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Crazed CEOs Adding AI to Home Appliances

Dumb House

Wild-eyed execs have been eager to inject AI all over the workplace, drawing jeers from naysayers who think the tech is overblown, imperfectly implemented, and that ultimately it's a tool being cruelly used to replace human workers with no benefit to customers.

Well, get ready for more AI because CEOs at appliance companies want to put AI in your oven and other household items, Forbes reports, which sounds like a privacy and functionality hellscape waiting to happen.

"Generative AI in your oven? Why not?" writes tech influencer and self-proclaimed futurist Bernard Marr in a Forbes column dripping with AI enthusiasm. "After all, AI has been creeping into our homes for years (think smart lightbulbs and Alexa) — but thanks to generative AI, these interactions will become even more human and more personal."

Marr says GE Appliances is pushing AI into its SmartHQ app in the form of a system to analyze the food inside your fridge and come up with recipes for meals. And appliance manufacturer Miele also wants to put AI into a smart cooking assistant that would suggest cooking instructions along with help from built-in cameras in an oven.

Always Watching

This all sounds wonderful, portending a future like the classic cartoon The Jetsons and their trusty smart maid, Rosie the Robot.

But there are problems with putting AI in household appliances.

It's true that Internet of Things devices have steadily crept into our homes, most notably in the form of Amazon's Echo speakers, but they have been notorious for privacy breaches. Adding more technology in the guise of AI to appliances can conceivably make privacy issues an even bigger problem. Imagine malicious hackers stealing your personal data and taking over cameras in your home gadgets.

There are also mundane problems with connected devices. They're prone to obsolescence, they fill up your phone with proprietary apps, they often stop working if the internet goes out, and they need to be reset every time there's a power outage. There are whole threads on Reddit and even a notorious Twitter account dedicated to hating smart appliances.

"The Internet of Things. I hate this crap myself. Why do kitchen appliances need an internet connection? Why do washers and dryers? Why do door locks and light switches?" rants one Redditor.

Maybe the tech will sell some pricey fridges. Whether customers will still be wowed in five years is another question entirely.

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