On a damp winter day in Portland, Ore., a pale mint house from the turn of the century blinks awake in an instant. A black glass orb affixed to the wall perfects the air temperature as a another sleek black eye watches out the window. Registering my presence, a glowing blue keypad suddenly appears in front of me with an inviting click. I open the door and walk inside.
Cee Webster is a Massachusetts native who bought her first home, a handsome two-story constructed in 1907, two years ago. A Web developer who saw the first tech bubble go pop, Webster’s interest in wiring her home with its very own invisible neural network started, as many smart home stories do, with a Nest. But playing god is a dangerous game; one by one, devices with unblinking eyes and silicon brains started popping up among her home’s Victorian flourishes. Happily, she’d invited them in.