This Fall, Your Appliances May Reorder Their Own Supplies From Amazon

Your coffee machine will keep buying coffee, even if it kills you

Coffee beans
Asher Isbrucker via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

Remembering to buy new filters or toner or even pet food can be a pain. So why not have your appliances remember for you? That's the intent behind Amazon's new Dash Replenishment Service, which hardware makers can integrate with their devices to let your appliances re-up on supplies when they deem you need them.

DRS will go public this fall, and Amazon's already announced a handful of partners, including Whirlpool, Brother, and Brita. So your printer might realize you're low on ink and decide to order you some. Which certainly brings its fair share of convenience, but also seems to suggest a high degree of autonomy that perhaps we don't all trust our machines to have.

Will we have to remember to tell our smart refrigerators to not order a week's worth of groceries when we're on vacation? To take it a step further, what if your smart pantry decides maybe you shouldn't be eating all those cookies and instead orders you kale chips? Granted, it's not quite HAL 9000 severing an astronaut's oxygen hose, but come on, kale chips?!

The slightly less creepy version of this is the Dash Button, which Amazon also announced this week. It's a branded adhesive gadget that's pre-programmed with a certain product. You get, say, the Tide Detergent button, stick it near your washing machine and, when you run low on detergent, you press the button and it orders Tide from Amazon.

The Internet of Things--wherein all our appliances and devices are "smart" and connect to a network--is here to stay. But personally I worry about the day when Amazon gets so smart that it starts sending you--probably by drone--the latest and greatest smart self-purchasing appliances, before you can order them yourself.