appliances, heating and a/c, lighting, security, and entertainment systems with virtually identical versions that can be connected to the internet. If you can still afford your mortgage after the last installation, good job -- you've really earned that smart Jacuzzi that can regulate your water temperature based on your last tweet.
"I'm sorry, Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. You've had ramen for 14 days straight."
Even if you're so rich that replacing everything you own in one Ambien-fueled, smart-home shopping spree is no big deal, you're going to find that your new stuff is super difficult to install and absolutely none of the components are compatible with one another. Finally and most importantly, smart home developers create their technology so rapidly that their homes are obsolete before they're even finished being built. You know how a new computer or smartphone gets replaced by a newer, better computer or smartphone within like six months? Picture that, only it's your entire house.