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We are about halfway between 1962, the year the original Jetsons TV show was produced, and 2062, the year in which the series was set in. I don’t know about you, but it was that TV show that pretty much set up my expectations for what the future would be like.

So, how close are we to our Jetsonsian future?

Moving Sidewalks (like the one Astro walks on)– Yes, many airports have these
Big Screen TV – Sure
Videophone- Yes. In fact, the real videophones are far better and more portable than the huge tube-based, stationary things on the Jetsons
Robot Maid– Sort of. I have a Roomba. Rosie the robot could dust, answer the door, and make wise-cracks. Roomba’s a start.
Robot Dog- At one point, George Jetson bought the family a robotic dog named Lectronimo because he had some issues with Astro’s real canine behavior. I think Sony’s AIBO dog could do a lot of what Lectronimo could do, although it’s been an awful long while since I’ve seen that episode.
Flying Car – Not even close. This is my one great disappointment of the Jetsonian vision of the future. Perhaps there’s hope. The HuffPost said a couple days ago that the Terrafugia — one of oh, so many that have promised us a flying car future — has been officially approved by the US Government to drive on highways. But it’s designed to drive on highways in the city and then fly from airport to airport for long distances. But again, it’s a start I guess.
Interplanetary Travel and Off-planet Vacationing – In one episode, George and Jane visit Las Venus (which has robotic blackjack dealers. These I’ve seen.) But real interplanetary travel? Sigh.

All told, the prescience of the Jetson’s writer’s is remarkable. Jules Verne and Nostradamus, you’ve got nothing on Hanna-Barbera.

Are there any other Jetsonian “predictions” that have come to pass or that you think are likely in another 50 years? Post in comments.


See inside Bill Gurstelle’s new book, The Practical Pyromaniac, here.

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Comments

  1. Cogswell Cogs versus Spacely Sprockets; ie Duopoly.

    Before the Jetsons there was the threat of total monopoly by a single entity, ala Standard Oil or the Bell system, or a bunch of different small players taking a generally equal share of the market. AFAIK the Jetsons was one of the first depictions of two entities owning roughly half of their specific market each battling with the other, but not really wanting the other to fail. You don’t see this happening until the 80s, really.

  2. Cogswell Cogs versus Spacely Sprockets; ie Duopoly.

    Before the Jetsons there was the threat of total monopoly by a single entity, ala Standard Oil or the Bell system, or a bunch of different small players taking a generally equal share of the market. AFAIK the Jetsons was one of the first depictions of two entities owning roughly half of their specific market each battling with the other, but not really wanting the other to fail. You don’t see this happening until the 80s, really.

  3. Cogswell Cogs versus Spacely Sprockets; ie Duopoly.

    Before the Jetsons there was the threat of total monopoly by a single entity, ala Standard Oil or the Bell system, or a bunch of different small players taking a generally equal share of the market. AFAIK the Jetsons was one of the first depictions of two entities owning roughly half of their specific market each battling with the other, but not really wanting the other to fail. You don’t see this happening until the 80s, really.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ya missed one, albeit (physically) small one, but one that struck me as prescient.  There was an episode where George went to the company physician who had him swallow a “peek-a-boo prober capsule” (equipped with a suitable wise-cracking voice — it overshot and ended up in the physician’s mummy’s (??) head and thus George was declared to be soon to die and *hi*larious hi-jinx ensue)  …but now we do have the beginnings of the “peek-a-boo-prober” pill (sans voice):  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capsule_endoscopy

  5. Anonymous says:

    I remember reading a “The Jetsons” picture book as a little kid, and feeling insanely jealous of Elroy’s bath machine.

    It is what The Jetsons didn’t predict — social and technological — that I now find interesting.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I remember reading a “The Jetsons” picture book as a little kid, and feeling insanely jealous of Elroy’s bath machine.

    It is what The Jetsons didn’t predict — social and technological — that I now find interesting.

  7. George Jetson says:

    The only sickness I can remember is when George got a case of “button finger” from having to do the laborious chore of pushing a button all day. I always thought that was a nice view of the labor saving future until someone pointed out to me that we have that today, only it’s called repetitive stress syndrome.

  8. George Jetson says:

    The only sickness I can remember is when George got a case of “button
    finger” from having to do the laborious chore of pushing a button all
    day. I always thought that was a nice view of the labor saving future
    until someone pointed out to me that we have that today, only it’s
    called repetitive stress syndrome.

  9. George Jetson says:

    The only sickness I can remember is when George got a case of “button
    finger” from having to do the laborious chore of pushing a button all
    day. I always thought that was a nice view of the labor saving future
    until someone pointed out to me that we have that today, only it’s
    called repetitive stress syndrome.

  10. Mark Aaron says:

    I was just talking about this very same thing with my friend a couple days ago.  I was telling him that we can forget about flying cars unless there is no gravity field.  it’s too dangerous!  

    superb article.  :D

  11. There was the morning routine where the bed popped George out like toast from a toaster, then a conveyor belt carried him through a shower and a dressing machine and then robot arms brushed his teeth, and then it was off to another grueling four-hour corporate work day.  

    With inflatable carbon nanotube technology, maybe a car that folds into a briefcase isn’t just a cartoony idea after all.

  12. Anonymous says:

    During the opening credits, George’s wife takes all his money from him.  Years later I got married and that’s come true for me, too.

  13. Anonymous says:

    During the opening credits, George’s wife takes all his money from him.  Years later I got married and that’s come true for me, too.

  14. Anonymous says:

     http://www.eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=635469588001

    The flying car may not be that far off.  This guy (Steve Saint) should go to Kickstarter for funding.  Looks fun.

  15. Anonymous says:

     http://www.eaavideo.org/video.aspx?v=635469588001

    The flying car may not be that far off.  This guy (Steve Saint) should go to Kickstarter for funding.  Looks fun.

  16. Joe says:

    I seem to remember that george complained about his 5-hour workday (or was it work week?)  Seems like we work harder longer hours today than ever (8-hour day I wish, usually 10-12 hour)

  17. Flat Screen TV, are already here,  Robot Maid–http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7zMLJc7Xq7Y,