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anybody have these?
I'm not sure I get the point, and would love to hear from a real person who actually has one.
 

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I've just done other home automation stuff (lights, security cameras, thermostat). It's pretty cool to be able to see and listen to / talk to most of my house, be alerted when anything moves in it, turn lights on and off, and turn the thermostat up and down, from anywhere. In the house, out shopping, or on a beach half way 'round the world.

I can adjust these things by telling Siri (Apple iPhone's Alexa-like voice assistant) to do it, and I can ask "her" for much more.

Siri is pretty much always in my pocket so, no, I'm not feelin' the urge to get one of the devices you're asking about. Probably still won't be when Apple joins the fray next year with its competing device.
 

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I have the Echo (Alexa), and have it wired to our home entertainment network for music streaming purposes. I've never used it for anything else, but it's sure nice being able to get Alexa to play something from Spotify, anytime, and anywhere.
 

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I'm pretty sure that my wife would be able to defeat any smart thermostat.

Introducing another level of tech beyond that might instigate this whole AI/human apocalypse, so I think I'd better lay off for now.
 

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If a person has mobility issues, because of a neurological disorder, injury, disease recuperation, or age-related reasons, then a device that can respond to verbal requests is an absolute godsend. If you can get up off the damn couch on your own, then I think outsourcing knowledge and actions to a device is pernicious and risks loss of personal skills.

I'm curious as to whether pieces of information that people casually ask a device to tell them are actually committed to memory, or whether the implicit sense of constant availability of such information upon request results in poor encoding and subsequent retention/recall by the requester. Years ago, people would go to the grocery store with either a mental or paper list of what they needed to get. Recall of lists, it should be noted, are one of the classic clinical and experimental tasks for assessing cognitive status, memory loss, etc. Now I see folks roaming the aisles with a phone jammed between their jaw and shoulder, as if they have no recollection of their household needs.

To be fair, it bears noting that humans rely daily on a LOT of memory aids. We look stuff up in books or wikipedia or notepads, and so on. The human nervous system is certainly capable of retaining it all, and more. But the challenge is always to retrieve it on demand, and the effort people invest in making something retrievable covaries with its perceived importance and expected availability. Stuff that is deemed important to us is thought about more, connected to more of our existing knowledge base, and becomes "encoded more deeply" (thank U of T giants of memory research Gus Craik and Bob Lockhart for that concept). At the same time, we also know that if content is initially perceived (rightly or wrongly) as likely to be recalled on demand, or otherwise readily accessible, we invest less mental effort (look up the general topic of metamemory). That is precisely why every one of us here has found themselves standing in front of an open fridge, thinking "Now what the heck was I coming in here for again?". You didn't think it would be easy to forget, so you stopped thinking about it the moment you headed off to the kitchen, resulting in lo9usy retrievalk because of very shallow encoding. And other research has demonstrated that such absent-mindedness, prompted by the expectation of easy dependable retieval is not age-related. People in every decade from college age up to the oldest old studied do it.

So the question I place before you is this: if one is operating under the assumption that information is or will be easily provided, or easily accessible, does that information "stick" to the requester when furnished, or does it come and go moments after access? The converse is this proposition: the more effort is required to acquire some information (prompting a reasonable expectation that such effort would still be required on any subsequent occasion), the greater the likelihood that the learner will process it in a way that makes retrieval more likely, since the tendency is to minimize effort wherever and whenever possible. That proposed principle will certainly be moderated by the personal importance of the information. "Siri, what drugs and foodstuffs am I deathly allergic to, again?" is less likely to be a question asked because the asker is highly likely to mull over the information the first time encountered. But the suggestion here is that forgetfullness will accompany an awful lot of other stuff.

Is our penchant for "convenience" robbing us of our skills and capacities?

(NB: My wife has her Fitbit and sets her daily steps-goals. When cold weather results in her not walking the long way to the bus stop to get in her steps, I cajole her that when she gets home she needs to forget a lot of things upstairs so that she gets her steps in going back and forth.)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I'm pretty sure that my wife would be able to defeat any smart thermostat.

Introducing another level of tech beyond that might instigate this whole AI/human apocalypse, so I think I'd better lay off for now.
that's another topic of interest for me. I like the idea of them, but I'm not sure how practical they are. Seems to me, a Nest, or the other devices I mentioned in the OP are best suited to a smaller home, with a centralized area where people congregate most of the time. But during the day, I'm mostly in my home office, not my living room. at night of course, in my bedroom. Nest would think my house is empty 90% of the time.
 

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..I'm curious as to whether pieces of information that people casually ask a device to tell them are actually committed to memory, or whether the implicit sense of constant availability of such information upon request results in poor encoding and subsequent retention/recall by the requester. Years ago, people would go to the grocery store with either a mental or paper list of what they needed to get. Recall of lists, it should be noted, are one of the classic clinical and experimental tasks for assessing cognitive status, memory loss, etc. Now I see folks roaming the aisles with a phone jammed between their jaw and shoulder, as if they have no recollection of their household needs....
I think youre being a little judgy here...whether the list is on paper or a phone makes no difference. The purpose is the same...its so you don't go to a store and buy 8 out of the 10 things you need because you forgot the other 2, not because if you lost that list you wouldn't be able to remember a single thing.
 

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that's another topic of interest for me. I like the idea of them, but I'm not sure how practical they are. Seems to me, a Nest, or the other devices I mentioned in the OP are best suited to a smaller home, with a centralized area where people congregate most of the time. But during the day, I'm mostly in my home office, not my living room. at night of course, in my bedroom. Nest would think my house is empty 90% of the time.
The Nest and accessories came to mind when you started this thread but I didn't want to post and derail, now that you mention it I'm wondering what people have to say about this product. I see cameras and light controls, etc. along with the t-stat options.
 

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The Nest and accessories came to mind when you started this thread but I didn't want to post and derail, now that you mention it I'm wondering what people have to say about this product. I see cameras and light controls, etc. along with the t-stat options.
there was a free smart thermostat provincial government program this year that I got on the list for. I'm picking an Ecobee 3 as you can add additional room sensors that can be placed around the house. the Nest sounds the "smartest" though in terms of AI. The inherent problem is, with 1 furnace, its really hard to fine tune temps to where you need warm/cold air most. Most ducting is leaky, poorly balanced IMO, and not very adjustable. theres a big future in this stuff, but we're only at its infancy.
 

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he inherent problem is, with 1 furnace
Single furnace, single zone, no adjustment, the wave of the future past. We are in the same boat - 1950's installation practices in a new home. Doesn't matter what type of t'stat you have in this situation. Good old mercury bulb is sufficient.
 

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I think youre being a little judgy here...whether the list is on paper or a phone makes no difference. The purpose is the same...its so you don't go to a store and buy 8 out of the 10 things you need because you forgot the other 2, not because if you lost that list you wouldn't be able to remember a single thing.
I'm a 'looker-at-my-phoner' and for good reason. We use the Wunderlist app, and one of the lists we have on there is a grocery store list. I usually find myself at the grocery store without having made a big plan to go there & having written out a paper list ahead of time. Also my memory bites. So having previously put a few key needed items in to the list on the app as the perceived need arose allows me to have my list on hand whenever needed. The other cool thing is that you can 'share' lists, so I have that list shared with my wife. So when either of us puts stuff in the list on our phones, it shows up in the list on both our phones, so when either of us winds up in a grocery store, we know what needs gettin. Useful app.

The only downside of this is that she refuses to turn off notifications, so if I'm in a store checking things off the list, she gets notifications of that, and then starts adding other stuff while I'm trying to get out of the store. I will have to sneak on to her phone & disable those notifications. Still...

Getting off topic enough for you yet?
 

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Single furnace, single zone, no adjustment, the wave of the future past. We are in the same boat - 1950's installation practices in a new home. Doesn't matter what type of t'stat you have in this situation. Good old mercury bulb is sufficient.
For me, the only thing I might gain is the wifi control of the thermostat for when we go away on vacation, long weekends etc. we have a programmable tstat already but it runs at 1 temp constantly, since I work from home on most days, its rare when the house is unoccupied for more than a couple hrs.
 

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I think youre being a little judgy here...whether the list is on paper or a phone makes no difference. The purpose is the same...its so you don't go to a store and buy 8 out of the 10 things you need because you forgot the other 2, not because if you lost that list you wouldn't be able to remember a single thing.
Not being "judgy" at all. As something one can use as backup for actual unassisted remembering, paper has probably had as big an impact on remembering as the internet and voice-recognition devices have. Indeed, many anthropologists and cross-cultural psychologists have frequently noted the remarkable memory abilities of non-literate peoples, which they attribute to the requirement imposed on such persons to memorize effectively on a constant basis. The general cognitive principle is that if one can delegate/sub-contract "remembering" to some technology or device as a sort of memory prosthetic, people often will do so and skimp on the mental effort and deeper encoding required to commit something to memory well. It's simply what humans do. And other species probably, as well. The lab I worked in for my M.Sc. studied deliberate forgetting by pigeons, who would keep information in memory only for as long as they inferred it would be needed. Once the signal came that it would not be needed any longer, surprise probe trials indicated little retention.

I don't consider that any sort of judgment about laziness. After all, there is a LOT of shit to pay attention to at any given moment, so humans and other animal species are only doing the sensible thing if they search for cognitive shortcuts. That's why it's what we do, regardless of culture, socioeconomic level, education, age, etc. The trouble is that additional technology only pushes us more in the direction of less effort, and less practice in effective encoding and remembering. And that's probably not a good thing if we are living longer and generally increasing our risk for acquiring challenges to our cognitive status. Heck, be as stupid as you want if you're going to die at 35 or 45. But if you're going to hang around for another 40-50 years after that, one should make some sort of effort to remain competent for as much of that period as possible. And part of that involves avoiding technology that encourages bad mental habits as much as is feasible.

Having worked on one of the first large-scale published studies examining the use-it-or-lose-it hypothesis ( Age differences in cognitive performance in later life: relationships to self-reported health and activity life style. - PubMed - NCBI ), I have to say there isn't much evidence out there supporting the widespread belief. One needs to make a distinction between the mental life of those who have made an entire lifetime of being "mentally active", even when other less effortful alternatives were available, and those persons who are in "late immersion" programs, and believe that upping mental activity in one's late 50's can somehow override a lifetime of poor mental habits prior to that point. Acknowledging the powerful impact of health and general cerebrovascular cirulation, it's the stuff we do automatically without even thinking about it consciously that sees us to competence in later life. And when technology shapes what we do automatically a little too much, we can lose the habits we need.
 

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yeah I made an automatic ass-wiping machine for when I'm in the bathroom, it works great.

also does much more than just wipe my ass!!

opens jars of olives, beer bottles, picks boogers out of my nose & flips them onto fuzzy duffle bags, etc.....the possibilities are endless
 

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anybody have these?
I'm not sure I get the point, and would love to hear from a real person who actually has one.
Yeah I don't really see the point. Yet.

I have the Echo (Alexa), and have it wired to our home entertainment network for music streaming purposes. I've never used it for anything else, but it's sure nice being able to get Alexa to play something from Spotify, anytime, and anywhere.
If your stereo had bluetooth, "or you bought a $20 adaptor" and you had a smart phone wouldn't that do the same thing?
 

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I don't really see the benefit, yet.

Anything connected like a thermostat is so much more expensive than the non connected version I don't see how it's worth it. Is it neat to be able to say, "Computer turn up the heat" and it happens? Sure but I'd rather just walk over to the panel, push some buttons and save $100+

Until it's not way more expensive I just don't even care.
 

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For me, the only thing I might gain is the wifi control of the thermostat for when we go away on vacation, long weekends etc. we have a programmable tstat already but it runs at 1 temp constantly, since I work from home on most days, its rare when the house is unoccupied for more than a couple hrs.
Is it really that hard as you are leaving for vacation to walk over to the temperature control panel, press override and then program the temperature you want to leave the house at while you are gone? When you come home yes, you may have to endure not being at the exact temperature that makes you happy for an hour or two but really c'mon.

First world problems.
 

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yeah I made an automatic ass-wiping machine for when I'm in the bathroom, it works great.

also does much more than just wipe my ass!!

opens jars of olives, beer bottles, picks boogers out of my nose & flips them onto fuzzy duffle bags, etc.....the possibilities are endless
Um, is the sequence of those actions programmable, or do you just roll the dice and take your chances?
 
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