Are we living in the future?
Are you old enough to remember The Jetsons?
In 1962, Hanna-Barbera wowed audiences with a totally-automated, futuristic, foldable flying car, and robot-loving family that changed television.
These space-age shows weren’t new, but, debuting as the first color program on ABC-TV, The Jetsons stuck with us as the quintessential image of where we surely would be headed in the 21st century.
Yet here we are in 2016, and our world today may feel closer to 1962 that it does to Orbit City. In some ways, however, The Jetsons did get things right about the future, though more so in terms of technology and devices than actual social issues. Regardless, writer Jeffrey Tucker argues, “The whole scene – which anticipated so much of the technology we have today but, strangely, not email or texting – reflected the ethos of time: a love of progress and a vision of a future that stayed on course [….] The Jetsons’ world is our world: explosive technological advances, entrenched bourgeois culture, a culture of enterprise that is the very font of the good life.”
It’s amazing to see how far our TVs and computers have come over the past 15 or so years. Remember those bulky sets we used to lug around or tuck into monstrous entertainment systems? Today, the best TVs are more akin to portraits we hang on the walls of our home.
It’s no surprise that The Jetsons got this right, though many of their screens also descended from the ceiling or popped out of a wall. But hey, I guess really fancy homes have those, too.
While it would certainly be nice to have Rosie do anything and everything around the house, we’re still happy with how far we’ve come since 1962.
Have you ever seen a Roomba in action? Or maybe you own one. An internet favorite (the world needs more cats riding Roombas), the autonomous vacuum has been around since 2002 and has since sold over 10 million units.
It represents just one aspect of the many push-button robotics we saw on The Jetsons, but we think Jane would approve.
(PS Jane is only 16 years older than her daughter Judy and we think that’s pretty interesting for a 1962 TV show.)
Aside from things like shrinking, portable, foldable cars, which we certainly don’t have yet, The Jetsons featured various forms of nanotechnology, including the machine you could swallow to see if your insides were working all right.
That was before we had even invented the capsule endoscopy, which does virtually the same thing.