Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Flat packs aren’t quite as sexy as they used to be.
Yes, once it was exciting to pay very little for the privilege of putting your own furniture together — and swearing a lot while you do it.
Now, IKEA has been around a while, so it’s, well, part of the furniture.
The company has therefore begun looking into ideas that might make it more exciting again.
And one it’s taking very seriously.
IKEA’s Copenhagen-based design innovation lab Space10 is looking into furniture that talks to you.
After all, Artificial Intelligence is all the rage. So why not have your sofa talk to you to, say, calm you down?
Indeed, Space10 is currently asking humans what sort of humanity they’d like their furniture to have.
Currently, most people seem to want their sofas and chairs to be humanlike. They’d also prefer the voice not to be male or female, but rather gender neutral. What does this mean? R2-D2?
And here’s something that tells you everything you want to know about our political climate — people want their furniture have the same values as they do.
Home is, apparently, not a place for friction. It’s not a place for asking: “Does my bottom look big sitting here?” and getting the answer: “Actually, yes.”
Oddly, though, 72 percent of people don’t want their sofa to have religious beliefs. A large majority, however, would love it if the sofa — or bed or coffee table or wardrobe — collected data in order to improve their furniture experience.
Or, who knows, their life experience.
78 percent said your AI should help you avoid making mistakes. But how does the AI know what a mistake is? Life is a variable process, not some robotic absolute.
Oh, and how should your sofa behave in general? The people are divided on this one.
43 percent said: “Obedient and assisting.” 31 percent preferred: “Motherly and protective.” yet 25 percent chose: “Autonomous and challenging.”
You’re sitting at home one night. Suddenly you hear a booming voice: “Get off me! You’re putting on weight! Go for a run!”
No, it’s not your lover. It’s your IKEA sofa.