Workshop 8

Why is technology invading our kitchens? 

Amy Coët
21 April 2015

Technology and design: Smart Manager Fridge by LGSeen on the side of a Melbourne bus: an advertisement for some new phone product, which read: “You can now send a photo from your phone to your fridge.”

Great. I would have preferred it if they had invented a way to send a 6-pack from the fridge to the phone, but I suppose it’s a start.

But seriously: why?

I’m sure there are plenty of sensible reasons why we need fridges with built-in computers, mobile phones that can take photographs, and the internet-based technology to link the two, but I can’t think of any. It’s bad enough that we are chained to them (computers and phones that is, not fridges) all day, without having them follow us home and into the kitchen, which was, until recently the one digital-free zone left in the house. Does this development mean we will soon have to log on to the fridge? If so, when I raid the fridge in the middle of the night, will it now have the potential to refuse to open for me because I unwittingly used up all my online time downloading beers during the football? Will I experience mysterious fridge drop-outs during which I won’t be able to open the fridge at all?

I would feel more at ease if the advertisement on the bus had gone on to tell me just what sort of picture I, or others, might want to send to my fridge. Will my fridge be spammed by porno-types hoping to entice me to their sites by sending me pictures of some ladies’ thingies? At work, will the noticeboard full of photocopied bottoms be replaced by a fridge loaded with digital-phone pics of bottoms instead?

Help me here; I can’t see anything but trouble coming as a result of this latest advance.

Yet another complication designed to make life easier.

Easier for whom? This time last week the only pictures on my fridge were drawn by little children. Should I be tripping down to the kindergarten and snapping junior’s paintings with my phone and then sending them to the fridge instead of wedging them under the pizza shop’s fridge magnet? Sure it will make the fridge smarter, but then what do I do with the originals?

And then, what am I supposed to do with my fridge magnets? How will local businesses survive without their names being magnetically attached to my fridge door? What about all the people employed in the making of fridge magnets? Surely this spells the end for them. What about the camera people?

Why must everything be capable of interfacing with everything else? Why do all our devices have to be pocket-sized and multi-skilled? How I yearn for a fridge that will just concentrate on keeping things cold, instead of wasting time displaying the airbrushed bits of some porno star.

Life was so much simpler before we had all this labour and time-saving technology. In the good old days the phone was in the hallway and the fridge was in the kitchen. They never met, and as far as I can recall, never intimated that they might want to. They simply got on with their lives, each knowing his or her place in the scheme of things and happy to be in it. There’s a lesson in there for us all.

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