Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Future Shock

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For the Gillan album, see Future Shock.
For the Herbie Hancock album, see Future Shock
Cover of Future Shock

Future Shock is a controversial book written by the sociologist and futurologist Alvin Toffler in 1970. The book is actually an extension of an article of the same name that Toffler wrote for the February 1970 issue of Playboy. The book has sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated.

Future shock is also a term for a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies, introduced by Toffler in his book of the same name. Toffler's shortest definition of future shock is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". The concept of future shock bears resemblance to the late 20th/early 21st century concept of "the technological singularity", and may have been influenced by Kuhn's concept of a technological paradigm shift.



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Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change will leave them disconnected, suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation" – future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also coined the term "information overload".

His analysis of that phenomenon is continued in his later publications, especially The Third Wave and Powershift.

[edit] In Popular Culture

[edit] Reprints

The book has been reprinted several times. ISBNs include:

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