#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Future

We are living in the future, but it is not the future of my childhood. The future I was promised.

Rosey (sometimes Rosie) the Robot from “The Jetsons.”

Where is my household assistant robot? The Jetsons, The Twilight Zone, and various movies from the ’50s and ’60s showed robots taking over mundane household chores. Where is my Rosey to clean and do laundry?

Robots can do some pretty amazing things these days*, but they’re still mostly experimental at this point and way too expensive for normal people to have one at home.

And where is my flying car? The Jetsons, again, Back to the Future, and Blade Runner (the movie was set in 2019) all show people commuting in flying cars. A search on YouTube will turn up a few prototypes. Some are planes with folding wings. Some are overgrown drones. They don’t look easy to fly and use. A proper flying car should be as easy to drive as a four-wheeled car.

Flying cars, known as spinners, in the “Blade Runner” universe.

When we learned phone etiquette in school, we received a pamphlet produced by Ma Bell, telling us we’d soon have videophones. That was in the mid-1970s. Yes, we sort of have that now via Skype and Zoom and various smartphone apps, but it’s not exactly the same. Maybe if Bell Telephone had gotten off the stick and given us our videophones, landlines wouldn’t now be an endangered species.

Space1999 Year1 Title.jpg

And by now, we ought to have a moonbase (Space: 1999) and a colony on Mars (The Martian Chronicles). The U.S. space program started in 1958 and in just 11 years, they put two men on the moon. 52 years later, you’d think we’d have gotten further along on these projects. After decades of doing nothing more than going into near-orbit, NASA is finally talking about building a settlement on the moon and sending a mission to Mars. I wonder if either of these concepts will become reality in my lifetime. It’s cool that space tourism is a thing, but it’s depressing that it’s only an option for the ultra-wealthy.

I have seen a lot of impressive and life-changing developments. Home computers and the internet are amazing (even if the web can be a frustrating place at times). They’ve been a blessing for my genealogy research. It’s so easy to find digitized documents, or at least indexes of information. We can easily share photos with other family members and researchers. Of course, we’re still dealing with limitations – many records have not been digitized. Some state and federal agencies make it difficult to access certain record groups. The fees to request documents or to join some of the for-profit family history research sites can be prohibitive. On the flip side, we can harness the power of DNA for under a hundred bucks.

Who knows what new advancements are awaiting us right around the corner? I have great hope for the future.

* I can’t show you the incredible moves of the Boston Dynamics dancing robots without showing you how far these two-legged contraptions have come in the last six years. The two-legged robots are being developed to take on dangerous occupations where human-style mobility and agility is necessary – things like search and rescue after disasters. At the DARPA Challenge finals in 2015, things didn’t always go smoothly. Watch this one, then watch the BD robots dancing again – and check out them out doing Parkour – and if tears come to your eyes, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
This entry was posted in Genealogy, My Life, Social Commentary and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Future

  1. Eilene Lyon says:

    I’ve seen some of those new robot videos and they are amazing. But no, they won’t come do your laundry!

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