mart Kitchens A Tough Sell, But Tech Tries 科技產品 進攻你家廚房
On a recent Saturday night, German Salazar made chicken tacos for his friends while they chatted with him in his kitchen. Occasionally, he interrupted the conversation to talk to another friend: Google.
Salazar was speaking to Google Home, the artificially intelligent speaker living on his kitchen counter. “Hey Google, set a timer for 20 minutes,” he said, to activate a countdown for when the chicken would be cooked and ready for shredding.
At first, Salazar’s friends snickered when he talked to the speaker. But after a few bottles of wine, everyone began grilling Google Home with questions and requests: “How much did Jamie Lee Curtis make in ‘True Lies’?” and “Tell me a joke.”
For many people, the kitchen is the center of the home and a locus for interactions that go beyond preparing and eating food. Now tech companies and appliance makers, aiming to deepen their relationships with customers, are increasingly targeting the room that is synonymous with togetherness.
Household brands like Whirlpool, Samsung and Bosch are racing against tech behemoths like Google and Amazon to dominate the kitchen with internet-connected appliances and cooking gadgets that include refrigerators embedded with touch screens, smart dishwashers and connected countertop screens with artificially intelligent assistants that react to spoken commands.
Yet the “smart kitchen” remains a tough sell. With the kitchen often a hub for families and friends, habits there can be hard to change. And many people see the kitchen and mealtimes as a haven from their otherwise always-connected lifestyle. Only 5 percent of U.S. households own smart appliances today, up from 3 percent in 2014, according to the research firm Parks Associates.
“Will we see a reinvention of the kitchen like we saw in the living room?” said Michael Wolf, a tech analyst who hosts a podcast and a conference about the smart kitchen. “I don’t think it will happen overnight. There’s going to be a lot of skepticism.”
Apart from their fears of disrupting the rhythms and patterns in the heart of the home, people may be hesitant to incorporate smart devices into their kitchens because of the costs of maintaining such appliances, which are often difficult to repair and use expensive components like touch screens. They also may worry about longevity: A touch-screen refrigerator may look modern today, but who knows how dated it may appear in five years?
And with many smart kitchen appliances incorporating internet connections, cameras or microphones, digital privacy has become a concern.
Last year, Israeli police officers raided a Bedouin village in the Negev desert called Umm al-Hiran. Israeli authorities said that during the raid a villager had purposely run over an Israeli officer, killing him. They called it a terrorist attack. The villager died at the scene. Silent police helicopter footage seemed to show his car accelerating into the officer.
Forensic Architecture uncovered a different story.
You may recall Forensic Architecture from headlines a few years back. It investigated the killing of two Palestinian teenagers in the West Bank. Local and international media crews were on hand when the teenagers were killed. Security cameras recorded the shootings. At first, Israel’s minister of defense said the teenagers had been throwing Molotov cocktails at Israeli soldiers, despite security footage showing otherwise. The minister said the footage had been doctored.
Forensic Architecture combed through the videos and social media posts. Using architectural rendering software, it pieced together a computer model of the site and tracked the trajectory of the bullets. That pinpointed the soldier who fired them and the weapon he used. Comparing acoustic signatures, Forensic Architecture then matched the fatal shots to the distinct sounds of live ammunition, contradicting the military’s claim that only rubber bullets had been fired. All this contributed to Israeli officials reversing themselves, and charging the soldier with manslaughter.
A survey of Forensic Architecture’s work is now on view at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, through May 6. A collaborative of designers, filmmakers, coders, archaeologists, psychologists and others, based at Goldsmiths, University of London, Forensic Architecture acts more or less like a detective agency. It partners with groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. Its funders include the European Research Council. And its investigations are whodunits. Eyal Weizman, an Israeli-British architect, is the group’s founder and resident Columbo.
Instead of creating a house or skyscraper, the group scours for evidence of lies, crimes and human rights violations — combining the spatial and engineering skills of architects, the data-gathering prowess of librarians, the doggedness of investigative journalists and the storytelling finesse of screenwriters. Its reports have annoyed Germany’s Christian Democratic Union party, frustrated Bashar Assad, Syria’s president, provoked an attack from Vladimir Putin’s Russia Today news service, and infuriated officials in Israel.