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"[Science fiction] is the one literary medium left in which we have a free hand. We can do any damn thing we please."
- Alfred Bester

Happylife Home  
  An automated multi-media home, which provided the good life to its inhabitants.  

Ray Bradbury shared the 50's fascination with gadgets and technology for the home. In 1950, fewer than 10% of homes had televisions. By 1960, over 90% did. In reading the following excerpt, see how quickly Bradbury skips over the intervening generations of technology to get to what people in 1950's really wanted.

They walked down the hall of their soundproofed Happylife Home, which had cost them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them. Their approach sensitized a switch somewhere and the nursery light flicked on when they came within ten feet of it. Similarly, behind them, in the halls, lights went on and off as they left them behind, with a soft automaticity
From The Illustrated Man, by Ray Bradbury.
Published by Doubleday in 1951
Additional resources -

This item is taken from "The Veldt", the first story in the collection.

The single largest difference that I can see between this scenario and the typical vision of the "automated house" of the 21st century is that, for us, control is what we really want. Products like HAL (Home Automated Living) are a set of control devices that allow the user to wirelessly and remotely control the various devices in the home. The vision of technology that Bradbury saw (and feared, which we can deduce from the veiled sarcasm in this passage) is that of a technology that replaces the human touch; the technology provides care for the people.

For more on this topic, see the comments for The Veldt, from the same novel.

Comment/Join this discussion ( 4 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Illustrated Man
  More Ideas and Technology by Ray Bradbury
  Tech news articles related to The Illustrated Man
  Tech news articles related to works by Ray Bradbury

Happylife Home-related news articles:
  - Smart Home Provides Elder Care
  - A Smart Home With Cyber Crumbs - Bradbury's Happylife Home?
  - RoomRender Futuristic Smart Room
  - Space Robot Knows Your Mood
  - WellAWARE Passive Sensor Monitoring Of Elderly
  - Time For Bradbury's 'Smart Home'?

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Would Movable Houses Make Cities Better?

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