Ars readers react to Smart fridges and the sketchy geography of “normals”

Car day at CES included a quick look at this interesting concept from Toyota.
Jason Inofuentes

Everybody seems to want to sell us a “smart home” these days, but is the all-connected life worth living? Peter Bright answered “no”—at least not when it comes to the kinds of smart home appliances that tech companies are selling nowadays. In his op-ed, Smart TVs, smart fridges, smart washing machines? Disaster waiting to happen, Peter argued that many of the companies proposing these connected machines have a decent track record in producing hardware, but a miserable one producing (and updating) software. A lot of our readers agreed.

Ryoshi wrote, “Why would anyone even remotely familiar with computers and embedded systems think ‘gosh, you know what my kitchen needs? MORE SOFTWARE.’ I mean, shit, my fridge already has plenty of mechanical possible failure points, I see no reason at all to add viruses and software crashes to the list of things that could go catastrophically wrong. Ditto for literally every other appliance I own.” wjousts concurred, “Agree 100 percent. Appliance manufacturers have been trying to sell the ‘smart’ fridge / dishwasher / oven / clothes washer for a least a decade but it’s largely a solution in search of a problem. Who actually needs their fridge to tell them it’s empty? You just open the door and look which is probably something you do every morning anyway. Add in built in obsolescence and it’s hard to see why anybody would want to pay a premium for it?”

AaronLeeR wasn’t so quick to dismiss the idea though:

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