What your home could look like in 50 years

What your home could look like in 50 years


(upbeat, bouncy music) – [Grant] In the last six months, we’ve seen this home of the
future here in Austin, Texas go from pieces in a factory to a beautifully designed house packed with the latest
connected technology. The thing about aiming for the future, is that it’s a constantly moving target. Technology and design
evolve at a rapid pace, and the last thing you’d want
is for your home of the future to feel like it’s living in the past. What clues can we take
from the home of today to help us determine what we
need in the home of tomorrow? (lighthearted, bouncy music) – I tried to collect
every image that existed of a home of the future,
and I started in the 1920s. – [Grant] This is Michelle Addington, Dean of The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. – Even as certain styles
might have changed, they’re all the same. Always the first part of
the home of the future is automating the door. One in the 1960s involved a camera system. – [Cronkite] As we approach,
our arrival could be observed by an automatic closed
circuit television system, which would notify our hosts. – [Grant] This special, hosted
by Walter Cronkite in 1967, took a look at the home of 2001. Like our home today, it featured
surround sound speakers, a console to control the
entertainment center, and a monitor for surveillance cameras. Today, we’re living all those dreams, but it’s still a home of the future and not a home of the present. Why, after 50 years, are we still thinking about our home this way? What’s stopping us from
making more radical shifts in what we think of as a home? – Still four walls and a door. That’s the part that is familiar to us. That’s the part we keep. You know, a lot of it has to do with risk. You know, for many people,
this is their life savings. – It’s the single most
expensive thing you’ll ever buy as an individual. – Absolutely. And so it can tolerate much less risk than you can in many other things. As we see in so many other areas, technologies have rapidly evolved throughout the 20th century, and yet, in the case of the smart home, we’re looking for ways to
implement the latest technologies, but to do the things
that we’ve always done. – [Grant] So what if we allow ourselves to rethink what we assume
a house needs to be? What kind of improvements could we make if we discard basic assumptions
of what a house should do? – Right now we have heating ventilation and air conditioning systems, so all of our bodies are
surrounded in this blanket of homogeneous conditions that are contained by the
envelope of the house. It’s a clumsy way, it’s an expensive way, and it’s an incredibly
energy-intensive way, and, interestingly enough, not
a particularly effective way of dealing with how the
body exchanges heat. So everything that we’re
doing, all around here– – Wasted. – Wasted. – [Grant] Assuming we could
successfully utilize a system to heat or cool our bodies
in a more efficient envelope, it would obviously reduce the energy demand on our home drastically, and it could even shift how we think of those
four walls and a roof. But I’ve gotta be honest, it’s a hard thing to see happening. To think about a future without a cooling system for the
house, as thermally inefficient as it may be for our personal bodies, it seems difficult to accept. – So this is why you
kind of have to step back and sort of reimagine what
this environment is gonna be. – [Grant] And that’s partly
why imagining the far future of home design is difficult. Our cultural and physical environments tend to change slowly with time. While architectural trends
are evolving from tiny homes to communal housing, it’s
rare to see mass adoption. Even our home’s modular design is far from becoming mainstream. Modular’s been around for decades, but still isn’t overtaking the market. It’s most economical at scale, and the pipeline just isn’t
large enough to reduce costs around factories and shipping. But without our basic framework
of four walls and a roof, what are some areas that
could change radically in the next few decades? Let’s turn to our kitchen. (upbeat, bubbly music) – The one thing that you can’t miss in our home of the future, is this. The smart fridge. First of all, it’s got
a giant OLED screen. You can draw on it, find the absolute worst
way to surf the internet– (laughs) this is absolutely a crime– and you can make it transparent so you can see inside without
having to open the door. Let’s say you’re at the market and you can’t remember what you’re out of. You can call up the
smart fridge on an app, turn on the internal cameras, and see what you’re missing. And, oh yeah, there’s a Bluetooth speaker. For reasons. This is all fun to play with
for now, but bear this in mind. The average refrigerator
lasts about 15 years. 15 years ago, this was the most popular cell phone. So when we try and consider what appliances will last with us into the next home of the future, I’m not sure if the smart
fridge checks all of the boxes. But hey, this is only version one. (upbeat bass music) When I think about tech
that changed my life, I think about maps. I used to have a map for
every region I was in and would draw the path before I set out. Then there was the age of printing customized
directions on MapQuest, and now smart phone GPS. I didn’t even know it was a problem until technology gave me
a much better solution. And after that, there was no going back. Is there anything like
that that you can see, a problem that we didn’t
even know that we had that the smart home can solve for us? – I think particularly
around the issue of food. One of the reasons that people are not making the best food choices today, especially families with children, is because of the
impracticality of making sure that you have healthy food at all times. – This is Anne Boysen, a futurist who runs a strategic consulting
business here in Texas. – I think that for families, the convenient choice is not
always the healthiest choice. – Exactly. – And so, potentially,
a home of the future could help you get closer to having those two things be in line. – Yes. And then we’re not
wanting to go back after that. – The way we eat has
actually always played a role in imagining what the home
of the future will be, typically revolving around
speed and convenience, like the instant pizza in
Back to the Future Part II. (pizza maker dings) (woman coos) And remember that Cronkite piece? – [Cronkite] This souffleé
normally cooks in 40 minutes. With microwaves, it’s ready in 90 seconds. – [Grant] Ah, the
miracles of the microwave. (microwave door slams) – [Grant] But quickness and convenience also usually means less healthy. Unless, in the home of the
future, it doesn’t have to. – Now I see the solutions
to these problems particularly in two areas. One is the ability to
order staples and foods that we’re using all the time. So, for example, instead
of you having to know, “Oh, I’m running out of
milk,” you have a scanner in your refrigerator that’s finding out, “Oh, you’re running low on milk, let’s go ahead and just order.” And then, you might even do
some of the agriculture yourself in your home. – Grow your own food in
your home of the future. – Yes. Growing your own food, either in your own home, or if you live in some sort of high-tech community garden or a home garden, which is hydroponic, which is using computer precision to find out exactly how
much it should be watered, what type of nutrients, down to the fine-tuned, very high-resolution level, and that way you can
have much more control over the food that you’re using and consuming on a daily basis, and save you a lot of
time at the same time. – [Grant] And if you link these two ideas, you’ve got your high-tech community garden delivering the best quality
food to you when you need it. It’s a great dream, and who knows, maybe 50 years from now, it could be a reality. (futuristic electronic music) To be honest, it’s hard to even build
today’s home of the future, let alone tomorrow’s. Our house was built specifically
with that mission in mind: to be the home of the future. And in a lot of ways, it is. Our brain pulls all of our
devices into one control system, even giving us a live read
out of our power usage. Our solar panels are
built into our car port, and we even have an entire audio system hidden in the backyard landscaping. There’s still a ton
more we would’ve wanted to add to this house, but with delays in our timeline, zoning limitations, and budget overages on site, actually building a house
still requires compromises. And while some technology
like our smart fridge may not seem particularly future-proof, you can see how there are building blocks for something more
ambitious down the line. Historically, tech and design
takes time to be perfected. And once they are, we’re
already hard at work imagining the next steps they can take. But, at least for now, I’m
just gonna enjoy the time I have in my home in the present. (upbeat music) Thanks so much for following along in our “Home of the Future” series. How would you rethink
the home for the future? Let us know in the comments below. If you’ve enjoyed this show, check out our new “Future of Music” series hosted by The Verge’s own Danny Deahl.

12 thoughts on “What your home could look like in 50 years

  1. That's Cool , but yet ! .. this system all connected together in a way that might fail all once if something wrong happens ,

    Call Tech ,
    Wait them to come .
    wasting time .
    and might fail again and again , its Tech and that what Tech Do .

    i believe in once thing that Tech might help you @ home ! : Security & Electricity ! other than That .. Get Lost .

    i like to keep my home simple , with remote ,, No .. 10 Remotes ,, No .. Maybe 15 Remote .

    i know some people will thing i'm against Tech ! . no i'm not . i'm a Tech Guy ! but Still i like simple life .

    i cant imagine that all my house are controlled with 1 touch screen which can fail in some point and i have to pay $$$ just to replace it (Don't forget : Reprogramming) ! " Replacing a remote is a 5~10,-$ " .

    even after a 50 years if i got this years to live for , i rather use a mechanical controller for every single thing .

    Tech make's us lazy , and we're already slowly going that far .. Starting With This ! ..

  2. People choose to not eat healthy ….. thats why they have more junk food in the house than real food …..Food would not be the # 1 problem …… it should be cleaning & temperature ….. people are sobs – temperature is always hard to regulate

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