Slate Publishes Excerpt from Emily Anthes’ THE GREAT INDOORS

Wed Aug 5, 2020

This article is adapted from The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness, by Emily Anthes, published by Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

For more than half a century, writers and futurists, from Ray Bradbury to the creators of The Jetsons, have been conjuring up intelligent, high-tech homes that essentially run themselves. In their versions of the future, our homes would be much more than shelter: The houses of tomorrow would cook, clean, and care for us. They’d wake us up, make us breakfast, and then tidy up afterward.

Tomorrow is here. In homes across the world, smart thermostats glow, autonomous vacuums spin, and intelligent speakers stand at attention. Programmable shades rise with the sun, and connected refrigerators monitor our supply of milk. We can rely on smart flowerpots to water the plants, smart pet feeders to dispense kibble to the dog, and smart locks to let the maintenance worker in—all while we’re out of the house. By 2023, more than half of American households, and one-sixth of those around the world, are expected to have smart home devices.

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