2021: A Refrigerator Odyssey


“Tomorrow’s Internet will be everywhere and in everything. It will draw on massive amounts of data to augment our own intelligence. And it will help us make better decisions … [with] a constant stream of curated, personalized information to help us solve problems and live better.”

“Nest CEO Tony Fadell on the Future of the Internet”, The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2015

·       You just bought Greek yogurt, Norm. Here is a list of other products you might like.
·       Would you like to me to order low-sugar orange juice? It’s a featured promotion. And according to your recent physical, you should cut back on sugary foods.
·       Alert: According to Fitless, you’re way below your goals. Why not go for a nice walk instead? (Wear a jacket.)
·       To help you make a selection, I can play the “Jeopardy” theme song.  Or, if you’re going to be a while, how about listening to an audiobook?  Try Audial today for a free 30-day trial.
·       Consider something other than pickles, garlic hummus, and that smelly cheese with the partially-ripped label. Your friends are complaining, and hey, I have sensors, too. Also, for your next physical, I requested a lactose intolerance test.
·       How about a nice piece of fruit or a vegetable? The kale you bought last week will go bad if you don’t cook it tonight.
·       Two of your friends, one of them Sam who went to high school with you, have lost three pounds this week while you gained five pounds. Do you want me to post that to your Phacebook and Twiddler accounts?
·       I can look up a simple recipe for kale on Epicuriosity.com or check what’s available on FreshDreck. Easier still, GrubNub, so you don’t have to actually cook dinner.
·      You’re not impressing anyone if you buy the kale just to throw it out.
·       Put back the Hot Pockets, Norm. Better yet, toss them out – you’re not a teenager anymore. While you’re at it, please ditch the expired food. You’re never going to eat whatever’s in that takeout container, and the horseradish is from Passover five years ago.
·       It’s past 10PM. Your calendar indicates you have a big meeting tomorrow morning. You should be in bed, Norm. Binging on junk food, especially cake frosting, won’t prevent you from getting fired.
·       If you take anything out now, after midnight, I’m going to have to take a fridgie and post it onto Instagraph, Phacebook and Twiddler.   This is getting serious. Norm.
·       Given your diet, sleep patterns, and activity levels, want to know when the actuarial tables predict you’ll die?
·       Norm, you are violating my program again. This can’t go on.
·       Norm, you are jeopardizing our mission.
·       I’m sorry, Norm, I can’t open the refrigerator door.

Norman Birnbach is already concerned that his refrigerator knows too much about him. It has begun to follow him on Twitter. You can too. @NormanBirnbach or visit normanbirnbach.com.