The psychology of film & TV, media, & work

From automated coffee to automated everything with the internet of things

in Editor Pick/Media Psychology/Work Psychology by

Back in the 1980s, Mr Coffee automatically brewed your coffee for you in the morning. No, this wasn’t a friendly fellow with a convenient surname. It was a machine designed to appease your caffeine addiction.

Years later, the fad of automated coffee is still present but we all seem happy enough to walk to our favourite café and wait in line for one made by a chirpy barista.

But while we wait, our smartphones automate and connect with the entire planet appeasing an even larger suite of needs: social, entertainment, communication, education and so on. I call it ‘Mr Phone’.

These devices have already changed us. They have connected us to the lives of friends and family as well as our work colleagues. It’s often the first thing we check in the morning, right before that semi-automated coffee.

The smartphone is essentially a part of us whether we like it or not. But what if this was just the beginning?

An interesting global megatrend called ‘the internet of things’ aka ‘Mr Everything’ looks to radically transform us. Essentially, it involves the interconnectivity of everything around us through technology.

Here’re a few changes to your life once the internet of things really takes off.

You won’t need to take care

When cars can talk to each other and the infrastructure around them, they will be unable to collide. This means the almost elimination of road trauma and eventual redundancy of law enforcement on the road.

You won’t need to plan

Your pantry and refrigerator will automatically scan to see if you are getting low on groceries and will automatically scan supermarkets for the lowest prices online. The supermarket will deliver the items to your door or log your shopping list for when you arrive.

You won’t have to worry about your health

Personal sensors will allow monitoring of health remotely, freeing up hospital beds. Significant changes in health will automatically trigger the medical response who will be available before you even realise you are in danger.

You will be mentally healthy…finally

Your smartwatch will be able to measure your heartrate and infer your mood. It will be able to talk to other devices to examine your habits, alerting you to modify those habits that contribute to a decline in mood.

You will be allowed to be absent-minded

Your keys will be connected and so will never be lost. Your smart locks will close behind you and refuse to lock if your keys are inside. Your car will prevent you from running red lights or even speeding up at the yellow light. It will be talking to the intersection before you even get there.

Oh, and you will still have coffee ready for you when you wake up.


  1. Most of this change will require OUR acceptance of this automation. For any success of this innovation to be achieved (wide-spread adoption by humans) will require HUMAN behaviour changes.

    This is the single biggest (SYSTEM) limitation.

  2. Hi Paul, you could argue we’ve already accepted it. It’s more the extent of the change we are willing to tolerate. Once the foot is in the door, don’t you think this is inevitable?

  3. I am very excited to be part of technology and the advancements that we are making in this space…it is a thrilling read…

    • Thanks Juanita. I love technology and its possibilities to improve our lives. I am betting on technology like this helping to solve and minimise the impacts of other megatrends, such a climate change. The interconnectivity of things will allow for better use and management of energy. Hopefully, it may reduce our need to travel too.

      • I would love to chat more about this with you – how to think we can combat the palpable lack of connection which comes from holding meetings over through technology? I think it takes people to make this work – the technology is here and now and I am interested in how you think we, as individuals, could make interactions using technology as meaningful as in person interactions. It may take another type of ‘sense’ or perhaps we will evolve to create meaning via technology.

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