5 movies, books, and cartoons ahead of their time
From robot butlers, to cryogenic freezing, to smart homes, we’ve harbored shared expectations over the past few decades about what the future would bring. Did everything we were promised come to fruition? Well, not exactly. But in many cases, we’re actually pretty close to the once far-flung ideas made popular in movies, books, and TV shows of years past. Here’s a look at some of the more memorable ones:
1. The Jetsons: Robot butler
Rosey, the Jetson’s robotic housekeeper, kept rooms spotless, delivered snacks, and waited on her family’s every need. She was born in the year 2001, around the same time as the Roomba, the vacuum cleaning robot that’s come closest to bringing us a modern-day Rosey. For now, we’ll have to settle for this cat dressed as a shark riding a Roomba — which, we have to admit, looks strikingly similar to Rosey.
2. Back to the Future: Hoverboards
The sequel to the early 80s cult classic, “Back to the Future II,” set it 2015, flaunted a hovering skateboard that pulled off maneuvers like jumping over cars and riding on water. We still don’t have these new-age skateboards, in large part due to the laws of physics, although Lexus came quite close. For now, we’ll have to settle for emulating Marty McFly with Segway’s version, which was made popular by a more modern day teenage heartthrob. As technology advances, where we’re going, maybe we won’t need roads after all.
3. Futurama: Tube Transport System
In Futurama, the animated sci-fi sitcom set in retro-futuristic 31st century New York, the public subway system transforms into a series of pneumatic tubes, called the Tube Transport System (TTS), that instantaneously transports passengers around the city. Today, entrepreneur Elon Musk is pioneering a similar pressurized transportation system: the Hyperloop. It would allow passengers to travel from LA to San Francisco in only thirty minutes, and could change the California transportation system for decades, if not centuries, to come.
4. Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: Cryogenic chamber
In this famous action-comedy, Austin Powers cryogenically freezes himself, emerging thirty years later with his same swinging sixties look and personality. We’ve seen plenty of modern day celebrities, namely famous athletes, attempt to combat the inevitable aging process with whole-body cryogenic therapy. This so-called “fountain of youth” spits out nitrogen vapor below 200 degrees Fahrenheit, promising to shift the post-workout recovery process into overdrive and burn hundreds of calories in minutes. Groovy, baby.
5. Smart House: Intelligent homes
We’re still a far cry from the Smart House of the Disney Channel Original Movie (or DCOM for children of the 90s). The intelligent home in the movie, featuring a built-in AI named Pat, could control the home’s temperature, immediately clean up any mess, and whip up a meal in minutes — she could even gauge your nutritional needs just from hearing you speak. While the rise of Siri and Alexa marks a shift in the direction towards voice-controlled personal assistants, we still haven’t quite figured out the fully self-sufficient house. At eero, we’re working towards making the connected home a reality, starting with a system that learns your network and continues to get better with time. We can only hope the home of the future lives up to our expectations.