For those of us who grew up watching The Jetsons back in the 60′s – and to a lesser extent, the generation who were introduced to the space-age animated sitcom during its second run in the 80′s – there was a starry-eyed wonderment at what the future truly held for us. Set in the mid-21st century, The Jetsons cartoon boasted a bevy of technological marvels. So now that we’re well into the new millennium, how are things stacking up for us? Let’s have a look at 10 comparisons between “then” and now:
- Flying Cars – This is probably the most popular of all the tech innovations that the Jetsons cartoon featured. While we’re not exactly zipping along on aerial freeways just yet, there are some prototypes out there to keep the dream alive.
- Robot Vacuum Cleaner – Here’s one technology from the ‘toon that I think we can say we’ve pretty much nailed. Thanks to iRobot’s Roomba, we are so there.
- Moving Walkways – Though not quite as ubiquitous as on the cartoon series, we’re enjoying nice leisurely “strolls” on these conveyors here and there.
- Tanning Beds – Who knew there would be a market for (literally) self-baking ovens? Answer: Hanna-Barbera, that’s who.
- Televiewer – This is another tech marvel from the circa 2062 Jetson Age that has not only arrived, but thrived. We’ve raised a generation at this point that has never known a time when we didn’t get our information from a computer screen.
- Jetpacks – While they’re seldom seen outside of James Bond movies or sports stadiums, we’ve got the technology to jet around the skies, just like Elroy here.
- Talking Alarm Clocks – You can argue whether this technology is in fact a welcome advancement, but it’s here nonetheless.
- Video Chat – I’ll be honest. I thought we’d see flying cars before this innovation would ever come to pass. Shows how much I know. So I’m just as surprised as this guy.
- Push-Button Desk Job – Yep, Old George had it pretty easy at work, considering he worked a 9-hour work week. The difference now is that technology, rather than giving us more leisure time, has raised the stakes for productivity in a 40-hour+ work week. Sadly, neither Hanna nor Barbera saw that unfortunate twist coming.
- Automatic Meals – It may not be automatic in the strictest sense, but with the push of a button we can conjure up a meal from a frozen block of barely identifiable substances. That’s pretty cool … even edible at times.
So have we arrived? Yes, and no. Much of the forward-thinking gadgetry that captured our imaginations in a television cartoon five decades ago has become reality. Others, not so much. Yet the technology is there, and with imaginations as child-like as they were back in ’62, it’s only a matter of time before we’re flying off to our jobs at Spacely Sprockets. Let’s just hope that by then, we’ll be able to work 9-hour weeks like George Jetson.