There’s nothing I hate more than forgetting to turn out a light in the basement, or leaving the computer on overnight by accident. It’s such a useless waste of energy — but it’s the sort of mistake that, no matter how hard I try, I make almost once a week. I shouldn’t be too hard on myself though. Everyone’s human, right?
Well, maybe not everyone. A new computer system that’s being prototyped by high-tech startup Cyberdyne Systems promises to takes humans out of the equation in managing home and business energy consumption—potentially making power-wasting human errors a thing of the past.
The company’s wireless computer system, dubbed “SkyNet,” uses advanced, adaptive learning techniques to spot—and stamp out—anomalous spikes in energy consumption. An array of low-cost, power-sipping sensors throughout a home or business would observe patterns of energy use, as well as the comings and goings of residents and occupants, wirelessly transmitting the data to Cyberdyne’s centralized SkyNet processing system. SkyNet’s generalized learning algorithms, in turn, use pattern recognition and “neural net” AI techniques (don’t ask!) to spot unnecessary energy use. Most importantly, SkyNet itself has the power to fine tune your home’s energy consumption: when fully deployed, a Cyberdyne home energy system would allow SkyNet to turn on and off appliances, open and shut windows, and time laundry and other high-energy-consumption activities for when power costs are lowest.
According to Cyberdyne’s chief engineer, Miles Bennett Dyson, what makes SkyNet unique is its advanced computer intelligence system, which industry analysts say is nearly two decades ahead of its time. If Cyberdyne is successful in widespread deployment of its SkyNet system, it could put an end to fatalistic thinking about human foibles: truly, there’s no fate but what we make!
Of course, SkyNet isn’t quite ready for deployment into the average home: the technology isn’t cheap enough yet to make the energy savings worthwhile. But the Department of Defense, stung by high energy costs in the past few years, has announced that it will install SkyNet technology in several nuclear missile launch facilities. (Military analysts say that the Obama Administration’s recent START missile reduction negotiations have actually boosted Cyberdyne’s position: with reduced nuclear threats and a smaller nuclear weapons stockpile, analysts say, SkyNet’s artificial intelligence system is already fully capable of managing the entire US nuclear arsenal without any human intervention.)
With that kind of endorsement, I’m excited about the prospect of handing my home over to SkyNet— hopefully making silly human errors a thing of the past!!!