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This Hotel Uses Technology In A Really Scary Way (But Some Will Like It)


Can technology go too far in disturbing your peace?

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The trend is inevitable.

more Technically incorrect

And, as with so many trends, there is also pain.

Business owners have embraced technology as the elixir that delivers speed and saves money. Which has led to their permissiveness of its rampant invasiveness.

It’s not surveillance, many insist. It’s security.

Meanwhile, their clients wonder who’s guarding the guards.

I moved on to this because of a tweet from a writer and drag queen. Joe Wadlington seemed thrilled that there was a new boutique hotel in the Castro district of San Francisco.

But then he learned of the rules perpetrated by the hotel’s management company, Kasa. He insists on quiet hours between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m. One person’s calm is another person having a good time.

Thus, a section of Kasa’s rules offers: “Kasa’s apartments are proactively monitored to ensure that they comply with this noise policy.”

Few appreciate the concept of proactive monitoring. It smacks of proactive spying.

Still, Kasa insists, “The decibel sensors notify the company of sounds in the Kasa that exceed 75 decibels (dB). You hereby consent to the use of sound level monitoring.”

I hear you growl at a minimum of 72 decibels. Do these people have sensors to monitor each of your sound levels? Isn’t that overly, shall we say, personal?

And wait, how loud is 75 decibels? The University of Michigan tell me normal human conversation scores around 60. Office noise is a 70. And an average radio or vacuum cleaner scores a 75.

You may, like me, find all of this perplexing. Could it be that if you listen to the radio after 9 p.m., you receive a warning? And if you do it twice, will you be fined $500 or kicked out of the hotel? (These are the Kasa rules, you see.)

For those who may not have visited the Castro district, it is home to the gay community and is a lively and sometimes noisy place. bold italics underline that if you claim your hotel is “powered by the community— as Hotel Castro does — its “current guest policies are an abhorrent dichotomy to that sentiment.”

I fear, however, that some will feel torn by the general principle.

For many people, one of the most distressing aspects of a hotel’s existence is the prospect of thin walls and/or loud people in adjoining hotel rooms.

How many have not, at least once in their life, called reception to complain about excessive noise coming from another customer – or, indeed, customers?

If noise is automatically controlled by technology, is that necessarily a bad thing?

Again, can the technology really assess the true impact of noise? Is it better to leave that to human judgment? What if the neighbors rather like the noise and even knock on their neighbor’s door to see if they can join in?

Of course, many hotels tend to resist human intervention because they resist hiring humans. Indeed, as far as I can tell, Hotel Castro has a virtual reception.

Ergo, once you’re in the grip of technological surveillance, you’ll find it in places you wouldn’t expect.

Just as Airbnbs guests these days need to ask if the landlord has installed an active camera system, perhaps hotel guests can start asking questions about how they might also be monitored.

Sometimes it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep, isn’t it?

Or, as Wadlington put it, “I’m… so scared.”