You wake up to a jazzy MIDI version of the “Happy Birthday” song. Your smart thermostat and smoke detector are singing in harmony because today is your day. Your fitness tracker is vibrating in an unfamiliar Morse Code. Searching the internet, you come across a question in the support forums about it, explaining it is the preprogrammed birthday greeting silent alarm that you can disable after pairing the device again and updating your settings. Your bathroom scale, toilet, and garage door also welcome you with birthday wishes. Open up the refrigerator to another friendly jingle. Tropicana, Fage, and Sabra Hummus all wish you happy birthday. Now there’s an incoming message. It is the “birthday selfie” it snapped when you reached for the orange juice.
Your automobile navigation system is the next device with a special greeting. “Hello. Good morNING. And. Happy birthDAY,” the system says in its usual condescending inflection. Driving to work, your connected ring unexpectedly starts blinking and vibrating without a break. Startled, you slide it off and throw it in your purse. It is set to alert you to incoming Facebook messages. And today, on your birthday, there are hundreds.
“And happy birthday [your name pronounced as a variation of the misspelling on the cup],” the Starbucks barista says. The cloud-based Clover coffeemaker read your rewards card data as soon as you walked into the shop. You can still hear the ring faintly buzzing in your purse until —oops!—your smart watch pings all of your contacts with a hologram of candles on a cake. The flood of incoming emails and texts short-circuits your connected ring. Silence at last.