"The thing that I'm most interested in at the moment is the so-called Infinite Energy solution - the possibility of finding new ways of tapping into virtually limitless sources of energy."
This is another of the various ideas for what amounts to an intelligent agent or home manager. Although it seems farfetched to have enough intelligence to interpret human speech and create a response packed into an alarm clock (although this device serves other functions), when this kind of technology pays back its original investment, it will be cheap. Cheap enough to add "smart" to just about any common object.
There's also one in the shower. Another example of the same idea is found in The Dosadi Experiment by Frank Herbert; he calls it the Daily Schedule.
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