It is 2:30 pm, a work meeting ran long, and you’re going to be late getting home to greet your 3:00 book club members. In your car, stuck in a mess of traffic, you might normally break a sweat, but instead, you reach out to your assistant to make your current time crunch more manageable. But this isn’t just any assistant, this is Momo ($699), your AI (artificial intelligence) home bot (short for robot). From your car, you verbally connect with Momo and ask it to text your book club friends to let them know you are running a few minutes late. Your friends are instructed to ring the doorbell and Momo will let them in. When you remotely ask Momo to turn off your home security system, Momo intuitively knows from past experience that you also want to turn on the lights, adjust the room temperature, and play your favorite music. Knowing your calendar of events, Momo asks if you want it to turn on the electric kettle to boil water for tea and heat the oven to 250 degrees to warm the scones you made earlier that morning. As your friends arrive and ring the video doorbell, Momo’s voice greets them through the outdoor speaker and using facial recognition technology, unlocks the door. The beauty of Momo’s help is that upon your own arrival, you can breeze in, pop the scones into the preheated oven, pour hot water for tea, and greet your guests with ease. Phew!
After your book club meeting, you need to think about what to make for dinner. Or do you? With the help of Chefling Ultra-Connect, your AI Kitchen Assistant phone app tied to your digital speaker, recipes are suggested to you based upon what you have on hand in your pantry and refrigerator. Aiming to simplify your kitchen operation, Chefling saves you time by inventorying and tracking items in your pantry through a scanning system, sends you reminders if something is expired, offers recipe suggestions, and provides step-by-step hands-free cooking instructions via Amazon’s Alexa or another home digital assistant.
During your cooking prep when your hands are occupied with greasy wrappers or germy chicken packaging, you discard them with a single voice command to your Superhuman voice-activated trashcan ($200) that opens and closes its lid. As you make your Chefling generated recipe, you gather a few ingredients from your sleek indoor Smart Garden ($99+) that cares for your herbs, lettuces, and edibles by providing light, water, and nutrients.
After cleaning up dinner, you can hardly wait to put your feet up and relax in bed. Before heading to the bedroom, Momo asks if you would like Roomba, your robotic vacuum, to do a quick sweep of the floors. Ah, yes. And, of course, because Momo knows the time you usually go to bed, it has already adjusted the room temperature, closed the blinds, and turned down the lights in your bedroom. All you have left to do is dial in your mattress with a few taps on your Smartphone using the Sleep Number app. Your Sleep Number 360 iLE Smart Bed ($5,000+) offers endless head and foot positions for watching TV, reading, relaxing, or simply sleeping. Features include temperature control settings with a foot-warming option, snore reduction sensors that raise your head, sleep habit monitoring with Sleep IQ, under-the-bed lighting that turns on automatically for nighttime trips to the bathroom, and comfort adjustments to your mattress based upon your personalized sleep patterns.
Your digital assistant has already locked the doors, set the house alarm, turned off the main lights, turned on the white noise machine, and reminds you of what is on the calendar for tomorrow, checks the weather, and sets your wake up time. Nighty night.
For those who are old enough to remember Rosie the robot maid from the popular 1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons, you might recall the speculation at the time that having a robot of your very own will be the future. Well, we are close. Like Momo, which is still in the prototype phase, artificially intelligent assistants are about to explode into the marketplace. These interfaces aim to make us more productive by operating our homes, running our schedules, learning our habits, and thinking for us.
Not quite as “smart” as Momo, the current Smart speakers like Amazon’s Echo Dot powered by Alexa ($39+), Google Home using Google Assistant ($49+), or Apple’s Siri-enabled HomePod ($349) will play music, adjust the lights and temperatures in our homes, record calendar notes, teach kids how to spell, make telephone calls, set alarms, and provide us our weather and news of the day. They are not intuitive digital assistants yet, but it is really just a matter of months. Tech Crunch statistics show that one in five U.S. adults have adopted Smart speakers, already reaching 47.3 million users in just two years. This is an incredible leap, considering it took thirteen years for television to be adopted by 50 million users and four years for the Internet to reach that mark. As Amazon, Google, and Apple battle it out for market share and the latest in AI technology, trends show conversational and intuitive AI digital assistants with more bells and whistles will be available very soon. •