In 1962, The Jetsons gave the world a cartoonish take on a vision of the future. Though we still have a ways to go until 2062, it’s fun to look back and see the ways in which this iconic show predicted the future – and the ways they got it wrong!
“JET-SON!” Most of us recognize Mr. Spacely’s aggravated shout that could often be heard at least once an episode. George Jetson sure had a tough boss, but he also had the luxury of a three-day work week! While we all dream of a future with less work and more play, we’re not quite there yet. Especially in the US, the tradition of the Monday – Friday, 9-5 work week still holds the most sway. However, many companies around the world are looking toward allowing their employees more flexibility with their schedules, and the 9-5 can often look more like 10-6 or 7-4. With businesses like Netflix offering unlimited time off, and companies in countries like France taking Friday out of the work week, the trend seems to be starting – even it’s a bit more slow to catch on in the States.
With 2015 marking the year Marty McFly visited the future, now that we’ve hit 2016 much of the world is already wondering where the flying cars and hoverboards are (real ones, not the ones with wheels that burst into flames). While our flying cars are still called airplanes, and most folks don’t have their own, we are well on our way to having cars that will drive themselves. Google and Tesla are leading the way toward this futuristic perk that even The Jetsons didn’t think of; however, The Jetsons did predict other movement aids that we take for granted these days, such as moving sidewalks that are commonly seen in airports. We will still have to wait a while for space travel to be as ubiquitous as air travel – but we’re on our way there, as well!
Who doesn’t wish for a friendly and fun robot like Rosie to help us keep the house clean? While we may not yet have the equivalent of the personality-filled robot maid, we do have a few automated contraptions that can make daily life a little easier. It’s not uncommon for folks to opt for a Roomba to vacuum floors on their own, or add a home network program like Nest to monitor their house’s security, add cameras with live feeds, and even control the thermostat. Let’s not forget that you can also talk to Artificial Intelligence helpers like Siri, Google Now, or Amazon Echo – some of them even tell jokes!
The Jetsons sure loved their technology – and so do we! Episodes often showed members of the family viewing one of the ubiquitous flatscreens, and George caught up on the news using a “televiewer” with not only a newspaper-like page, but moving images and real-time updates. Sounds like a lot of news websites these days! The Jetsons did miss out on one big thing in the world of media: the internet itself! Where would we be without the world wide web? Besides George browsing a feed of news sites, with the internet included in this futuristic show we’d probably also see his teen daughter Judy’s digital diary, DiDi, become a blog or vlog.
Just like with their media consumption, The Jetsons used screens and technology to keep in touch. In the age of live video chat services like Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts, we can easily recognize the trend of using video technology for instant, long-distance, face-to-face communication. You might also recognize their wearable screens as a predecessor to smart watches – even if we’re waiting for the full video chat capability on many of those.
What do you think? Did the show creators of the ’60s have a good handle on where the future was headed? What else did The Jetsons get right, or wrong? Either way, this futuristic family shows that any future is bright with loving family and friends.