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Culture

The Internet of Things: Domestic bliss or nightmare?

Technically Incorrect: Today, fridges, lights and thermostats. But in the future, just think of the fun your Internet-connected home might be. The show has only just begun. But what kind of a show will it be?


Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

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Samsung CEO BK Yoon wants everything connected. Everything? CNET

My mantelpiece is mantelpissed.

I came home last night and she was sulking.

She'd heard about the Internet of Things that's being placed on a pedestal at CES.

Now, my fridge, my dishwasher, my car, my TV, my lights, my thermostat and, who knows, my front door locks can be Wi-Fi enabled.

"What have they got that I haven't?" my mantelpiece sniffed. "If you connected me to the Internet of All Your Other Things, maybe I'd be able to move the pictures on me around every day, so there's a new look to come home to."

I peered skeptically.

"Maybe I could move out and in and shimmy around, so it's like you're being greeted by a real dancing human being who's happy to see you? I mean, when was the last time a human being was actually happy to see you?"

I stared. The mantel wasn't going to let go.

"Maybe you could text me from work and let me know what mood you're in. Then I could change color, in order to fit in with your frame of mind."

"You're trying too hard," I replied. "Not everything has to be connected to the Internet. Look at us humans. It's done some of us more harm than good. Have you read Twitter lately?"

"Twitter! That's a great idea!" screeched my mantel. "You could come home and all the important tweets of the day that you'd missed could be projected along my side. Wouldn't that be cool?"

"Cool has its limits," I gruffed.

"No, it doesn't. Cool is everything. And if you ask me, mantelpieces haven't been cool for a long time. You've left us to rot. All we get is 'Quaint' or 'Historic' or 'Can I put my wine glass down here.' All you do is make us take the weight of pictures of those few minutes when you were actually happy."

"That's not fair."

"You're not fair. Why can't I be part of this revolution? Why can't you care about me the same way that you care about the fridge?"

"Because you're not electronic."

"But I could be. So could the roof -- he's pretty pissed. Wouldn't you love it if the roof was retractable, like at baseball stadiums with bad teams?"

"Mantel, you're mental. You were made to just stand there and look beautiful."

"Sexist pig."

"The Internet of Things is only there to do useful things like save energy and check how much cheese and cold pizza I've got left."

"That's crap and you know it. The Internet of Things is all about you showing how clever you are by pushing a little button on your phone. It started with useful things like the remote control. Now it's everywhere. And I don't see why I should be left out."

"Did you say I was clever?"

"You'll feel a lot more clever if you get me to tango when you come home."

"Hmm, I'll look into it."