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Alvin Toffler (1971)

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler (born October 3, 1928) is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communications revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity. A former associate editor of Fortune magazine, his early work focused on technology and its impact (through effects like information overload). Then he moved to examining the reaction of and changes in society. His later focus has been on the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism. He is married to Heidi Toffler, also a writer and futurist.

Toffler explains, “Society needs people who take care of the elderly and who know how to be compassionate and honest. Society needs people who work in hospitals. Society needs all kinds of skill that are not just cognitive; they’re emotional, they’re affectionate. You can’t run society on data and computers alone.”

In his book The Third Wave, Toffler describes three types of societies, based on the concept of ‘waves’—each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside:

  1. First Wave, the society after agrarian revolution, replaced the first hunter-gatherer cultures.
  2. The main components of the Second Wave society are nuclear family, factory-type education system and the corporation. Toffler writes: “The Second Wave Society is industrial and based on mass production, mass distribution, mass consumption, mass education, mass media, mass recreation, mass entertainment, and weapons of mass destruction. You combine those things with standardization, centralization, concentration, and synchronization, and you wind up with a style of organization we call bureaucracy.”
  3. Third Wave is the post-industrial society. Toffler would also add that since the late 1950s most countries are moving away from a Second Wave Society into what he would call a Third Wave Society. He coined lots of words to describe it and mentions names invented by other people, like the Information Age, which predicted demassification, diversity, knowledge-based production, and the acceleration of change.

—Courtesy of Wikipedia


Alfred and Heidi Toffler are futurists. They don’t wear silver clothes and eat their food in capsule form, nor do they stare into smoky crystal balls and forecast next year’s fall fashions. The Tofflers employ a deep intellectual and practical understanding of technological, economic, political, and sociological progress to predict the course of our culture at large. So far, they’ve been disturbingly correct.

Alvin Toffler and his wife Heidi co-authored the earth-shattering, futurist classic Future Shock back in 1970. In a twist on the term “culture shock,” the Tofflers described in their book a mass disorientation caused by technological innovations coming faster than most people can grasp.

A decade later, the Tofflers predicted the rise of the information age and the Internet in The Third Wave. The book explained how he embedded industrial civilization based on social conformity and muscle power would be replaced by an information and technology culture dependent wholly on the creativity of the individual mind.

The shift from industrial age to information age constitutes nothing short of a revolution, and will not be without dramatic upheaval. Toffler’s most pressing concern is the moral and ethical specter of genetic engineering. Such a powerful technology carries with it deep social implications that could rip the fabric of a nation into shreds, even one as superficially solid as the United States.

The Toffler’s books have been translated into 30 languages.

—By Dave Roos, The Daily Nut

Recommended Reading:

Alvin Toffler

Revolutionary Wealth
by Alvin Toffler and Heidi Toffler

Series Navigation<< Rollo May (1970)Malvina Reynolds (1972) >>
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