The Suitcase Lady


April 7, 2015, 8:26 pm

I am surrounded by smarts. Almost everyone I know has a smart phone, I live in a smart home and most of the classrooms I visit have smart boards. The planetary invasion of smart electronics is up and running (most of the time).

My techie loving husband has been installing smart home devices for eighteen years now. His main focus is on lighting and our lighting has gotten smarter. Yesterday the kitchen lights were so smart they took control and turned themselves randomly on and off all day. Obviously, in addition to being smart, they have a sense of humor.

Smart boards can be a valued teaching tool in classrooms. Unfortunately, most of the classrooms I visit are so underfunded that they have no appropriate shades to darken the room so the smart board images can be seen. For the foreseeable future, I will be bringing quality art reproductions with me when I visit schools.

Despite these glitches, I know that future smart technology holds promise. While taking a road trip on wide open highways and seldom used back roads is a joy, being stuck in urban gridlock is not. I would love to drive a smart car (or, rather, have a smart car drive me) from Milwaukee through Chicago and Gary.

The Dutch are already testing smart highways that glow in the dark, have interactive road signs and charge electric cars as they drive. They have also created the first smart bike paths that light themselves up as the bikers cycle over them. This creates a beautiful experience as well as a safer one.

I am not as  excited about the smart clothes that a research team in Canada is currently working on. The goal is to turn rigid electronic parts into soft clothing material. Then, for example, you could brush your arm to adjust the volume of your sweater’s music device. But do I really want to turn myself into a radio, and how would I wash my new smart clothes?

On our crowded, polluted, resource limited planet, one thing is certain: if we don’t thoughtfully choose where to apply smart technology, smart will make us humans the new dumb.


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