How Did They Become 'Smart' Thermostats?

As the debate builds about state-controlled thermostats in your homes, you may notice that programmable communicating thermostats (PCTs) are now being referred to as "Smart" thermostats.  This conflates PCTs with programmable, or "setback" thermostats which have been around for decades and are totally under the householder's control with no radio override features.  Google "smart thermostat" and you'll find information on both kinds.

In fact, there has never been any intelligence built into either design.  Were PCTs  to be domineering robots with artificial intelligence?  Were they to be smarter than you?  Perhaps we should be thankful PCTs don't have arms and legs and run around your house turning off the lights.  We have mandatory, permanent motion sensors for that job, at least in commercial buildings.

The controversy is that PCTs are dumb machines that will blindly, automatically, follow commands sent by central power authorities and not those of the head of the household.  The will, volition, and responsibility reside in the humans who manage the electrical grid.

At best, this shift in terms reflects muddled thinking and loose use of the English language.  Like anyone who is trying to sell you something, people who would apply the term "smart" to a dumb machine are engaging in puffery and shifting accountability.

The term "smart" has been applied since at least 2002 in planning documents but it is nowhere to be found in the Title 24 regulations, to the CEC's credit.

Another propaganda technique used by advocates of government-controlled thermostats is the creation of a false dichotomy, stating the issue as a choice only between government rationing via PCTs and blackouts.   The real choice is between government-managed shortages and adequate supplies of electricity.  Investors are ready, willing, and able to build new generation for the citizens of the state of California.  Just ask Warren Buffett about his Idaho nuke project or Tom Hutson with his plans in Fresno.  If the state can not better manage to serve our electrical needs, perhaps we should ask them to just step aside and let buyers and sellers make our own deals.

This bears close watching.
As the debate builds about state-controlled thermostats in your homes, you may notice that programmable communicating thermostats (PCTs) are now being referred to as "Smart" thermostats.  This conflates PCTs with programmable, or "setback" thermostats which have been around for decades and are totally under the householder's control with no radio override features.  Google "smart thermostat" and you'll find information on both kinds.

In fact, there has never been any intelligence built into either design.  Were PCTs  to be domineering robots with artificial intelligence?  Were they to be smarter than you?  Perhaps we should be thankful PCTs don't have arms and legs and run around your house turning off the lights.  We have mandatory, permanent motion sensors for that job, at least in commercial buildings.

The controversy is that PCTs are dumb machines that will blindly, automatically, follow commands sent by central power authorities and not those of the head of the household.  The will, volition, and responsibility reside in the humans who manage the electrical grid.

At best, this shift in terms reflects muddled thinking and loose use of the English language.  Like anyone who is trying to sell you something, people who would apply the term "smart" to a dumb machine are engaging in puffery and shifting accountability.

The term "smart" has been applied since at least 2002 in planning documents but it is nowhere to be found in the Title 24 regulations, to the CEC's credit.

Another propaganda technique used by advocates of government-controlled thermostats is the creation of a false dichotomy, stating the issue as a choice only between government rationing via PCTs and blackouts.   The real choice is between government-managed shortages and adequate supplies of electricity.  Investors are ready, willing, and able to build new generation for the citizens of the state of California.  Just ask Warren Buffett about his Idaho nuke project or Tom Hutson with his plans in Fresno.  If the state can not better manage to serve our electrical needs, perhaps we should ask them to just step aside and let buyers and sellers make our own deals.

This bears close watching.