By: Michelle Lau, Megan Fensterer & Alexandra Theofanidis

The advancement of technology has impacted us greatly. A growing concern with technology is that most innovations have unintended consequences that could cause more harm than good for us. The amount of technology that has been integrated into kitchens has increased drastically over the years. The kitchen has had a major transformation over the years.

The kitchen has grown to become the heart or epicenter of the home. It has moved from behind closed doors to the main area of where the entertaining takes place. It is more than just the room to prepare food. The function of the kitchen has grown to include a place of meeting for the family, a place to engage the children, as well as a way to communicate social status. The kitchen has become a fundamental member of the family. The art of cooking is a collaborative act where traditions and techniques are taught and passed down to the younger generations.

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The idea of integrating LED screens to create a smart kitchen and integrating robotics into the kitchen environment has the potential to eliminate the connection to the kitchen that has been developed over the years.

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The prototype by Moley to introduce the first robotic kitchen will change how kitchen’s are designed and function. The concept of the robotic kitchen hands over all the tasks in the kitchen to the robot. This shifts the role of the kitchen, it removes the human connection. The replacement of humans in the kitchen eliminates the opportunity to pass on the knowledge and the art of cooking to the future generations. Although many advancements in technology have been life changing and extremely beneficial. This specific technological advancement has the potential to create a profound impact on the social interactions to weaken the family dynamic.

SECURITY

According to the International Data corporation, a market research firm that specializes in information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology, predicts that by 2025, 80 billion devices will be connected to the internet (Forbes, Kite-Powell). Many people don’t think about a security solution until it’s too late and their information has been hacked.

There are many home products in the market today that requires us as consumers to connect our home devices and appliances to the internet. The most common device – our smart phones.

Here are some of the examples of the smart appliances available in the market:

Bruno Smart Can

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The Bruno Smart Can is a trash can and a vacuum. It has a built in charging and filtration area,

hands free lid and smart features. The smart features allow users to connect to his/her iPhone or Android phone to keep track how many bags one has used and when it is time to empty the can. The WiFi enabled smart phone app will alert users when supply is low. The user can also reorder bruno bags through their phones, and the phone will be delivered to his/her door steps.

The Family Hub by Samsung

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The Family Hub by Samsung is a refrigerator with WiFi enabled touchscreen that lets users manage their groceries, connect with peers and family and it also provides entertainment like watching a tv show. The family hub also has three built-in cameras that take a photo every time the doors close. Users can use their phone to access photos from anywhere, to know what they’re missing. Another feature that the refrigerator has is that it allows users to sync everyone’s calendar to the Family Hub, and share events. The screen on the refrigerator allows users to share events, and send notes to family members.

The Danger:

In theory, anyone on the same WiFi network as the fridge or the smart trash can could retrieve user’s data. Companies may be collecting data like what brand of milk you purchased, and sell the information to the grocery stores. These days, the products that we as consumers buy, may not be the products they claimed to be. Note that when buying consumer products, we have to agree to their terms and conditions. In many cases, we would skip the reading part and hit “I agree”. Essentially, we are also agreeing to sell our information to the companies.

Some of the companies that store consumer data include Amazon, and Google.

The growing reach of smart devices makes the dangers more acute. Hacking is more common today than before. Security and privacy is important given the fact that more consumers are getting connected in their homes. According to reports, smart home devices, like smart home alarms, thermostats, refrigerators, lights are the least secure and they’ve been easy to hack.

To protect yourself, decide if you really need a smart home device in the first place. A home filled with digital devices is also a home that’s at greater risk for web attacks and personal data breaches.

Environmental/Energy Causes

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Society assumes that as the progress of technology escalates life will be better. However, better doesn’t always associate with beneficial. Throughout history we have seen the implications of rising innovations that seem to have a lot of promise but in the long run resort to negative results. A majority of these consequences reflect on what is happening with global warming. Environmental concerns have been growing especially in the last few years and major corporations have been trying to implement sustainable products in the market to invigorate a “go green” mentality. Although this type of effort has many positives there are a few weak standpoints for society. Like many other emerging technologies it is not cheap to be on the frontlines of obtaining all the newest and greenest products.

Many Americans can’t afford the “Energy Star” appliances and most of the time resort to getting the less expensive option. Moreover, Like the new iPhone, it is almost dizzying with all the new products coming out every year. The more options and models exist the more people will be succumb to buying more. Traditionally, a kitchen doesn’t need an excessive amount of appliances but now culture has demanded more is better. And when you think logically about that behavior it has environmental effects. The more appliances a kitchen has the more energy it will consume no matter if they’re energy efficient or not. With more energy being consumed more coal is burned and more greenhouse gasses are emitted.

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Furthermore, the idea of the “kitchen of the future” focused on minimal sleek appliances. It’s focus seems to surround high efficient appliances that transcend the traditional behavior in the kitchen. Thus induction stove tops are more enticing. However, it has been suggested that buying a gas range stove rather than electric ultimately is better of the environment because natural gas is, for one, a cheaper source of energy and also cleaner.

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In Conclusion, similar to other things in life society should not take things to the extreme. The Kitchen of the Future should envelope a balance of traditional and modern, keeping the meaning of the kitchen as a social center for the home but also focusing on new methods of sustainability. It is a good thing that the way people are starting to consider energy efficiency and sustainability in their day-to-day lives.

Bibbliography:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenniferhicks/2016/12/21/this-small-device-detects-cyber-threats-in-your-smart-home-devices/#4ad90b185a77

http://refrigerators.reviewed.com/news/samsung-smart-fridge-vulnerable-to-gmail-hack

https://www.brickunderground.com/troubleshooting/cyber-security-for-apartments

https://www.fisherpaykel.com/us/experience/articles/the-changing-nature-of-the-kitchen.html

http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/technology-can-have-positive-and-negative-impact-on-social-interactions

https://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/which-greener-gas-or-electric-stove.html

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