Dirk Knemeyer

Home Automation & Consumer AI

Home Automation & Consumer AI, July 18, 2016

You know, the technology will get more sophisticated and better, but I want it to be really powerful. I don’t want it to have these 5 nice things it does that I’ve memorized, and the only 5 things that I can rely on it for, that amount to things as pedestrian as, “Turn the lights down, please, Alexa.”

It’s this very flat, very limited amount of information, and additionally, it’s not giving context for how I live. I have no idea what the temperature is that leads me to layer, and then unlayer as the day goes on, or I don’t know where the temperature break is where I go from jeans to shorts. I don’t know that in terms of numbers. I know it when I see it, and it would be very easy to program the AI around this stuff, to learn from us, how we respond with simple questions. “Dirk, was it hot or warm or cold for you today?” “It was warm, Alexa.” Now, Alexa knows what I think of as warm. “Dirk, what sort of clothes would you be comfortable wearing today?” “Today felt like a jeans day to me, Alexa.”

Alexa can simply say, “Dirk, it’s going to be a beautiful day out today, however, I recommend you wear jeans, wear 2 to 3 layers, and maybe bring an umbrella, just in case.” That is where value is. If it did that, I would say powerful. If it just spits out “Sunny and 70,” I say bullshit.

Probably the best home automation that’s out there are from companies that nobody’s ever heard of. They don’t happen to have voice interface, the way Alexa does, which is very sizzling and sexy, but does very powerful things around home house control of room by room, not just room by room temperature, but music, coverings, window coverings, status, light status, what movies are being shown all around. That technology’s been out for decades now, and has done very well by workman like companies we’ve never heard of. The big consumer companies we have heard of are going to, I believe, are going to completely outflank them, probably buy them, and take up their infrastructure, and all of that.

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