Beyond Convenience: From Roombas to Dishwash Clubs

The vision of many designers is to develop products that make life more convenient. Technology makes everything easier in life. In the household, its main goal is efficiency considering effort and time. Women used to stay home to do house chores, but because of vacuum cleaners, washing machines, and dishwashers, this is not necessary anymore. But how will everyday life look when even these new automated chores fully disappear by becoming more automated? We are already transitioning towards this future with the Roomba.

Image 1: Roomba (Clickhole, 2022)

Chores seem unpleasant and unnecessarily time-consuming, but do they also have an upside? Doing house chores gives a feeling of accomplishment. For me personally, it also provides a sense of organization in life: I always say, “if my house is a mess, my head is a mess inside too.” Chores have become a daily ritual in our lives; they have become moments of relaxation and social gathering. I live in a student house, and the kitchen is where we all meet and

catch up with our lives while cooking and doing the dishes. Since we got a dishwasher three months ago, I have noticed a reduction in the conversations we have now. This concerns me: what will happen when loading the dishwasher or cooking is not even necessary anymore? Will I never see my roommates in the kitchen again?

Image 2: Wives of the Jaycees washing and drying dishes (Rawpixel, n.d.)

I believe that there should be a limit to how much technology can influence and take over life. Of course, as a designer, my goal is to develop products that make life more convenient and pleasant, but some things need to stay as they are and be done by humans, not only for your mental but also for your physical health. If we continue down this road, the list of tasks we have during the day will become even longer because we will be able to work more efficiently. The feeling of needing to slow down and sit for a moment to give something your complete, devoted attention will disappear. We will stay in a hurry and flood ourselves with dopamine. We are becoming shopaholics when it comes to the consumerism of dopamine. With smartwatches, we are always reachable, and every message gets our attention, even when it shouldn’t, like while driving a car.

I see a trend among my friends of taking up hobbies that used to be chores but are now done for fun, like crochet. Many people attend cooking clubs where they extensively cook, even though we don’t need to anymore with the possibility of a microwave meal. People relax when they sit down for a moment and do activities that take time, attention, and effort. Maybe in the future, there won’t only be cooking clubs but also dishwashing clubs, after the chore of doing the dishes has become extinct because of automation. People might save their dirty dishes to clean them together during a social gathering.

A worst-case future scenario I always envision concerning this subject is Wall-E. In this future, technology takes over all our tasks, leaving us with nothing to do. Not even pressing the washing machine button will be a task anymore. We will end up floating in chairs, being served and taken care of by robots. Doing things yourself is important for your vitality so we stay active and keep using our own abilities without relying too much on technology. A big risk of automation is that we become lazy and don’t stay active.

Image 3: The Wall-E hover chair (CLAYTONBEESE ,2014)

So, maybe next time when you have to do the dishes or vacuum clean, think about how amazing it actually makes you feel. And think twice before buying a Roomba because before you know it, you might be doing the dishes for fun in a club.

For this project, we will design an experience where people can see for themselves what the future might be like, serving as a warning for both consumers and designers. For the next phase of this project, we need to conduct research on this topic to define our imagined future and consider different ways we can allow the exhibition visitor to experience the future we envision.


Clickhole. (2022, March 31). The terrors of ar9ficial intelligence: This Roomba just vacuumed up an en9re sock [Image]. Clickhole. hIps:// just-vacuumed-up-an-en9re-sock/

Rawpixel. (n.d.). Image of face plant people [Image]. Rawpixel.


CLAYTONBEESE (2014, January 9). The hover chair [Image]. Sci-Fi Interfaces. hIps://