‘Open The Fridge Door, Hal.’
How did this happen? My home is now sentient. I feel like Julie Christie in ‘Demon Seed’. My bathroom scale calls me up to nag me for not having done enough steps. My oven, fridge, dishwasher and microwave all beep at different times to warn me about over/under-heating.
My TV and sound system are only operable via my phone, so yesterday I sat down suddenly and accidentally turned on the snooker. Different areas of the flat can be isolated for sound – all you have to do is remember the settings.
My central heating and outer doorbell can also be programmed from abroad on my phone. Actually I can only let someone into my home via my phone (or I could actually, you know, open the door, but who can be bothered?) My vacuum cleaner tells me when its bag needs changing.
Now, all this is very wonderful, especially when you were expecting that the future might just consist of flat TVs and mood lighting. But as most systems require good wi-fi, and here in the centre of London wi-fi speeds are a joke, with regular drop-out in the service, which means that periodically our appliances will start to go wrong. Oh, and when I asked Siri to set alarm for seven o’clock he told me there were flights available to Greece. Maybe I have a speech impediment.
The countries with the fastest wi-fi speeds are Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia. The UK is sixth. America doesn’t even make the top twenty. Perhaps that’s something Mr Trump should get on to help make America great again.
I quite like things with buttons. You know, press the red button to stop and the green button to go. And dials; 1 – 10 (or 11 if you like ‘Spinal Tap’). Now I have as much chance of finding my HDMI source as I do locating the Ark of the Covenant.
The very sixties building of Centre Point (two words, apparently) at the start of London’s Oxford Street used to have a control panel in its reception area that looked like something out of Thunderbirds – all big red buttons. It was beautiful and practical. My local bar (the achingly hip ‘Spiritland’) specialises in valves and vinyl and all things analogue – so fashionable. So why haven’t big buttons come back? At least then there’d be no chance of Hal locking me out of the system.