2016年7月1日 星期五

Alvin Toffler 1928-2016

Farewell to a futurist

Toffler was one of the world’s most famous futurists who foresaw how digital technology would transform the world

Alvin Toffler

Alvin Toffler (2007)
Born 4 October 1928 (1928-10-04) (age 82)
New York City
Residence Los Angeles, California
Nationality United States
Ethnicity Jewish
Education Multiple honorary doctorates
Alma mater New York University
Occupation Futurist, journalist, writer
Known for Future Shock,
The Third Wave
Board member of International Institute for Strategic Studies
Spouse Heidi Toffler
Partner Tom Johnson
Awards McKinsey Foundation Book Award for Contributions to Management Literature,
Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres
Alvin Toffler (born October 4, 1928 in New York City[2]) is an American writer and futurist, known for his works discussing the digital revolution, communication 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 founded Toffler Associates, a management consulting company, and was a visiting scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation, visiting professor at Cornell University, faculty member of the New School for Social Research, a White House correspondent, an editor of Fortune magazine, and a business consultant.[3]
Toffler is married to Heidi Toffler, also a writer and futurist. They live in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles, California, just north of Sunset Boulevard.
The couple's only child, Karen Toffler, (1954-2000) died after more than a decade suffering from Guillain Barre Syndrome at the age of 46.[4][5]
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Early life and career

Alvin Toffler was born in New York city in 1928. He met his future wife, Heidi, at New York University where he was an English major and she was starting a graduate course in linguistics. Being radical students, they decided against further graduate work, moved to the Midwestern United States, married, spending the next five years as blue-collar workers on assembly lines while studying industrial mass production in their daily work. Heidi became a union shop steward in the aluminum foundry where she worked. Alvin became a millwright and welder.[6]
Their hands-on practical labor experience got Toffler a position on a union-backed newspaper, a transfer to its Washington bureau, then three years as a correspondent covering Congress and the White House for a Pennsylvania daily. Meanwhile his wife worked at a specialized library for business and behavioral science.[6]
They returned to New York City when Fortune magazine invited Alvin to become its labor columnist, later having him write about business and management.[6]
After leaving Fortune magazine, Alvin Toffler was hired by IBM to do research and write a paper on the social and organizational impact of computers, leading to his contact with the earliest computer "gurus" and artificial intelligence researchers and proponents. Xerox invited him to write about its research laboratory and AT&T consulted him for strategic advice. This AT&T work led to a study of telecommunications which advised its top management for the company to break up more than a decade before the government forced AT&T to break up.[6]
In the mid-60s the Tofflers began work on what would later become Future Shock.[6]
In 1996, with Tom Johnson, an American business consultant, they co-founded Toffler Associates, an advisory firm designed to implement many of the ideas the Tofflers have written on. The firm worked with businesses, NGOs, and governments in the U.S., South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore, Australia and other countries.[6]

His ideas

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 skills that are not just cognitive; they're emotional, they're affectional. You can't run the society on data and computers alone."[7] Toffler also states, in Rethinking the Future, that "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn."
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.
In this post-industrial society, there is a lot of diversity in lifestyles ("subcultures"). Adhocracies (fluid organizations) adapt quickly to changes. Information can substitute most of the material resources (see ersatz) and becomes the main material for workers (cognitarians instead of proletarians), who are loosely affiliated. Mass customization offers the possibility of cheap, personalized, production catering to small niches (see just-in-time production).
The gap between producer and consumer is bridged by technology using a so called configuration system. "Prosumers" can fill their own needs (see open source, assembly kit, freelance work). This was the notion that new technologies are enabling the radical fusion of the producer and consumer into the prosumer. In some cases prosuming entails a "third job" where the corporation "outsources" its labor not to other countries, but to the unpaid consumer, such as when we do our own banking through an ATM instead of a teller that the bank must employ, or trace our own postal packages on the internet instead of relying on a paid clerk.
Aging societies will be using new (medical) technologies from self-diagnosis to instant toilet urinalysis to self-administered therapies delivered by nanotechnology to do for themselves what doctors used to do. This will change the way the whole health industry works.[citation needed]
Since the 1960s, people have been trying to make sense out of the impact of new technologies and social change. Toffler's writings have been influential beyond the confines of scientific, economic and public policy discussions. Techno music pioneer Juan Atkins cites Toffler's phrase "techno rebels" in The Third Wave as inspiring him to use the word "techno" to describe the musical style he helped to create.[citation needed]
Toffler's works and ideas have been subject to various criticisms, usually with the same argumentation used against futurology: that foreseeing the future is nigh impossible. In the 1990s, his ideas were publicly lauded by Newt Gingrich.
The development Toffler believes may go down as this era's greatest turning point is the creation of wealth in outer space. Wealth today, he argues, is created everywhere (globalisation), nowhere (cyberspace), and out there (outer space). Global positioning satellites are key to synchronising precision time and data streams for everything from cellphone calls to ATM withdrawals. They allow just-in-time (JIT) productivity because of precise tracking. GPS is also becoming central to air-traffic control. And satellites increase agricultural productivity through tracking weather, enabling more accurate forecasts.
Two major predictions of Toffler's – the paperless office and human cloning – have yet to be realized.
Also influenced Timothy Leary (see Info-Psychology; New Falcon Press, 2004)

Critical acclaim

Accenture, the management consultancy firm, has dubbed him the third most influential voice among business leaders, after Bill Gates and Peter Drucker. He has also been described in the Financial Times as the "world's most famous futurologist". People's Daily classes him among the 50 foreigners that shaped modern China.[8]

Selected awards

He is the recipient of several prestigious prizes, including the McKinsey Foundation Book Award for Contributions to Management Literature, Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres, and appointments, including Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.[3]
In late 2006, the Tofflers were recipients of Brown University's Independent Award.[9]

Bibliography 他的書幾乎都有漢譯

Alvin Toffler co-wrote his books with his wife Heidi. A few of their well-known works are:

See also


External links

讀Nabokov's interview. (03) Playboy [1964]
才知道Alvin Toffler 做過記者
    This   exchange   with   Alvin   Toffler    appeared    in
Playboy  for  January,  1964. Great trouble was taken on
both  sides  to  achieve  the   illusion   of   a   spontaneous
conversation.  Actually,  my  contribution  as printed conforms
meticulously to the answers, every word of which I had  written
in  longhand before having them typed for submission to Toffler
when he came to Montreux in mid-March, 1963. The  present  text
takes  into  account the order of my interviewer's questions as
well as the fact that a  couple  of  consecutive  pages  of  my
typescript  were apparently lost in transit. Egreto perambis