Let us begin by looking at Mr. Larson’s point of view that the home will control us, as opposed to us controlling the home. First, what would happen if an unscrupulous character broke into the database that has all of our personal information on it? I am not just talking about things like our credit card numbers and our social security numbers. Remember, these technologies monitor our every movement within our own homes, so these criminals would know every personal thing about us. This would be like having a private eye watching everything we do 24 hours a day and reporting that to someone else.
Alternatively, perhaps all of our information is looked at legally by government agencies. This would be an opportunity in the making for easy invasion of privacy. Secondly, we need to consider how ethical it would be for us to put our parents or grandparents in one of these homes so that we can make their lives easier-thereby making our lives easier. Who has the right to tell someone else they must live being monitored 24 hours a day? Furthermore, these technologies are frightening to some older segments of society.
Should we put them into one of these homes just so they can live longer and yet be uncomfortable with their surroundings? Next, what about the ethical issue of these new technologies (that assist people in living longer) that cost so much? Is it morally right for those with money to have that advantage or is it society’s responsibility to see that all have the same opportunity to live longer. Finally, what about the fact that as technology has made our lives easier; many more people are less healthy than they used to be.
What would happen if in twenty or thirty years-after people have had their homes do everything for them-studies show that these technologies actually are responsible for shortening our lives. These are just some of the general issues facing how intrusive we want technology to be. I am certain that as time goes on, and many more of these types of technologies are incorporated into our lives, there will be numerous specific issues that have to be dealt with. However, until that day arrives, we have to look at it from the general point of view. Addressing the Issues
As stated earlier, Kent Larson did not look at any of these issues in his article. Perhaps it is because his background is in architecture and he was looking at technology strictly from that point of view. On the other hand, maybe because he is on the same project team with Stephan S. Intille, and he feels that Mr. Intille is the “issue monitor” on the project and he strictly is looking at from an architectural perspective. However, Mr. Larson should also be concerned with these personal freedom and ethicality issues if his vision is ever going to be reality. Concerning Mr.
Intille’s article, I believe that in the “MIT Home of the Future”, they are looking in the right direction to address-and find answers-to some of these questions. He states, “We are designing and building prototypes demonstrating how to create environments that help people I think that by conducting these types of experiments prior to incorporating the technologies into new homes, many of the questions in the issues section of this paper can be answered. For instance, this particular project can help to understand how to avoid the issues of having technology doing everything for us that we become a society of less healthy people.
Yet these same technologies can add years to our lives by monitoring us. I think this is a bit ironic. Perhaps these types of experiments will give us the best of both worlds. By allowing us to learn, it will keep us mentally fit. By helping us to eat healthier, it will keep us more physically fit, and by monitoring our bodies, it will allow us to seek medical help much sooner thereby increasing our lifespan. Finally, looking at Mr. Gibbs article concerning the project at Georgia Institute of Technology, they are also attempting to answer some of these questions.
He states, “The research team eventually decided that those who most need the home of the future are people of the past-not the rich gadget nuts who typically purchase smart homes but rather marginally infirm seniors” (37). It appears that they are addressing some of the pertinent issues also. Perhaps this team is looking into making these life-extending technologies more reasonably priced so that the masses can benefit rather than just the rich.
Also, by reviewing the quote by Dr. Mynatt concerning what these seniors are willing to trade off for living longer shows that the team is also addressing the issue of what they seniors think about these technologies (and making them more comfortable with them) rather than just saying these technologies will help you, now use them. Conclusion When I chose the “Technology-based Home of the Future” for my research project, I did so because I thought that it would be interesting since I have an extensive background in the building industry. I expected the issues to strictly be those that Kent Larson addressed in his article.
I was incredibly surprised when I read the other articles to see the personal freedom and ethical issues that this topic had to address. This research really opened up my mind and gave me a completely new perspective on this topic. That being said, after reading the articles several times, and reflecting over the period of the semester on these issues, I can see that there needs to be many questions answered before the home of the future can incorporate all of the technologies that are currently available, let alone the new ones that will be here in the future.
Not just the technical questions of how to incorporate new technologies, but more importantly the issues stated in this paper. I think that these teams are on the right track by addressing these issues in these laboratory settings to see how individuals will handle the intrusiveness of these technologies even though they will certainly make our lives easier. Nevertheless, easier does not necessarily mean better. If these technologies intrude on our personal freedom, or jeopardize them in any way, I am not so sure that we will embrace them even though they may make our lives easier.
I think that all of may embrace these new technologies based on our own terms. Some of us may be willing to give up more of our freedom, to make our home lives easier, while others may not want to give up the personal freedoms and privacy that it will require to do so. We will all have our own particular point where we will say stop, and that point is when we start to leave our comfort zone. In addition, in some cases (when we are making these decisions for our parents or grandparents) these technologies will require us to make some moral judgments in certain cases.
This is where the issues become very tough because we may have to weigh the possible outcomes and make certain moral tradeoffs such as the lesser of two evils for example. In conclusion, I think that there will be no cookie cutter home of the future. I think that all of us will have to decide what the best is for us and our loved ones based on a number of factors. Only after we weigh all of those factors will we be able to choose the technologies that will fit our own personalities the best.