Simpsons Superiority in Seeing the Future

One of the best things about the Simpsons on FX (apart from being followed by Archer) is the thematic runs they do as part of the “every episode” series.

All of the music episodes together? Done.
Every Lisa as the star episode? Done.
All the doughnut episodes? Done.
Every Simpson’s pet? Done.
All of Homerisms? Done.

And most recently, all of All the robots episodes? Done.

It’s such a cool way to experience 28 seasons worth of genius, and it exposes some of the most interesting recurring thematic ideas the Simpson’s tacked in nearly three decades.

The robots one really stands out to be because of all the talk about automation transferring jobs away from humans. Granted, for a certain portion of the population the biggest concern is the misplaced notion that offshoring is hurting the current generation of workers and the current administration’s policy is unfortunately mostly focused on addressing this fallacy. The truth of the matter is even a few decades before the Simpon’s debuted the real threat to the American worker was automation.

For example, earlier this year the automated teller machine (ATM), celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, not only revolutionized the banking industry, it changed a major part of customer care since the last 60s. Interactive voice response was spawned in the 70s and began the replacement of the opperator in basic telephony situations as well as providing triage in most telephony customer care situations. By the time the 80s rolled around, consumers were interacting with machines to perform daily retail tasks from self-serve at-the-pump gas to self-checkout at the grocery store while manufacturing was envisioning the concept of “lights out” and the arrival of programmable automation controllers.

The 1990s brought rapid technological change that directly affected both businesses and consumers like no other time in history and the pace of change accelerated so quickly during the decade that more was achieved in those ten years than had been in the nearly 50 years before.

It also brought the Simpsons which debuted December 17, 1989.


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