The classic Hanna-Barbera TV cartoon, The Jetsons, was based in the year 2020. Now that 2020 is here, how much of what we saw on the show is actually real?

The Jetsons originally aired in the early 1960s, before being revamped in the 1980s. The show offered a fun glimpse into what the producers imagined life would be like in the future.

That “future” is now.

The show was always one of my favorites as a kid, and still is today. While there were many things on the show which seemed unimaginable at the time, the one memory that sticks out above the city in the sky, flying cars, Rosie the Robot, and a totally autonomous society was the use of video phones. I remember thinking how crazy it would be to see who you were talking to on a big flat screen. They even had the ability to instantly access information and news on a screen whenever they wanted. Obviously, we now refer to that as the internet.

In the post-quarantine era, we’ve gone to new levels of interaction. Zoom has become a commonplace term in our everyday lives. We have the ability to have meetings with people all over the world from the comfort of our desks or phone, just like the Jetsons did. They even had “smart” watches they used for video chat. That’s something which was also far fetched back in the day, but is now an everyday thing.

We obviously can do that now.

That part of the show absolutely came true, but I still want a flying car. While there are some flying cars that have been manufactured, they are still far from what we saw on the show. That makes me sad. As we build our buildings higher and higher in today’s society, and as traffic becomes more congested, we need flying cars. Come on people, it IS 2020, right? But if people can’t drive as it is now on the ground, how would we expect a digitally distracted populous to drive in a 3D vertical environment? Well, we’d need a self driving car like they also had on the show. Those exist now too, but only experimentally (yes, I know about Tesla). They’re only useful though when the self driving cars aren’t randomly killing the occupants in fiery crashes, as has happened a few times. We’ll get there though.

On the note of driving and technology, George Jetson got stopped by a police officer in one episode. The officer pulled up a screen where George could talk live, face to face with the judge. We haven’t gotten to that point quite yet, but prisoners in jail often do have “video court” where they speak to the judge from their cell.

The Jetsons were also the first to pioneer housekeeping robots.

They had the very first “Roomba”, as well as “Rosie” the housekeeper and other digital assistants. We may not yet have human-like robots in our homes, but we do have artificial intelligence. Think “Alexa” and Google Home, where machines organize our lives and control many aspects of our daily life.

Telemedicine

The Jetsons could could visit with a doctor on screen from their home. With the Covid-19 pandemic, this became something quite common. There were many other things the show featured which haven’t happened yet, but will most likely become a reality sooner than later. It’s fun to think about what we’re doing now that future generations will laugh at us about.

In terms of where we could be with technology, we’re still pretty primitive, but somebody already thought about long before we did.

~ Marty ~