Home of the future - Channel 4, Sunday, 7.30pm
A programme I watched yesterday about the Perera family from Sheffield. Their house was given a £250,000 gadget makeover to transform it in to the home of the future. With such a large family living under one roof, the programme showed how each person would benefit from future technology. Part of me was jealous of them but the more I watched the programme the more I realised such a home wouldn’t be that great.
With a large family the mum takes on a lot of responsibilities around the house and although technology would make her life easier she is slightly sceptical. When she first saw the new house she broke down in to tears because all the personality had been sucked out of it. Everything was white and didn’t look very cosy at all.
A key thing that all homes are predicted to have in the future is a ‘home automation system’ which controls everything in the house from the lights to the TV. I can see some of the tech was quite useful e.g a snore stopper whereas others were not necessary. The father used a self-driven lawnmower while watching TV, which to me is just pain lazy and he looks like he needs the exercise. Another useless gadget from the programme was a mirror that gives you facebook and twitter updates while you brush your teeth????
4 miles of cables were used all together in the experiment and the electricity usage increased by 40%. I don’t blame the father for going round the house before bed turning everything off at the mains. Because of the massive amount of electricity used, the house had to have solar panels and it’s own personal power station in the garage to offset the costs.
I still live at home and I can see the effect technology has on my younger brother and sister. It creates less interaction between family members and staring at screens all day is becoming more common. As soon as they get in from school the computer/ games console goes on for the rest of the night. It made me realise just how much time I spend online. It’s not great for your health either, with increased risk of headaches, eyesight problems and obesity.
The programme showed a new development in self operated public transport, which will cut a lot of jobs that this country needs. Many big car manufacturers are already testing autonomous vehicles and scientists estimate that self-driven trucks could be introduced as soon as 2019. One question I had was how reliable can all this technology be? Can it really replace a human?
This also links to Alan Turing who was one of the first to discover the potential of the computer “Can machines think?” and pioneered the phrase ‘artificial intelligence’.
Over the Christmas and New Year break I got the chance to watch a few Japanese Anime films. Not usually my kind of genre but some of these Studio Ghibli features are incredible. Hayao Miyazaki is the famous co-founder of Studio Ghibli and director of many of its films. I saw Spirited Away on TV a few years ago and thought it was so good that I bought myself the DVD. The style of animation is unlike anything I’ve seen before. I would describe it as a mix between Pokemon and the original Disney style. You get sucked in to the weird and wonderful world the characters live in and you believe the creatures exist in real life. In Spirited Away a girl called Chihiro gets lost in an abandoned theme park which at night tuns in to a land of strange spirits where she becomes trapped. In order to escape she must work for an evil witch who runs the bathhouse for the spirits. When released, the film became the most successful in Japanese history winning an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature 2002. Definitely the best animated film I’ve ever seen!
Over the festive season Film 4 screened a different Ghibli Film each night all broadcast in the original Japanese with English subtitles. It started with the latest release Ponyo. Telling the story of a human faced fish forming a friendship with a young boy after saving her. The relationship causes the fish to grow human limbs and is eventually adopted by the boys mother. My descriptions don’t give the film justice but I don’t want to give the plot away. If you get the chance these are a must see.
The other films I watched were Laputa, Totoro, Only Yesterday, The Cat Returns and Tales from Earthsea.