Ah, the Internet of Things: You can walk into just about any home and find at least one smart appliance, from smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home to smart thermostats like Nest. It was only a matter of time before we'd start to see integration between our soon-to-be robot overlords. On Thursday, CNBC reported that Sears has announced it would start selling Alexa-enabled Kenmore smart appliances on Amazon and these new smart refrigerators are both incredible and terrifying.
It's crazy to think that it has been only six years since Apple introduced the intelligent personal assistant, Siri to the world — and the Internet of Things has exploded since then. You can even buy a wifi-enabled juicer that just squeezes a juice pack — you don't even put in real fruit or veggies, only ridiculously expensive packs of juice pulp. But where ridiculous smart home devices like toilets and selfie mirrors fall short — yes, these are real — the smart fridge steps in to provide a wealth of features that you didn't even realize you needed.
It's kind of ridiculous what smart fridges can actually do. From Wired UK, here's just a sampling of features from the Samsung Family Hub 2.0, a similar device as the Kenmore Smart Fridge. (Also, let's just point out the fact that it is not called a refrigerator, because that's what the appliance actually is — and is instead called a "family hub." Let that sink in for a second.)
The smart fridge food management features are a given, such as shopping list creation and allowing your fridge to order food when you're running low. But the Samsung Family Hub can also integrate your family's schedules, send messages, and share photos — from your fridge — to your phone. Um, totally not creepy at all.
Unfortunately for the first version of Samsung's smart fridge, it also posed a major digital security hazard. In 2015, a security firm exposed a major vulnerability in Samsung smart fridges that could have allowed hackers to nab hungry users' Gmail account login information, as Consumer Reports noted. Oops. So of course now it's entirely necessary that "protecting your smart home devices from hacking" is now a thing in the great Internet of Things. Because if your smart fridge isn't exposing your email login credentials, it's could just bomb the internet with spam emails as one smart fridge did in 2014, according to NPR.
So yes, having a smart fridge might be convenient — especially one that you can just talk to and tell you to buy things — but there's totally a case to be made that smart appliances make us dumber as a species. Either way, I'm pretty sure this is how Skynet became a thing and I can't remember if Sarah Connor made it through all the Terminator movies and spinoffs.
Look, no matter how cool it might be to have ice waiting for you when you get home, Big Fridge is always listening, always watching...