What the Jetsons can teach us about predicting the future


Day 3 of my 30 challenge to blog everyday, and I’m already running of ideas and places to blog. I’m now in the waiting room of a my car workshop waiting as the foreman changes the tyres on my car. A couple of years ago, working in these environments would be unthinkable, you could either go to the workshop or work from the office, you couldn’t do both, but now…I can.

A couple of years before that, everyone was bunkered down with wired connection that made silly noises when connecting, in the good ol’ days we used to call that dial-up, rewind just a tad-bit more and you’d reach a age where you had to wired up to make a phone call. No cellphones and if you wanted to contact someone you’d have to have their 7 digit phone number and a pay phone to make that call from. Sounds a lot different from what we have today, but it’s true.

So what’s the prediction for the next 3-5 years…I don’t know.

Predictions of the future are rarely true, all we can do is peer into the past, looking into the future is a lot more difficult.

Remember the Jetsons, if you don’t here’s a videoclip to jog your memory. The Jetsons were a modern family based somewhere in the space age where people work ‘full-time’ (a total of 9 hours a week) and spent the rest of their lives at a leisurely place with numerous help from robots and autmation. George Jetson (the father of the family) drove a ‘flying car’ that transverses multi-lane virtual highways. The Jetson had a robot maid who would help them with their chores but they routinely complained of all the remainin ‘work’ to do.

The problem with this was that this was the 1980s and everybody thought (to an almost certainty) these things would happen…they didn’t. We don’t have flying cars, heck the cars we have aren’t that much better than the cars in the 80s, and we don’t have robot maids, the closest we got to that level of intelligence was deep blue and even deep blue needed a human to move a chess piece let alone mop the floor or wash the dishes. The worst part, studies have shown Americans are working more now than they were in the 80s. DOH!

Notice also, what was missing in the Jetsons…the Jetson cartoon was drawn entirely of caucasians, George Jetson (unlike Homer Simpson) had no black friends, there were no Indians or Chinese in the cast and the entire business world in the movie seems to be based on short entitled caucasian men, compare that with what we have today.

The biggest, most glaring mistake with their prediction was that Judy Jetson (Georges wife) doesn’t work!! In the intro music we see Judy taking money from George to go shopping…completely different from the world today.

So in short, most of the predictions we though were certain to happen, didn’t even come close (flying cars and robot maids). The predictions that nobody in the 80s would have guessed, that women would be a dominant force in the workforce, that there would be so much diversity in the workplace or that China would scare the US the same way Russia scared it 20 years before.

Remember, if I told you 10 years ago, Hillary would still be married to Bill, but Gore would divorce Tippy and that the US would have President whose middle name was Hussein……would you believe it.

Anybody predicting 10 years into the future with any degree of certainty is just plain out lying, and with the way technology is moving these days, anyone predicting even 3 years into the future…..is just fooling themselves. It’s good to have plans but plans change and in the end rather than justify our predictions it’s probably just better to sit back and marvel at the great advances we made technologically, socially….but not politically!

3 years ago, everybody wanted the fastest PC, now everybody wants the best cloud solution, who knows what the future will hold, but I’m just enjoying the ride…

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