Long before there was even an idea of Skype, robotic cleaning supplies and the Apple Watch, America had the gadgets and gizmos of the Jetson family to admire and fantasize over. While recreational trips to Mars are in the rather near future and we’re getting closer and closer to flying cars and cars that can drive themselves, not everything about the Jetsons is a reality. Their various household appliances and advanced technology are both ways in which the show transformed America’s view of what the future might look like (reading the news on a screen rather than on a piece of paper is certainly something we have all come to know very well with the significant decline in subscriptions to the nation’s largest newspapers).
However, the year of the cartoon is allegedly 2064 and Jane (the mother/wife of the Jetson crew) doesn’t have a career. The mother/wife not having a job might have worked on The Flintstones but a stark change should have been made when dealing with the social future. This of course reflects the fact that The Jetsons aired in the 1960’s and not in actual 2064, they pushed the limit at the time. We can use a simple cartoon like The Jetsons as a model for the future. Not so much for reasons pertaining to what we should have by the year 2064, but how much more we should have (technologically, socially, environmentally, etc.) by then.
As a kid, I watched reruns of The Jetsons on Boomerang and imagined the future. Flying cars and living in houses in the sky all seemed so cool. I thought about how cool it would be to fly to school, to have a mechanical closet to pick out your clothes for you and how cool it would be to have a phone conversation via TV screen. We live in the future and only some of these things are a reality. We live in the future, but we can make so much more of the future we face. Not only in technology (though it is an extremely rapidly growing industry) but in environmental changes so that 2064 has an Earth worth living on. I’ve talked about social change several times before, but 2064 will (hopefully) be extremely socially different from 2015.
Specifically technologically, we have so far to go. We have come a long way in technological advancements since 1964, but imagine where we’ll be in 2064. We only have TV shows and movies to look to for guides as to where we might be. Sure, at the actual air time or release date of movies like The Minority Report, it may have seemed like pure science fiction but now it’s clearly something to think about. Screens and computers are going to run our lives one day and we have to be open to that. We have to be able to adapt to that, not only in journalism and media but in all industries and parts of life.
Let’s use The Jetsons to as a model of the future that we can surpass, but I do want my Rosie the Robot Maid WELL before the year 2064.