Alvin Toffler (2007)
|Born||4 October 1928 (1928-10-04) |
New York City
|Residence||Los Angeles, California|
|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|
|Awards||McKinsey Foundation Book Award for Contributions to Management Literature, |
Officier de L'Ordre des Arts et Lettres
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.
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.
Early life and careerAlvin 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.
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.
They returned to New York City when Fortune magazine invited Alvin to become its labor columnist, later having him write about business and management.
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.
In the mid-60s the Tofflers began work on what would later become Future Shock.
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.
His ideasToffler 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." 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.
- First Wave is the society after agrarian revolution and replaced the first hunter-gatherer cultures.
- Second Wave is the society during the Industrial Revolution (ca. late 17th century through the mid-20th century). 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."
- 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 him (super-industrial society) and other people (like the Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village, technetronic age, scientific-technological revolution), which to various degrees predicted demassification, diversity, knowledge-based production, and the acceleration of change (one of Toffler's key maxims is "change is non-linear and can go backwards, forwards and sideways").
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.
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.
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 acclaimAccenture, 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.
Selected awardsHe 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.
In late 2006, the Tofflers were recipients of Brown University's Independent Award.
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:
- Future Shock (1970) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-27737-5
- The Eco-Spasm Report (1975) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-14474-X
- The Third Wave (1980) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-24698-4
- Previews & Premises (1983)
- The Adaptive Corporation (1985) McGraw-Hill
- Powershift: Knowledge, Wealth and Violence at the Edge of the 21st Century (1990) Bantam Books ISBN 0-553-29215-3
- War and Anti-War (1995) Warner Books ISBN 0-446-60259-0
- Revolutionary Wealth (2006) Knopf ISBN 0-375-40174-1
- ^ Alvin & Heidi Toffler website
- ^ Alvin Toffler at the Internet Movie Database
- ^ a b "Alvin Toffler Speaker Biography" – Milken Institute, 2003.
- ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/11/classified/paid-notice-deaths-toffler-karen.html
- ^ http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbanphotos/2415309182/
- ^ a b c d e f "Alvin and Heidi Toffler: Partnership – Toffler website
- ^ Alvin Toffler interviewed by Norman Swann, Australian Broadcasting Corporation Radio National, "Life Matters", 5 March 1998.
- ^ 50 foreigners shaping China's modern development, 30 August 2006. Coverage at the Tofflers' site
- ^ Bios and Affiliations – Toffler website
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Alvin Toffler|
- Official website
- Toffler Associates, the executive advisory firm formed by Alvin and Heidi Toffler.
- After Words: Alvin Toffler interviewed by Newt Gingrich (Real Audio format)
- Alvin Toffler interview on The Gregory Mantell Show
- BookTalk.org: discuss Alvin Toffler's Future Shock with other readers
|Date of birth||4 October 1928|
|Place of birth||New York City|
|Date of death|
|Place of death|
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讀Nabokov's interview. (03) Playboy 
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 doribus!