Picture it; you wake up and the butler opens the curtains for you. He then puts the news on for you while you’re brushing your teeth in the bathroom. You get dressed and the butler tells you the weather forecast so that you can adjust your clothing accordingly. During breakfast you list the groceries and he makes sure that they are delivered to your home the next day. You go to work and while you’re there you ask the butler if he can make sure that the evening meal is warmed up in the oven at 6 pm, that your house is comfortably warm and that the laundry is done. The butler does everything you ask and can operate all your household appliances. Perfect, right?!

It may sound too good to be true, but having a butler at home is really not so strange. And to be honest, if you think about it, why stop at one, four butlers are even better! Really! Believe me! One in the living room, one in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one in the bathroom.  Of course, I can hear you thinking: “She’s gone mad.” What I have just described is not just the future, it’s happening today and it’s making our lives easier. The butlers that I am talking about are not the neat, somewhat stiff men in dress suits with greased-down hair that we know from British films about aristocratic families; they’re the smart speakers with artificial intelligence that answer to names such as Alexa and Siri. These technological innovations are coming into our homes at lightning speed without us even noticing it.  Switches and buttons are disappearing and the smart speaker that responds to your voice is taking their place. I say speaker, but your saucepan can also bring itself to the boil while you are chopping your vegetables. You just have to ask it!  In 2022 this technology will be fully-established and we’ll think that it’s perfectly normal to have more than one butler. Research has shown that users are not only very enthusiastic about the fact that they can provide us with information, perform household chores and order food; but also that the butler can even help the children with their homework!And do you know what perhaps the best news is? People who already use these intelligent speakers say they spend much less time staring at a screen. They have more social interaction as a family, listen more often to podcasts and music and therefore have a better time with each other. Four butlers in the house is therefore not only completely normal, it’s music to my ears!

Alexa, play “Let’s dance”……

Gaby van Gestel is a trend watcher. She makes trend books, gives lectures and workshops, writes columns and blogs, and works as a consultant for multinationals on lifestyle trend translations. In addition, together with partner Peter Fecken she is co-founder of Hemelsby Interior Design Studio.

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