Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Quote: Alvin Toffler

 
 

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

-       Alvin Toffler


Compare with: 

"It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

-     Charles Darwin

Alvin Toffler (1928 - ) is an American writer and futurist – scientists and socials scientists who specialise in systematic prediction of the future, both as to human society and in general as to life on earth.  He is known for his works on digital revolution, communication revolution, corporate revolution and technological singularity, the development of greater than human intelligence through technological means. 

Toffler’s early works focused on technology and its impact through effects such as information overload, a term popularised by him in his 1970 book Future Shock.  His hypothesis in that book was that people have a limited biological capacity for change and that when that capacity is overwhelmed, people end up feeling disconnected, stressed and disorientated – future shock.  When there is too much information and too much change, people will have difficulty understanding an issue and making decisions. 

“Future shock is the shattering stress and disorientation that we induce in individuals by subjecting them to too much change in too short a time.”

Makes sense to me and is probably even more true today than in the past, although kids today seem to grow up with constant technological change and accept it as the norm.  They don’t seem to suffer from it, although my perception may not be correct and my observations may not apply universally.

Later works examined social change, the increasing power of 21st century military hardware, weapons and technology proliferation, and capitalism.

Some other Alvin Toffler observations:

Change is not merely necessary to life - it is life.

It is better to err on the side of daring than the side of caution.

One of the definitions of sanity is the ability to tell real from unreal. Soon we'll need a new definition.

Our technological powers increase, but the side effects and potential hazards also escalate.

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