Friday, Jul 11, 2014
by Ned Wazowski
Spaceman Jax and Robots in the Future
As household robots go – Artie just can’t be beat.
If there’s one consistent view of the future, it’s that robots will handle all of the dirty work. From the grime of a factory to the drudgery of a mine, we always imagine handing over the hard work to robots to keep our hands clean. And in the real world, we’re getting pretty close to a regular use of robots in industrial settings. But in the optimistic views of the 1960s home of the future, personal robots are so domesticated that they’re practically one of the family.
I can’t think of a better example than Artie from Spaceman Jax and the Galactic Adventures. The fact that they call him Artie, humanizing his serial number RT 710-P into a name, certainly implies that Spaceman Jax and Dekkin think of him as more than just a machine.
Spaceman Jax originally gets Artie to help him take care of Dekkin when his niece comes to live with him, and Artie does an excellent job caring for them both. Artie does all the cooking and cleaning, and it’s a good thing, too. Jax would never see tidiness as a priority, and his cooking would probably endanger the lives of Dekkin and himself. And while Artie isn’t a surrogate mother, he sure makes things homey. He’s programmed to bake cookies and decorate for holidays, and no one is faster with a hot cup of tea when sniffles show up.
Artie’s typical robotic traits and organizational skills make him a terrific fit to make sure Dekkin does her homework and gets to bed on time, but it also means that Spaceman Jax’s plans often cause him to short circuit a bit. But who wouldn’t under that stress?
The TV show and the comics made it clear that Artie was an older model, probably second-hand. Jax often takes him in for maintenance at the P5 Spaceport – maybe not quite as often as he should given the rather unusual circumstances he puts Artie in – but he would never think of upgrading him. And for all the trouble he goes through taking care of Jax and Dekkin, Artie loves them with all his mechanical heart.
Now, if only the Roomba took care of us as well!
This giclée of the 1986 Roger Believe cover of Past Message (Messaggio Passato) is part...