The smart home is all about convenience, connectivity and the promise that you don’t have to do so much as lift a finger — okay, maybe one finger — to perform rote domestic tasks such as fiddling with the lights, adjusting the thermostat, watering the plants or even answering the door. This, in turn, frees up to do things that you want to do.

It all sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Sure, but consider the downsides of remaining connected — but not necessarily active. While it's nice to not have to actually get up to do anything as your iPhone or Android does all the dirty work for you, you’re cutting out physical activity. And, believe it or not, all those trips across the room and up and down the stairs, no matter how tedious, are good for you. Plus, if you’re a teenager, you can’t as easily get away with throwing ragers when your parents are out of town. And you certainly can’t transgress if an all-knowing matryoshka doll with glowing eyes is keeping tabs on your every move.

One boon of smart homes is an added layer of protection and safety while you’re away. Gone are the days when you have to ask a neighbor to check in, make sure everything’s copacetic and turn the porch light on and off while you’re on vacation. Now, all you need to do is log into an app. And if something were to go awry, you’d be notified instantly even if halfway around the world.

Of course, a smart home doesn’t equal an immune home — things still can go wrong. And, as a clever new ad from Dutch insurance company Centraal Beheer portrays, there’s always the possibility that when things do go wrong while you’re away, a smart home can actually make it worse.

While the scenario presented in the commercial — a smart home making the jobs of two bumbling burglars easier — is played for laughs, it does address a very real issue revolving around the dark side of convenience. What happens when smart homes, well, act dumb?

Like with the upcoming reboot of Tobe Hopper's classic 1982 supernatural kidnapping yarn “Poltergeist” that’s been appropriately revamped for Generation Flatscreen, perhaps it’s also time to revisit the “Home Alone” franchise. How would Kevin McCallister fare against intruders in a home loaded with smart technology? Would he still resort to sadistic survivalist tactics to foil the Wet Bandits? Or would he be too wrapped up FaceTiming with his stressed-out mother as she makes her way back home?

Via [Sploid]

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Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.