Thursday, September 16, 2010

Intelligent Houses

The fully computerized house of Ray Bradbury's "There Will Come Soft Rains" is getting closer to reality:

Smart Gadgets

A house that could notice when you haven't moved in a long time and checks to make sure you aren't dead could be useful, especially for older people living alone. Do I really want my refrigerator nagging me to lose weight, though? (And how would it know who's eating the food? Maybe I've had a lot of guests lately.) And I definitely know I don't want the car's navigation system trying to cheer me up by telling jokes.

However, I wouldn't mind an intelligent vehicle like the one in KNIGHT RIDER that could do the driving for me. On a crowded freeway, a smart car would probably be a more confident and safer driver than I am on my own.

If a computerized dwelling got much smarter than the one described in the article, Sarah, the sentient house on the TV series EUREKA, might eventually evolve. A household computer with a friendly voice might be pleasant and welcoming—but would I want to go further and live in a house that has emotions and a personality? Knowing "she" could see and hear everything that happens would feel too much like having a human observer watching me every minute of the day and night. Nevertheless, Sarah-the-house is one of my favorite characters on the show. Lately she's established a romantic relationship with Andy, the robot law enforcement deputy. Now, there's an intriguing subject for fanfic.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt


  1. Eureka is one of my favorites. Am I the only one wondering what is involved in the relationship between Sarah and Andy! Maybe there are somethings we are better off not knowing.

  2. Living in a house where "eyes are watching every moment" -- hmmm, that sounds like the typical upper-class house full of servants. The upstairs maid, the downstairs maid, the butler, the footmen (all of them), the cook(s), groundskeepers, hostlers in the stable, the staff physician and nurse, the armsmaster, oh, and don't forget the bookkeeper and Chatelaine. Eyes and ears for sure. And they all talk to each other "below stairs" --- worse, they talk to the neighbor's servants. It's a network.

  3. JC Jones -- oh, you're not the ONLY one wondering what's with Sarah and Andy!

  4. I loved the story "Realtime" by Daniel Keyes Moran. Not really a sentient house but a computer that watches over the elderly heroine by monitoring everything about her--with a twist on print vs ebooks.

    I saw one of these smarthouses on tv years ago. On Ripley's I think. It was a bit scary and included a robotic mail box that would drive the mail up to the door. I kept thinking, what if it screwed up and trapped a person inside?