How We Are Evolving With Our Technology [Future Of Home Living]

How We Are Evolving With Our Technology [Future Of Home Living]

PSFK Labs chats with Ayesha Khanna, director of the Hybrid Reality Institute, on how new technologies are changing the way we interact with our environment.

  • 11 august 2013

As part of our Future of Home Living Series, PSFK Labs reached out to experts to get their take on the changes we’ve identified that are driving the evolution of the home. We recently caught up with Ayesha Khanna, CEO of Urban Intel and Director of the Hybrid Reality Institute, a think tank that explores the practical implications of what she refers to as ‘human-technology co-evolution in the Hybrid Age’. Read our chat with Ayesha below to hear more about how new technologies are changing the way we interact with our environment.

With the explosion of sensor-embedded objects that have moved from simple wearables to products for the home, how does that impact our daily life and routines? What are the benefits of all that data?

It’s difficult to speak about the benefits of sensor-embedded objects without talking about dangers as well, and vice-versa. Some of the benefits of having sensors in the house include warnings about food that has rotted, health monitoring through weight, saliva and other diagnostic tests that are wirelessly transmitted to your doctor and analyzed, and centralized control of the environment of the house through an easy-to-user dashboard. We could live more efficient, healthier and sustainable lives. However, it is unclear to the resident who actually owns this very personal data about his or her daily lives: where is this data stored, how is it used, is it sold to a health insurance company or a prospective employer? Each apartment renter, home-owner and vacation tenant should ask for the answers to these questions before signing an agreement to inhabit a particular space. Different people will have varying thresholds about their privacy, but regardless, they have the right to know.

When technology becomes more anticipatory and responsive, how does that change our relationship to our homes? What is the balance between human input and HAL from 2001?

The notion of home as a physical space will be replaced by the notion of a home that can be recreated anywhere we go. With people increasingly mobile in search of jobs and adventure, how will we recreate our home environment wherever we go? Our virtual “housekeeper” who knows how much light we like streaming through the windows in the morning, how much the smell of freshly brewed coffee makes us happy, the pictures we love to see on the wall, and the music that puts us in a mellow mood when we have a glass of wine, will be able to recreate those spaces and moments, making any space truly ours in the moment.

Here’s the question: does it kill spontaneity? Yes, it can to a degree. Do you want your virtual “housekeeper” to know your birth date and bake a cake, trumping the hand scrawled card your kids made? No, of course not. But you do want it to tell your 90-year grandfather that he’s about to slip on a fallen banana.

It’s ok to view “housekeeper” affectionately as a friend but to remember that humans ultimately control how the balance between giving machines the freedom to create a comfortable and secure home environment and dictating how we live our lives in those homes.

What do you see as the next big trend(s) in urban living and why is this important?

People will likely live in densely populated high rises that have relatively smaller apartments that can easily be configured into different types of spaces (study, bedroom, living room). In general, houses will be less cluttered as the notion of “home” becomes more mobile and attachment to economic opportunities, travel and experiences dominates the desire for a plethora of physical objects.

Public services like healthcare and education will also become more localized in these denser neighborhoods, many of them made more efficient with online delivery such as e-learning and tele-medicine.

The challenge will remain how to take advantage of technology’s ability to untether oneself from physical houses, while protecting oneself from the tendency to value virtual environments and communication over physical social interaction. We’ll begin to see more emphasis on shared public spaces as city governments realize that innovation and happiness are both spurred with more social interaction.

What are three things you’d put in your perfect home or apartment?

Tinkering room: A configurable space with hidden drawers and tables, which can turn any space into a fun room for family and friends to play with Legos, create objects with 3D printers, experiment with biology sets, and paint and sculpt.

Windows into the world: An immersive environment room that brings live HD video feeds from different parts of the world and displays them onto the wall. It makes one feel one is looking out into a busy street in Tokyo from one’s desk, or at night, camping under the stars in the Sahara desert.

Tech-free button: A switch to turn off all technological gadgets in the house and just be alone or with friends without worrying about who or what is listening.

Hybrid Reality Institute

Urban Intel

Thanks Ayesha!

PSFK has announced the latest in a series of trend reports. Following studies into retailsocial mediagamingwork and mobile, the PSFK Labs consulting team have generated the Future of Home Living report. That report manifests as a free summary presentation, an in-depth downloadable PDF and an exhibition in New York City that runs to August 16.

RSVP below to take a tour of the exhibition at 101W15th.



IKEA Is Letting Kids Design Its New Line Of Toys

Food Today

Chef Turns Invasive Species Into Delicious Sushi

Creator Bun Lai is adapting strange new ingredients for his menu, which responds to the ecological impact of overabundant creatures in the local environment

Travel Today

Build Your Own Subway System In This Minimalist Game

Mini Metro lets you design your own fully functional transit network, simulating the flow of urban commuters with pared-down visuals


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Automotive

See All
Work Today

Keyboard Designed To Help Women Use More Assertive Language

The device is a commentary on gender roles in the workplace, and features easy access to "power verbs" that help reinforce a habit of being direct in writing

Arts & Culture Today

Spanish Artist Dreams Up What Animals Would Look Like In Modern Clothing

Yago Partal's portraits depict the fantasized style preferences of creatures worldwide, from an Arctic wolf to a zebra

Fitness & Sport Today

New Data Technologies Make Hyper-Personalized Training A Reality

The Sports Debrief from PSFK Labs looks at how analytics tools are being developed to optimize human performance across all industries

Technology Today

IBM Watson Helps Grammy-Winning Producer Craft An EP

The computer system's data technology generated musical scores for Alex Da Kid's first solo project

Retail Today

Why The Apple Watch Is Taking Foot In The Restaurant Industry

An app for the wrist-mounted device is looking to revolutionize customer service for staff


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed Yesterday

General Electric: Lighting’s Impact On Sleep Is More Than The Off Switch

Jeff Patton, General Manager of Connected Home Products at GE Lighting, uncovers how lighting technologies can affect our sleep cycles

PSFK Labs october 25, 2016

The Keys For Exceptional Performance On And Off The Field

PSFK Labs' new report highlights five important insights for businesses to perform better than the competition

Travel Yesterday

30-Year-Old Photographs Used As Travel Guides

A new photo series revolves around tracing the origins of images from the past

Technology Yesterday

Album Turns Into Something New Each Time It’s Streamed

Bill Baird's new album explores the relationship between time and music through a website crafted by design team, One Pixel Wide

Health Yesterday

VR App Prescribed For Pain Relief

A pharmacy chain in Sweden is stepping away from tradition to develop a happy place for the pain-afflicted

Financial Services Yesterday

Banks Are Coming Together To Create A New Payment Network That Rivals Venmo

A number of financial institutions are collaborating to make a new person-to-person monetary system called Zelle for their customers

Media & Publishing Yesterday

Pocket Camera Aims To Facilitate The Struggles Of Live Streams

The Mevo helps resolve the complexities of streaming video with an intuitive setup and smart editing controls

Health Yesterday

Startup Believes Traceability Will Help Disrupt The Multivitamin Industry

Ritual is a daily supplement for women that traces every ingredient back to its source

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Photo Series Brutally Murders Some Of Your Favorite Fast Food

The portraits by artist duo Ilka & Franz do away with mealtime regulars in a way that is both beautiful and humorous

Mobile Yesterday

Coffeemaker Teaches You How To Make The Perfect Cup

The device comes with an accompanying app that guides novices and experts alike through the brewing process

No search results found.