When Appliances, Pets, and Plants Start to Tweet

Soon, we should expect devices and appliances of all kinds to emit digital updates.  Will it be signal or noise?  It depends on your perspective. This “Ambient Status” is in which a non-living device or non-human beings compulsively create digital signals and updates.

With technologies at hand that allows anyone to share their opinion and status, the world becomes more connected. Perhaps one of the challenges in our overly connected world is the damage that excessive noise from many who publish causes.   It won’t be limited to just people: expect our cars, refrigerators, servers, pets and plants to start tweeting, blogging, and live streaming.  

For example, we should expect in the near future that:

  • Cars to alert us in SMS, Twitter or email when they need to be serviced, have low air pressure or other service.  In fact, we’re already seeing technology that will allow your car to text on your behalf while you drive.
  • Automated alerts from loved ones will be tweeted or texted to us. We know that Onstar can alert a centralized office if there’s an issue with the car being in an accident or stolen, why not alert loved ones (idea via @rototok)
  • Medical devices like life alert, or wrist bands or watches that measure heart rate and pressure could be used to auto alert loved ones of sick or elderly.
  • Refrigerators, washing machines, coffee machines and other home appliances will alert us when they need service or have completed a task.  If your plant can already Tweet when it’s thirsty (yes this already exists) then why can’t your air conditioning system and lights? 
  • It won’t be just home appliances, expect overloaded servers, web systems, and alerts when your boss is approaching your cubicle to be able to emit signals.
  • In the not-so-far fetched future, we can expect our pets, infants, and even unborn children to emit digital signals that we could aggregate in Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, SMS or email.  Heck even my puppy @goodboyrumba already tweets, (with some aid from his human servants) but we could expect new collars that measure his bio rhythms to emerge and let us know when it’s time to be let out for number 1 or 2.

The real question is, is this ‘ambient intimacy‘ or just adding to the ‘noise’.  While it may help us to be more connected, aware, and easier to manage our lives, it’s also going to make us a little more frantic, over-sensitive, and overwhelmed.