Wise Kitchen Initiative
Challenge: Help individuals with different capabilities meet their dietary goals.
A kitchen is a place that virtually every home needs. Whether it is to cook a banquet for the family reunion, a snack for the kids to take to school or the perfect close to a romantic evening, the kitchen must be ready for all of them.
Technologists try to address the Kitchen Problem with Smart Technology. Appliances that calculate how long to cook a pizza in the microwave. A refrigerator that knows when the milk is spoiled and the bananas on the counter are mushy. A stove that is energy efficient and can be cleaned with the push of a button. Apps that tell the user how to lose weight including how many steps to take and how many carbs to eat.
Every problem that the aspiring chef faces has a solution with yet another kitchen gadget. An automatic bread maker, rice cooker and juicer are but a few tools you can buy to help make the perfect meal. Any inventor can find a problem to solve. A special pan on sale next Christmas might can have the rights bells and perfect whistle to create the next food empire. And what's more, there's a free app that is sure to be a godsend.
Unfortunately, this smart technology has its weaknesses. How can you know which food processor to order? Will it integrate with the rest of the home automation? Can you trust the reviews you read? Will that Christmas gift be a rerun for Aunt Sally? Can you keep a balanced budget when you can order anything with the push of a button (or two or three)?
In contrast, the wise kitchen is not a Lamborghini helping you win the race for perfect nutrition. It doesn't fret about the most up-to-date research on how many eggs to eat nor the type of cooking oil that prevents diabetes. If you need to watch your diet so closely, there are plenty of smart apps to choose from.
The users of wise kitchen never abdicate their autonomy. Rather, they are enabled to aspire to meaningful goals. What habits are good for my long-term health? How do we keep the in-laws from criticizing the menu? How can the kids get good grades and have fun after school? How can I meet my perfect match?
Smart technology has its place. But without wisdom, it creates a life that is sterile and unfulfilling. Mom will order out pizza when the in-laws arrive. The kids will get a package of crackers and cheese for lunch. The romantic dinner will only need four minutes in the microwave to make the most romantic impression possible in the age of George Jetson.
A wise kitchen won't solve these problems, but it won't become its own problem either.