Magdalena Bibik

George Jetson, George Orwell – and what happened to us?

According to Hanna-Barbera, the creators of The Jetsons, George Jetson would be born yesterday, on August 1, 2022. The series, which is about an ordinary family from the future, describes what life with family spacecraft and clothes ironers is like.

I loved The Jetsons! I saw it as a child, on VHS, when the supply was still limited. So I kid you not, I must have seen it 100 times. Could THAT have sparked my interest in innovation….I haven’t actually thought of it that way before. Possibly. Probably. In honour of the day, I re-watched some of the episodes yesterday and my adult self may not be as impressed with how the family is portrayed circa 2060 (George is a teenage dad, so 22 +/- 35…) and I realise that in some areas we are way behind… One thing we have managed to do – most of the time – we no longer live in a world where “dad works and mum goes to the hairdresser”. At least most of us don’t. But when it comes to technological developments, the creators’ imagination (the series was released in 1962) is much cooler than reality. Okay, we have robot vacuum cleaners, but that’s about it.

There is a more accurate vision of the future, almost too accurate actually, that I would recommend you look into. If you’re going to read one of the “classics” in your lifetime, read “1984” by George Orwell (which, unsurprisingly, is my favourite book of all time, all categories). Written… 1949 (!), it could have been written today. Scary really how he could be so far ahead of the curve in terms of how we would behave in the future – and how we would allow ‘Big Brother’ to behave towards us. There are no robots ironing clothes, there is instead a fear of confronting one’s greatest fear, a fear of disagreeing with the majority mixed with a desire to rebel against power, and a constant monitoring of a system whose main desire is to read the minds of its citizens. The more I think about it, the more Orwellian I see around me.

So what do they say about futurology? That the later they come, the more wrong they are about technological development. We are not as fast as The Jetsons want us to be. Or any other modern day futurology I’ve seen, for that matter. Could we have gone further? Absolutely! If we hadn’t let Orwell’s self-fulfilling prophecy take over the world.

Think about it.