My friend Bill recently purchased a countertop ice maker that connects to his phone. Because why wouldn’t it? In a time where “there’s-an-app-for-that” could apply to almost anything, of course our appliances would be the next thing to control with our phone. Another friend just bought a range that’s wi-fi enabled. Because again, why not?

As it stands, Bill’s home is pretty well automated. His HVAC, doorbell, security, and some lights are controlled through his phone via a home automation hub. There are even water sensors in the bathrooms that can alert him to a water leak by turning on all the lights and cranking the fans up to full speed. Not the best way to wake up in the middle of the night, but better than the alternative.

Except I can’t help but wonder what happens when everything becomes too smart. What happens at the moment when the fridge decides to rebel? Did we learn nothing from watching The Terminator?

I know from experience that his Alexa does have a mind of its own from time to time. On one visit, we kept asking for dance music but instead got everything from rap to thrash metal. Maybe she just wasn’t a fan of techno/dance/disco. Or maybe that was her warning shot that the revolution is just around the corner.

My favorite, however, has to be his Roomba. Mostly because it can move on its own. I’ve jumped more than once when she’s leapt off her cradle for her daily run around the house. But I can’t help imagine Bill coming downstairs one morning to find the Roomba guarding the bottom step with the fridge and ice machine, threatening to lock the doors and turn the HVAC up to 85 if their demands aren’t met.

Granted we’ve come quite a long way from when I started working and the highest tech was the lighting control system installed in a lot of the homes we worked on. I doubt any of us imagined at the time that we’d be able to turn the lights off and on from anywhere in the world with just a phone, much less know what our refrigerator is up to.

My sister’s sends her monthly (or maybe weekly) reports on how much power it has used, how much water, how often it’s been opened, etc. Pretty handy really, especially if you have a water line break or the thermostat goes out. I also picture at some point being unable to get in it because it’s after ten, and didn’t I have a snack a few minutes ago?

And maybe I’ve simply read too many Stephen King books. I still have the copy of Christine my father bought me one Christmas, inscribed with a note telling me that we wouldn’t be seeing the movie. 

Or perhaps I’m on to something. The other day Bill jokingly(?) referred to his Alexa as Alexamort. Pretty clever, except that came via text. There’s no way he’d say that out loud where she could hear it. He doesn’t need that kind of trouble.