Taming the smart home monster: a quest for peaceful sleep
My victory over smart devices and insights for tomorrow's tech
On Saturday, I slayed the dragon. The digital monster lurked in my electrical relay box, and overcoming it gave me a primal sense of domination. It also left me pondering the cumbersome nature of technology.
All week, I had suspected something was wrong with my apartment. The smart switch controlling the water supply seemed dimmed as if it was off, even though it was allowing the water to flow.
Simultaneously, I started hearing more about ghosts. My coworker had signed up for a New Year's Eve party at an abandoned psychiatric hospital involving Ouija boards. Inspired by this, my girlfriend and I spent hours discussing the existence of unseen forces around us.
Imagine our despair when, on Friday night, our electrical box began making cracking noises, and our lights started flickering on and off. The water supply was being cut, disrupting the washing machine and dishwasher. I suspected the smart home relay, installed by the building developer, was the culprit. Exhausted and clueless, I couldn't fix it. There was no "off" switch, so the disturbances continued sporadically throughout the night.
We woke up tired, angry, and slightly creeped out.
The next day, I tried to resolve the issue. I hit the reset button repeatedly and looked for a "bypass" switch, but nothing worked. The problem persisted, albeit less frequent. The relay had never been configured because as it’s a new apartment I didn't have a Wi-Fi router yet, and frankly, I hadn't been interested in it before. I attempted to configure several times it using my girlfriend's phone as a router to follow the official guide, but to no avail.
In the end, I decided to go primal. My girlfriend and I scoured online manuals for different parts of the electrical box. We discovered a pin that could lock the digital switch for electricity in the always-on position. There wasn't one for the water, but fortunately, the smart home hub had mixed up the off/on states...
In our final test, I turned the smart home relay switch off. Previously, this action would cut off everything, but now it had no effect. The monster was defeated.
This experience got me thinking. If there's a lesson to be learned, it's the importance of having an "off" switch on every device.
I hope this ordeal isn't a prelude to a future dominated by AI overlords. Imagine if my building developer were a company like Microsoft/OpenAI, the smart home hub a deeply integrated AI model in our lives, and I, an oblivious user. A sleepless night could symbolize a future where we have no control over what's happening.
Perhaps I'm taking this too far, but I need sleep. Take care, everyone, and may your smart devices spare your sleep. Were you ever attacked like this?
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