Time for a Quantum Leap in Home Design

For some, things change too fast. For others, perhaps not fast enough. No matter which side of this debate you may fall, one thing is for certain – homes, in a general sense as we know them today, are quite stagnant.

While the size, and to some degree the aesthetic aspects, of the homes in most of North America have evolved over the decades, the basics of our living spaces are essentially the same.

 As a developer, we ultimately look at a home, business space or other physical environment as a product, and products evolve in a few different ways.

There have been “sustaining” technology changes that have brought gradual and incremental improvements over time. Superior insulating systems or WiFi versus hardline internet both represent sustaining technologies.

Then, in contrast, there are disruptive technologies. A disruptive technological change is one that is “curve jumping.”

This means the change is not linear in nature and may be many years ahead of the incremental sustaining technology.

Humans are particularly bad at envisioning how disruptive technologies may change things, partly because of how we have evolved in a fairly slow and linear way.

As far as disruptive changes in physical environments (homes, offices and such) go, we haven’t seen one in a long while; none at all which have been adopted on a widespread basis.

A related analogy to consider is related to vehicles. The progress Tesla and Google have made in recent years, in my view, could be indicative of what we may see in the next decade in homes.

Consider this: Tesla and Google have both pledged to have self-automated (artificial intelligence (AI-controlled) vehicles in the average household in as little as 24 months. Google has had AI controlled vehicles all over North America for years.

The aim is vehicles will be completely reinvented and, when combined with car sharing operations, vehicle ownership can be massively reduced.

Read: you could live anywhere in Kelowna, and with tremendously efficient automation, have an AI vehicle pick you up (at your option, with others or privately) and drop you off at work, only to return whenever you need to go for lunch, or return home.

Can you envision what this would mean for roadway traffic? For parking? The latter could become all but extinct. Think about how much less gas consumption we will see when electric vehicles are combined with this efficient, automated system.

All this analogy is meant to illustrate is that we hope, and expect, to have some big shifts in physical environments coming down the chute as well. By all means, they will likely be positive and address environmental and affordability concerns.

When all this sounds too much, remember that less than 100 years back, more than 95 per cent of our relatives in North America were employed as farmers or in a directly related agricultural field.

If you asked those farmers of 100 years ago to imagine their grandchildren’s world as a place where only five per cent of people worked in agriculture, they would likely have had no idea what to imagine, or thought it impossible.

Considering that such drastic change has only happened in 100 years, perhaps we aren’t evolving so slowly after all.

Live and work environments are due for big changes, and it will be fascinating to see what they will be.

One thing is known: A historical challenge has been Kelowna’s job base…but as every job becomes more technology enabled, working at distance will allow people to live anywhere…which will benefit locations such as the Okanagan, our beautiful home.

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