Technology Caves by Scott Adams
Posted June 17, 2011 in: #General Nonsense
I think the future is technology caves. You can get the advantages of a large home in a small space if you make clever use of technology and you design the space to fit the way modern families live.
For privacy in a small home, you’d want to soundproof the bedrooms and bathrooms. Much of the benefit of a big house is being out of hearing range of other people. Soundproofing probably adds 30% to the cost of the room, but it saves money if it allows you to make the home half as big and just as livable.
You’d want to locate these technology caves in towers or wherever you can find dramatic views. You won’t feel claustrophobic if you have wall-sized views of the great outdoors. Add a large flat screen TVs to a bedroom wall, doubling as a computer monitor, and you’ll have a technology cave that no kid will want to leave. With the right equipment, you’ll be able to stream movies, play video games, Skype, text, and access the Internet, all with one big screen and a wireless keyboard. Put surround sound speakers in the walls, and a microphone in the keyboard, and you have it all. I’d also design the sound system to automatically mute (as a preference option) whenever the door is opened, so the sound doesn’t blast into the other spaces.
The technology cave would have an oversized kitchen at its core, with a center island that seats six or more. There was a time when you needed a formal dining room for entertaining. But that level of formality is heading toward extinction. So delete the dining room and make the kitchen oversized. Everyone loves being in the kitchen with the action and the food.
Just off the kitchen, and open to it, would be what I’ll call a general utility room. It’s a combination of a home theater, a living room, and a family room. Normally you wouldn’t see a high end home theater system in a small home, but for $25K or so, wrapped into the mortgage, you could double the enjoyment your family gets from the common space.
Every home in the future should have some sort of office workstation setup, perhaps with two computer workstations. You could design the office to double as a guest room and a second gathering space. I can imagine the desk area being located on a raised floor a few feet above the rest of the room so you can store a bed beneath it. When guests come, just wheel it out. Office hours are generally different from sleeping hours, so one space could handle most needs.
Garages might be unnecessary in the future, except for storage. If you design a city from scratch, public transportation will get the job done.
In the past, the square footage of a home was probably the single biggest factor in determining its level of comfort and livability. Today, technology and a growing trend toward informality make the size of the home less important. You can get to the same level of livability at lower cost by putting your money into room design, sound proofing, and technology. My best guess is that a technology cave could achieve the same level of livability as a McMansion, at a quarter of the price.
I predict that someday you’ll see a technology company such as Apple or Google get into the residential technology cave business. The traditional residential construction industry will never embrace smaller homes with better technology. The change will have to come from another industry.
via dilbert blog
Posted August 18, 2008 in: #General Nonsense
I’ve written about this before, but it’s interesting to see the technology coming together to make it feasible. The idea is that people will start living on barge-like boats and slowly motor or sail around the ocean to stay in the best weather.
You’d need a number of technologies to make this feasible, and all of them either exist or soon will. Obviously you want solar power, and some method of storing the energy for night, such as this: http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html
You’d need a desalinization device, GPS, and some sort of satellite Internet service. And you’d probably need some serious waste treatment gear.
The reason I think the future will be barges instead of standard boats is that you can start small and add real estate as you can afford it. Just connect a new barge and presto. And you can dock to other barges to create temporary or permanent communities. If the barges are designed to be connected, according to some common standard, the entire city can move around to the best weather and fishing spots as needed.
The reason I think this will be a compelling lifestyle is that you won’t have to pay much in taxes if you live and work in international waters. And there will be no government to squelch your freedoms, unless you choose to form one. Big countries will have no compelling reason to conquer your barge, or even your barge city, because it will have no strategic value.
With scale, you get floating hospitals and schools and all the other services you need. The big problem would be pirates. But there is a theoretical amount of firepower that makes that risk manageable too. You could have your own surveillance drones that warn you well in advance of any company.
I think it will happen.