As a kid growing up in the 80s, I watched some awesome cartoons—Scooby-Doo, G.I. Joe, Bugs Bunny, Transformers, She-Ra and her counterpart He-Man, DuckTales, and The Jetsons.
For those who don’t know The Jetsons, the show originally aired from 1962 to 1963 and then new episodes were produced for syndication from 1985 to 1987. The cartoon followed a family residing in Orbit City at some unknown point in the future (although original press materials said it was set in 2062, a century from the original 1962 premiere).
Consider this: we are now a mere 45 years away from 2062. So we’re closer to 2062 than we are to 1962. Crazy, right?
But back to the Jetsons.
In the Jetsons’ world, cities floated in the air, via adjustable columns; people “drove” aerocars, a flying saucer-like vehicle with a transparent bubble top, which then folded into briefcases; life involved numerous technological, labor-saving conveniences, including vacuum tube transport, jetpacks, moving sidewalks, and one push-button cleaning; and trips to the moon were daily occurrences. (When the show premiered in 1962, it was the height of the Space Race, and many TV shows reflected the desire for “space-age” living.)
The Jetsons family consisted of father George, who works (an hour a day, two days a week as was custom) at Spacely Space Sprokets; mother Jane, who’s a stay-at-home mom (keep in mind the show originally aired in 1962); teen daughter Judy, who attends Orbit High School & loves clothes & boys; son Elroy, who’s in the scouts & an expert in all space sciences; and Astro, the family dog who can speak.
But my favorite family member is Rosie the robot maid. Rosie, despite being an “outdated” model, is loved by the Jetsons. And why wouldn’t they love her? Rosie did all of the housework and cooking (although most of that was done by pushing buttons on the labor-saving devices) and did a lot of the parenting (both to the kids, as well as George and Jane).
Ever since I first saw Rosie, I have wanted a robot assistant. And not just any robot, but one as near like Rosie as possible (witty comebacks and all). For me, Rosie is the perfect embodiment of a robot assistant. She she talked, complete with expressive facial expressions, and did great work—housecleaning and cooking. I mean, if I didn’t have to cook, if I had a Rosie to prepare all my meals, and if I didn’t have to dust, vacuum, or do laundry, that is my idea of utopia.
Now who doesn’t want a Rosie?
So here we are, 55 years after the premiere, almost two decades into the new millennium. And do I have a Rosie to prepare my meals, clean my house, or walk my dog (but just on inclement weather days)? No.
Sure, I can buy iRobot Roombas, the little round vacuum robots. But while handy, Roombas limitations (it only vacuums) make it a far cry from a Rosie (although if someone wants to gift me a Roomba, I wouldn’t turn you down). And researchers and engineers have built some amazing humanoid robots, but none can cook (as far as I know) and even if they could cook, they are terribly expensive.
In fact, now that I think about it, I’d take *almost* any of the television or movie robots—a Transformer (who wouldn’t want a “robot in disguise” to drive you to work), Wall·E (he’s just so darn cute and a great garbage compactor), Baymax (he just wants to help people), or even the Iron Giant (although too large to be a personal robot assistant, who wouldn’t want to listen Vin Diesel).
But despite my disappointment that TV & movies got my hopes up about what the future would bring, I remain committed to my Rosie the robot obsession until such time when I can have one.