Alvin Toffler passes away at 87

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler got it right. It was all the way back in 1970 when he published Future Shock, a book that predicted, with surprising yet not complete accuracy, the impact of technology on our future selves. From throwaway consumerism which was a spot-on prediction, to Rapture-esque underwater cities which was not so accurate, his vision of the impact of technology has mostly come true. FutureShock became a trilogy with two more books; The Third Wave and PowerShift.

He was also the first to coin the term ‘Information Overload,’ a term we use to this day, and one I use frequently in my classes, which refers to our inability to take in and process the overwhelming amount of information that continues to be created even today. The title of the book itself is a reference to what would become an inability for us to keep up with the fast pace of the future. He predicted that the family as a cohesive unit would continue to be tested as the busy nature of life and all that would go along with it would wedge itself between those familiar bonds.

He correctly foresaw the development of a new knowledge economy and information age, in which the ability to learn and adapt would become more important than the ability to maintain a trade skill, which we see in the creation of job titles such as ‘Knowledge Worker’ (itself a term introduced in 1966 by Peter Drucker). In his eyes, it would be the inability to adjust that would become the illiteracy of the new millennium.

Indeed, Alvin Toffler predicted technological development would completely reshape the fabric and structure of society, and we now know that he was right.

A true forward thinker.