November 7, 2023
We’ve all heard so much lately about Artificial Intelligence, or AI. I’ve found it means different things to different people. In its simplest terms, Artificial intelligence is the science of making machines that can think like humans — doing things that are considered ‘smart.’ But AI technology can also process large amounts of data in ways humans can’t. The goal for AI is to be able to do things such as recognize patterns, make decisions, and judge like humans.
Generative artificial intelligence is artificial intelligence capable of learning the patterns and structure of their input data and then generating new data that has similar characteristics. In other words, Generative AI is a technology that can produce various types of content, including text, imagery, audio and synthetic data.
Generative AI, when integrated into the smart home ecosystem, has the potential to make daily life more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable. Generative AI has the potential to enhance the smart home experience in many ways:
Generative AI can analyze a user’s behavior and preferences over time to create personalized automation routines. For example, it can learn when you like to wake up, adjust the thermostat accordingly, and even brew your coffee just in time.
Natural Language Interfaces
Generative AI can improve voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, making them more conversational and better at understanding context. This can lead to more intuitive interactions with your smart home devices.
Generative AI can predict when smart home devices are likely to fail or require maintenance. It can send alerts or schedule repairs before issues become critical, thus ensuring a smoother user experience.
AI algorithms can optimize energy usage by learning your daily routines and adjusting lighting, heating, and cooling accordingly. This not only saves energy but also reduces utility bills.
Generative AI can improve the security of smart homes by continuously monitoring for unusual activity. It can detect potential security breaches and take proactive measures to safeguard your home.
Smart home devices can generate content like music, art, or even recipes using generative AI. This can be a fun and creative addition to your home experience.
AI can be programmed to recognize emotions and adapt the smart home environment accordingly. For instance, it can play soothing music or change the lighting to create a calming atmosphere if it senses stress or anxiety.
AI can adjust lighting to mimic natural light patterns, which can improve your mood and circadian rhythms. This is especially beneficial for people who spend a lot of time indoors.
Generative AI can monitor your health and provide insights or alerts. For example, it can remind you to take medication, measure vital signs, or suggest exercise routines based on your health data.
AI can generate personalized content recommendations for your smart TV or streaming services based on your viewing history and preferences. It can also create virtual reality or augmented reality experiences for entertainment.
Generative AI can assist in the care of elderly family members by monitoring their activities, reminding them of medication, and alerting caregivers in case of emergencies.
AI can help manage your smart refrigerator and pantry, keeping track of inventory and creating shopping lists. It can even place orders automatically for items you frequently use.
AI can keep track of your home’s maintenance needs and even schedule appointments with service providers for tasks like cleaning, lawn care, or repairs.
Generative AI can provide insights into your home’s environmental impact, including carbon footprint and energy consumption. It can suggest eco-friendly practices and adjustments to minimize your environmental footprint.
During its annual hardware event last month, Amazon impressed everyone with an introduction to a new, generative AI-powered Alexa that could carry on conversations like a fully voiced ChatGPT. An interesting application of this is Amazon’s Explore with Alexa, a kid-oriented ‘conversational experience’ that allows children to ‘engage in a curiosity-driven, kid-friendly chat with Alexa.’
To those parents out there who are afraid that Alexa and her new generative AI integration might influence their children around negative behavior or convince them to run away from home, don’t worry. The guardrails on this ‘conversational experience’ are so high and so strong, the only risk to your kids is that they may prefer it over TV or video games.
For those curious how it works, first, you’ll need an Amazon Kids+ subscription. Kids+ offers access to thousands of Kindle books, games, videos, music, and more, all aimed at preteen and younger children. The service costs $7.99 a month, or $4.99 for Prime members. You’ll also need to use an Echo speaker that’s signed into a child account. A new Echo for kids is available — Echo Pop Kids, which comes in two designs — Marvel’s Avengers and Disney Princess — for $49.99, which includes six months of Amazon Kids+. Once you’re on an Amazon kids profile, you can launch Explore with Alexa by saying, ‘Alexa, let’s explore animals,’ or ‘Alexa, tell me an animal fact.’
Regarding Amazon’s use of generative AI and kids, a recent statement from Amazon should set parents at ease:
With new advances in generative AI, Alexa can now generate content faster and at scale, with the Amazon Kids team in the loop throughout the process. Building on our long-term commitment to preserve the trust of our customers and their families, Explore with Alexa puts trust and safety at the forefront, as well. This purposeful approach to integrating AI is one of multiple trust and safety guardrails that we’ve put in place for kids. Alexa also gracefully redirects kids back to the conversation at hand and away from inappropriate or sensitive content.
There seems to be a long list of benefits of generative AI but it’s essential to consider privacy and security concerns when implementing AI in the home, as these technologies often involve the collection and analysis of personal data. It may be a simple lack of information or education but a recent report found that Americans are increasingly concerned about how companies use our data.
The research found that 70% of respondents who’ve heard of AI have ‘little to no trust in companies to make responsible decisions about how they use it in their products.’ Four out of five say AI will lead to their personal information being used in ways they didn’t intend. Americans resoundingly lack faith in companies to handle the technology responsibly.
Those suspicions could prove a problem as businesses of all kinds rush to implement generative AI across everything from customer service to hiring. The good news for them is that 62% of Americans expect companies to use it to make people’s lives easier.
It’s probably no surprise that there’s overwhelming support for stricter laws around how companies handle their customers’ personal information. Around 72% of Americans want more regulation in this area. As this new technology offers both benefits and a dark side you can bet there will be plenty of scrutiny around how it’s used and potential legislation around data use and applications.
What do you think about generative AI? It may surprise you to know you’ve may have already interacted with it and don’t even realize it. Do the benefits outweigh the potential issues? Would you support services used by your kids like ‘Explore with Alexa’ or care of elderly family members? What about managing your daily schedule or automating smart home devices? Obviously there are a lot of things to consider her.
Let Debbie and I know what you think in the comments, DMs and emails as we really enjoy hearing from you. Thanks again to all those following Debbie and I through our home building journey. It’s great to hear your success stories and suggestions as we move through the process. And if you like the content I’m posting each week, don’t forget to ‘Like’ and ‘Follow.’
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