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More about the dream house of the future

It knows what you're thinking, so keep it clean


(Editor's note: This is the second of two parts. Read Part One.)

Stage 4 -- Smart Home

As smart home devices become smarter, they will begin to shift from simply responding to a condition, to anticipating what’s next. A smart anticipatory home will not only know what mood you’re in, but will also anticipate what kind of music, lighting, and fire in the fireplace will suit your needs.

These homes will have the intelligence to know both where you are, and who you are, building complicated anticipatory profiles for everyone who walks in the front door, keeping rooms tidy, picked up, and clean at all times.

Stage 5 – Self-Sufficient Home

In stage 5 we are finally getting to the point where homes not only create their own power, heat, air-conditioning, and water, but also manage their own trash, sewage, external communications, and more.

Going a few steps further, a self-sufficient home will also have the ability to grow and harvest food, and prepare it for human consumption.

Stage 6 – Morphing Home

While this may be difficult for most to imagine, the morphing home will seem alive as it actually changes its size and shape to better accommodate our lifestyle. As an example, if you’re hosting a party, some rooms will expand while others contract to form the best possible spaces for the event. Eventually, even outer walls will have the ability to shift, change color, and expand according to the needs of the inhabitants.

Stage 7 – Symbiotic Relationship Home

Crafted with organic matter, these homes will harbor a companionship type of relationship with their residents, responding to pain and injury by producing healing environments, altering oxygen levels, and producing salves and ointments seemingly from thin air.

A symbiotic home is also a talking home, conversationally literate, able to communicate through words and actions regardless of age, ethnicity, language, or profession.

Stage 8 – Self-Actualization House

This final stage puts it all together, combining the symbiotic relationship that we form with our home, anticipating our needs, morphing itself in shape and size, creating it’s own power, lights, music, media, and communication with the rest of the world, as our daily living becomes second nature. Our homes become an integral part of who we are, our friend and confidant, an extension of our humanness, attentive to our desires, but knowing when we’ve reached our limits.

In a form of grid communication system self-actualization houses will have the ability to communicate with neighboring self-actualization houses, detecting changes in surrounding condition, anticipating dangers, tracking lost children and pets, and building resilience into every possible lifestyle.

Moving past the point of sensors, apps, devices, and mechanical hardware, the self-actualization house will become a living, breathing extension of who we are, amplifying our desires, assisting in our accomplishments, and tending to our needs so we can become we can better fulfill our aspirations.

In short, the self-actualization house will make you a better you.

Final Thoughts

On the day we’re born, we begin to form a relationship with the home we live in. As youngsters growing up, our home is our universe, our fortress, our source of food and family, and the place we spend most of our sleeping and waking hours.

As we get older, the home serves more as a base station, where we periodically check in, but it’s the place where we keep our belongings, our entertainment, and a central gathering place for the rest of our family.

Those of us without a stable home life know how disconcerting it can be as we form temporary attachments to places that provide shelter and separate attachments to places where we find food, heat, and social connections.

People without a stable base of operation have difficulty forming the foundational underpinnings for themselves to personally climb the Maslow hierarchy of need.

For this reason, the home should never be considered the soulless commodity that it is today. Rather, the further we can move our homes up the pyramid of need, the closer we get to achieving self-actualization ourselves.

We have great difficulty imagining a future home with these types of capabilities.

My goal in writing this column has been to help think beyond the incremental accomplishments of advanced living. Admittedly, these brief descriptions are a crude way of describing each of the stages and the steps necessary to move beyond the traditional “home as shelter” thinking.

At the same time, I’d love to hear your thoughts, what’s missing, oversimplified, out of order, or completely wrongheaded. This idea came from a middle of the night epiphany and I rarely grasp the big picture with that kind of initial inspiration.

But keep in mind, my house will know who you are and what you’re really thinking, so keep it clean.

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Thomas Frey

Thomas Frey is the executive director and senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute and currently Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.  At the Institute, he has developed original research studies, enabling him to speak on unusual topics, translating trends into unique opportunities. Tom continually pushes the envelope of understanding, creating fascinating images of the world to come.  His talks on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high level of government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies including NASA, IBM, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Unilever, GE, Blackmont Capital, Lucent Technologies, First Data, Boeing, Ford Motor Company, Qwest, Allied Signal, Hunter Douglas, Direct TV, Capital One, National Association of Federal Credit Unions, STAMATS, Bell Canada, American Chemical Society, Times of India, Leaders in Dubai, and many more. Before launching the DaVinci Institute, Tom spent 15 years at IBM as an engineer and designer where he received over 270 awards, more than any other IBM engineer.

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