Intelligent assistants for smart homes

The use of artificial intelligence techniques in artefacts for assisting in smart homes.


  • Voice remote control for managing home temperature, lights, windows, garage door, and other electronic devices.
  • Smart devices for automatically controlling electronic devices at home, like heaters, lights, etc.
  • Vacuum cleaners independently moving around the house while cleaning
  • The use of household robots, like the ones used for vacuuming, garbage collecting, window washing, ironing, and preparing food is discussed in (COMEST, 2017).


  • Facilitating and automating daily operations at home
  • Assisting persons with disabilities to cope with  housework
  • Contributing to the reduction of energy consumption through smart management of heating systems and automatic control for opening and closing windows

Threats related to misuse and abuse

User’s lack of awareness – When deploying a smart device at home, is the user aware of the data being collected by it? Are users aware of who is the company collecting data from their home?

Privacy violation – The devices collect different types of data from homes, like persons who are in the house, hours in which residents are at home, and maps from the house, among other data.  Some of the devices have the capacity to record private conversations taking place in the intimate context of people’s homes. Some of them have recorded conversations without users ‘consent. Main concerns refer to what data is being collected. How is the collected data used and for which purposes?

Data security – A major concern is how private companies collecting data from homes maintain data security. Are third parties authorized to access the collected data? Can data be stolen? 

Ethical challenges

The following table summarizes ethical challenges associated with smart devices at home.

C1 Lack of user´s awareness about data being collected by a smart device at home   Principle R
C2 Violation of privacy due to unauthorized recordings of conversations at home and collection of data about home residents and facilities at home Principle R
C3 Misuse of the collected data by private companies and concerns about how the collected data is  secured and protected.  Principle R Principle A

*See Principles for more information about principles.