Yesterday I needed to see something in a darkened corner of my office. I reached into my pocket, pulled out my iPhone5, held the button that summons Siri, and said, "Flashlight."

Suddenly the corner lit up. Holy frickin' Apple genius! Siri found my flashlight app and turned it on.

My phone and I experienced. . . a. . . moment. I swear it felt like love. Literally. There was just something so accommodating and surprising about the flashlight working exactly as I hoped it would. I use Siri often, but usually just for setting an alarm or sending a quick text message. Those situations are cool and often convenient, but they do not feel like love. I expect Siri to do voice-to-text, and I expect it to set my alarm clock on command. What I didn't expect is that my command "Let there be light" would be obeyed. It made me feel godlike. In all seriousness, it was a rush.

I realize that this sounds like an Apple commercial, but I remind you of my history of despising most Apple products. Every Mac I've owned had been a lemon. My first iPhone was a total disaster. The iTunes interface is a mess that looks a Microsoft product from the nineties. My original version iPad pisses me off every day. Prior to the flashlight moment I had resisted Steve Jobs' Rasputin-like powers of seduction that now extend beyond the grave.

I own Apple stock because it seems underpriced, but I've never been a fan of the products despite buying them far too often. The iPhone5 changed that. It is an extraordinary feat of engineering. I am not kidding when I say I feel emotion for it. The designers and engineers at Apple have crossed some sort of psychological barrier that will someday be recognized as one of the great transitions in civilization. They literally engineered love. And by that I mean they created a device that stimulates my body chemistry in a way that feels somewhat similar to love. And I think that accomplishment will someday be seen as a bigger deal than we recognize today.

Suppose someday an industry standard is created to promote this sort of machine-generated love. The standard would simply allow anything in your environment - from your automobile to the rooms in your home - to respond to you individually, immediately, and sometimes surprisingly, the way an iPhone5 does. And perhaps the environment could be interacting with the smartphone in my pocket to make some of those actions a reality.

Suppose you had an industry standard for light bulbs and light switches that allowed any room to sense who is in it and convey that information to the electronics and other appliances in the home. Wifi-enabled light bulbs already exist, so this isn't a stretch. Let's say your light switch can detect motion and heat, so it knows when a room is occupied. It can also do facial recognition via its Internet connection. It knows who belongs in the house, including friends. It can pick up Bluetooth signals from phones that come near. Your phone also uses its GPS to tell the room it is near. The cloud holds my list of personal preferences, so as I move from room to room, my environment conforms to me.

The lighting adjusts to my preferences when I enter, and shuts off when I leave. If more than one person is in the room, the system intelligently negotiates priorities. For example, if one person is located in a bed, the room light will stay off when a new person enters.

My heating and cooling adjust according to who is in the house and what time it is. Even the curtains are automated.

According to my profile in the cloud, my television turns on if I am near it in my house between 9 pm and 11 pm in the evening. The screen goes to the DVR recording page and shows only the shows I liked enough to record. As I walk from room to room, the show follows me to each TV and pauses while I'm in hallways or the bathroom.

I walk to my computer and it knows who I am before I even touch it. No password needed. The screen pops to attention as I approach it.

Someone rings the doorbell and both my phone and TV present a picture of who is at the door. No cameras needed. The doorbell sensor identifies the visitor, either by facial recognition or by his phone's signal, and his profile picture is sent to the TV and my phone. His phone and mine are automatically connected through the cloud. I just say, "Come on in, Bob. The door is unlocked." It's not actually unlocked until I say it. The home listens to me, understands the context, and unlocks the door electronically.

When Skype-like functions are on every television, and there's a flat screen on every wall, all you need is your Bluetooth earpiece and the walls will seem to respond to you. Say, "Call Shelly" and the nearest TV fires up a Skype call. Whatever room Shelly is in, anywhere in the world, fires up the nearest TV screen and connects my call. If she's walking down a public street, the street cams show on my TV, switching from one to another as she walks and talks.

My dog's collar also has a location sensor and a speaker. I say aloud, "Where is the dog" and the house says, "The dog is in the kitchen."

Most of what I described is unsurprising to any sci-fi fan. It's the sort of thing we've seen predicted for decades. All I'm adding to the conversation is two notions:

1.       Done right, the user will feel something closer to love than simple convenience. Apple has shown that to be possible.

2.       To get to that awesome future, the world probably needs some sort of an industry standard for sensing human locations, identifying people, accessing each person's profile in the cloud, and negotiating preferences when there is more than one person in the room. And you probably need some standards for user interfaces that are common across all devices.

This is one case in which I'd like to see an activist government organizing industry players to create such a standard. Imagine the economic growth that could happen as the world transitions from our current heartless environment to one in which every room and every device shows you love the way an iPhone5 does.

I also think this future world of machine loving will be a partial cure for loneliness. This will seem like a stretch, but hear me out. When I lost my ability to speak for over three years, I felt lonely even in a room full of people. It turns out that you can only cure loneliness by feeling heard, not by hearing others. My iPhone5 hears me and does its best to understand and respond. When my entire environment starts acting the same way, I think I'll feel less lonely even when no other human is in the room. I'll feel heard, even if only by a set of connected machines.

I think the future for senior citizens will be bleak until this sort of technology arrives. Every elderly person I know is severely bored and lonely. It is human nature for young people to prefer spending time with other young people and to limit their time with the old. I think it will be a huge boon to the elderly to live in a machine-love world in which their environment responds to them, and they can connect to any living person with just a verbal command.

Machine love: It's the future.

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Oct 27, 2012
I think you touched upon some essential emotions when describing the moment when something worked exactly as you hoped it would when you needed it to. And while this moment will become more routine as time passes, that first time hits a sweet spot.

And while I love the integration Google is brining with their services and products, Apple has managed to capture that physical rush that, while not universal across their products, fuels the passions of many of their fans. I think that is why they have so many passionate supporters. They are chasing that initial rush of 'Holy cow. That did just happen.' they may have gotten from another product of theirs.

Apple did it for me with the iPad and managing to capture every adolescent desire I had to have that Star Trek-like hand held computer. I dig your mouth music, Scott!
Oct 27, 2012
All will be well, until you meet Techno Bill coming the other way with his vastly superior technology. Because as we all know where there is love, there lives the green eyed god, biding her time before she works her wickedness.
Oct 27, 2012
Apple must coat their products with psychoreactive goofy dust. There is no other way to explain how a light on your phone can seem impressive. Next thing you know, you phone will contain an alarm clock!!!
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 27, 2012
It sounds like Scott Potter stroke back...

Oct 27, 2012
"Suppose you had an industry standard for light bulbs and light switches..." - well, there's "ZigBee", the thing you have in smart meters, works in the 2.4 GHz wireless range. Each light, thermostat, electronic device, etc. gets a ZigBee transceiver, then you add some gateway with local web access to control it all - the price needs to come down first (still > $3 per transceiver I think?) but I think it's close to being economically feasible, marketable, and possible. Some hotels use ZigBee already.
Oct 27, 2012
Thought provoking, but how does this square with your doctrine that "overcomplexity is killing us"?
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
Aw heck, the house you describe is mainly available. If you have $300,000 laying around!
It will only be 10 years until your dream is widely available. But it will be 50 years before people like myself can afford it. Too bad. I'll be dead. :(
Oct 26, 2012
@whtllnew, When I first started up win 8 all I could do is repeat WTF. After a month on my laptop I like it more than 7. The beauty of it is the cross platform ease. PC, tablet, phone and xbox all with the same interface and compatibility. Let alone the android market blowing the iStuff out of the water performance and feature wise. With that said do you see any upcoming apple products that are not more of the same?
Oct 26, 2012
Hehe. Your blog thinks your wife's name is a naughty word. :)
Oct 26, 2012
If !$%*!$ is having an affair she might not want the nearest TV to connect to her. This means people might want a way to disable that feature, but disabling it would be almost an admission of guilt.
Oct 26, 2012

[As history repeats itself Microsoft is about to bring down the Steve-less apple... The win 8 surface is a good start, it lacks a bit currently but is a good start. Paired with android tabs I do not see apple sustaining it's peak share price.]

A bit early to be saying that. I had a similar thought regarding Wendys after the death of Dave Thomas, and they seem to be doing fine. And NBC.com has an article about how Microsoft is !$%*!$%* up win 8.
Oct 26, 2012
Creature comforts is what you are describing.

Your abundance of good-will is directed at a non-sentience.

At some point all that faux emotion will be normalized, and these machines contributions will be taken for granted.

The eventual assignment of benefactor status will be big brother. A love-hate relationship that cynics have plenty of ammo to back them up.

Periodic bumps in quality of life tech advances just become the new standard over time.

Sometimes your schemes seem like a focus group for how free ppl would respond to NWO. Noone is going to give steve jobs credit or even 1 company or even 1 industry. They will give credit to whoever has ultimate power over the advances and own individual independence to choose their own actions. most likely a govt.
Oct 26, 2012
But if Siri doesn't know how to turn on the flashlight, can you teach her? Why not?
+18 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
"Every Mac I've owned had been a lemon. My first iPhone was a total disaster. The iTunes interface is a mess that looks a Microsoft product from the nineties. My original version iPad pisses me off every day. Prior to the flashlight moment I had resisted Steve Jobs' Rasputin-like powers of seduction that now extend beyond the grave."

If buying multiple Macs, an iPad and iPhone, and using iTunes is resisting Jobs' powers, what does drinking the Kool Aid look like?
+6 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
great idea. I had it back in 1987. so have thousands of others, upon first using the voice recognition software that people have been working on for a very long time. I think "Dragon Naturally Speaking" (http://www.nuance.com/) is the leading commercial product out there, but I could be wrong as there are so many.

for reference, see: http://www.dragon-medical-transcription.com/history_speech_recognition.html

Now that the software and hardware have matured enough on these relatively old concepts, we can start to make new applications on top of them. Real voice recognition, so that the computer knows who is speaking without the need for clumsy blue-tooth sets within my home, for example. Another application to determine which of the receivers (aka microphones) that are seamlessly implanted within the walls and air ducts of my home is getting the strongest signal, so it can know what room I am in. So when I say "computer, turn on the lights" it knows that it is me, who is allowed to command it, and that I am in the living room and not the kitchen. This is easily translated into any household command, from ordering groceries using the internet, to turning on the fireplace, to shutting the garage door, or having a robot the knows the pattern of your lawn, driveway and sidewalks to mow in the summer, rake in the fall, and shovel snow in the winter.

I like it when ideas I had 25 years ago are brought to the surface again. I just didn't have the means to implement it on a large scale back then, and only implemented it in my parents house in Virginia for things like turning on/off lights and recipes and tvs.

Implementation and the means to run forward with it are king.
Oct 26, 2012
Chobits, you know you want one:

Wait, we aren't talking about that kind of love? This is awkward...

I'd still want one though... -,-

Then the military's new toy destroys everything we worked for and replaced other humans with. :(
Oct 26, 2012
As history repeats itself Microsoft is about to bring down the Steve-less apple... The win 8 surface is a good start, it lacks a bit currently but is a good start. Paired with android tabs I do not see apple sustaining it's peak share price.
+7 Rank Up Rank Down
Oct 26, 2012
Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do.....
Oct 26, 2012
linux, adrino... open source can be used with android (semi-open).


@brian_e, literal lol.
Oct 26, 2012
Dang! It just hit me! If your investment strategy is to buy stock in companies you hate this means you should sell your Apple stock now doesn't it? Since you've fallen under their spell.
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