The author of the book “Future Shock,” which helped define the post-industrial age following its publication in 1970, has died. The AP reports that Alvin Toffler died in his sleep late Monday at his home in Bel Air. He was 87.
Toffler’s writings in “Future Shock” and his other books “anticipated the disruptions and transformations brought about by the rise of digital technology,” the report notes.
“One of the world’s most famous ‘futurists,’ Toffler was far from alone in seeing the economy shift from manufacturing and mass production to a computerized and information-based model,” the AP notes. “But few were more effective at popularizing the concept, predicting the effects and assuring the public that the traumatic upheavals of modern times were part of a larger and more hopeful story.”
Toffler introduced the term “Future Shock” in a magazine article in 1965, using it to define the increasing anxiety created by the sense that life was changing at an ever-accelerating pace. “His book combined an understanding tone and page-turning urgency as he diagnosed contemporary trends and headlines, from war protests to the rising divorce rate, as symptoms of a historical cycle overturning every facet of life,” the report notes.
Among Toffler’s many noted observations is this one: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”
Among his follow-up works to “Future Shock,” Toffler penned the 1980 bestseller “The Third Wave,” which AOL founder Steve Case has cited as an important influence. “He forecast the spread of email, telecommuting, teleconferences, interactive media, devices that remind you “of your own appointments” and online chat rooms,” the AP adds.