The Home in the Digital Age

We live in a world where technological advance and above all the astonishing pace of change is challenging many of the values and modus operandi we have long taken for granted. Much of this change coupled with the increased transparency which comes with it is undoubtedly for the good of society and especially disadvantaged minorities but equally there is no doubt that some of its use or abuse can be threatening.

Within this political and societal maelstrom, the aim of Home is to raise awareness of the home as a vital contributor to individual and social wellbeing. Our work is through research and academic meetings on current relevant trends and challenges. There can be few trends more relevant and challenging than the one identified as the focus of our next Experts’ Meeting: The Home in the Digital Age. What are the contributions – and what are the dangers – of Artificial Intelligence in our homes? In other words, “Who are we letting in?”

The framework of the Experts’ Meeting, successfully designed and developed by the Social Trends Institute, is highly appropriate for this conversation, and I am grateful to STI for their continuing support.

The calibre and range of academics and professionals who will be taking part in this important discussion forum at the Royal Society of Medicine on 25_26 February 2019 are truly impressive. The participation of these distinguished speakers working in the area of AI, reflects both the significance of the questions surrounding Artificial Intelligence and a renewed societal concern for the life and work of the home. A concern which HRF has been at the forefront of raising at all levels of public and private life since 2006.

Relevant and resonant questions for the Experts’ Meeting and for society include:

  • How are these new technologies changing the perception of our bodies, our sense of belonging, and social relationships?
  • How can we make best use of the opportunities offered by AI and what should we protect in the context of the home and household?
  • What might be the specific benefits and the specific costs of how the new technologies can enhance children’s growth, their social integration, intergenerational relationships in the domestic environment, and the care of the elderly?


From the perspective of HRF, the key focus remains the home. In all the lively interaction these questions will generate, I hope that above all we shall gain and share as widely as possible a fuller appreciation of the value of the home – The security and uncritical welcome it provides to all its occupants young and old is for the Digital Age and beyond.