‘The Jetsons: Are we there yet?’

Jan 20, 2021
'The Jetsons' was a spinoff of 'The Flintstones'. Source: Getty

Did you enjoy American cartoon sitcom The Jetsons when it first screened in the 1960s? Lots of Baby Boomer children did. The Jetsons was created by Hanna-Barbera Productions as a spin-off from the ever-popular show The Flintstones, which was set in the Stone Age. (Here is a scary footnote: baby Pebbles has turned 60!) In contrast, The Jetsons was supposed to be set sometime in the 21st century. It was a show based on scientific predictions of how humans (all white), would be living. So, have we become “the Jetsons” yet?

Well, no, unfortunately I haven’t got a flying car in my garage, but driverless cars are definitely in the works. As for a robot maid to do all the housework, we aren’t quite there yet either, but circular robotic vacuum cleaners have been around since the late 1990s and can now respond to a series of voice commands. Robots are definitely doing more and more tasks these days. Some Japanese car manufacturing factories are totally operated by robots and supervised by just one human. In Australia, a Woolworths warehouse is going to use robots to choose online shopping items, also supervised by very few humans.

In The Jetsons, Jane, the wife and mother, worked online at home for a recycling company. She did exercise classes in front of a screen. She took her son, Elroy, to a telehealth consultation, and she socialised online. We do all these things now, enjoying drinks with friends and family anywhere in the world over Zoom or Skype or FaceTime etc.

In one episode, the father, George, was cloned. There is cloning in our world today, but it is largely experimental. We also have smartwatches we can communicate on, and push-button treadmills – even for dogs. The Jetsons lived somewhere in outer space, in elevated apartments with views. Lots of people today live in high-rise units with breathtaking scenery.

What I really need is one of those jetpacks to fly around, as my ageing legs are aching. And we are all more than ready for flying cars. Wouldn’t that be great?

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