Photo By: Dan Lefebvre from Unsplash
Has something ever made you feel really old and out of the loop? Some new slang or a song you’ve never heard, maybe?
For me, the thing that made me feel like I had aged rapidly and missed about 10 years of technology was trying to do a load of laundry at my parents’ house a few weeks ago and coming to the startling realization that their new dryer has Wi-Fi capabilities.
I had absolutely no idea why a dryer of all things would need to connect to the internet, but it was explained to me that it was a feature on the dryer that allows my family to connect to an app and turn on the dryer when they’re not home. So that mystery was solved. What still remained a mystery to me was how that was useful in any way?
Even if you could start the dryer, say, at work, you’d still have to move a load of laundry from the washer to the dryer in person. There’s no button to take clothes from the washer and put them into the dryer. But even if you put your clothes into the dryer before you left for work and put in the detergent, why didn’t you just start the dryer then?
First it was smart TVs, which made some sense. If your TV connects to the internet, it makes streaming easier. Then there were smart refrigerators, which still baffle me slightly. Smart speakers are fine, I guess, but they do fill me with the fear that one day the robots are going to decide they’ve seen enough and rise up to take us out. Smart watches have their place, counting steps, tracking sleep. But I am absolutely drawing the line at smart dryers.
I am perfectly fine with my dryer being of low or below average intelligence. I don’t need it to connect to the internet or do anything cool. I need a dryer to get really hot and spin my clothes around in a circle for about an hour, that’s it, nothing fancy.
The more I think about it, the less sense it makes to me to turn all appliances “smart”. It’s just a feature that makes everything more expensive and more prone to break. 10 years ago if your dryer broke you could probably fix it yourself with a screwdriver and a quick Google search. Now, you need a computer science degree just to clean the lint trap.
I wouldn’t have as much of a problem with smart appliances if they weren’t becoming the standard. There are always going to be gadget enthusiasts who want everything they own to feel sleek and shiny and cutting edge, and smart appliances do give off that energy. There are other people though, who have no such desire. They want a fridge that keeps their food cold, a speaker that plays music, and a dryer that dries their clothes. It’s becoming harder and harder to find regular old appliances for a reasonable price, as smart appliances are becoming the standard model for quite literally everything.
I do realize that this is another opinion that has turned me into the old man yelling at the clouds from The Simpsons, but I’m tired of all these computers in my house, gosh dang it!