Re: Future Shock, by Alvin Toffler

From: Dani Eder (
Date: Fri Mar 04 2005 - 07:39:06 MST

> On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 22:07:16 -0800 (PST), p3
> <> wrote:
> >
> > I'll probably read it anyway in my unending quest
> for information, but
> > before I do, has anyone else here read it (I am
> assuming that is a given)?
> > Is it good? And so on.
> >

Perhaps the previous poster is unaware that the
name of this list: 'sl4' derives from 'Shock Level 4'.
Toffler coined the phrase 'Future Shock' to describe
what happens when the pace of progress and change
in society exceeds the capacity of an individual to
deal with it.

A hierarchy of shock levels were defined by Eleizer
Yudkowsky, if I recall, to distinguish different
capacities to think about and deal with levels
and rates of future change. The highest level, SL4,
includes concepts like the Singularity, uploading
minds into computers, superintelligent AI, etc.

My take on Toffler's idea is that western culture
has shown a remarkable ability to deal with change.
Other cultures, such as ones based on strict
Islam, are more resistant to change and exhibit
symptoms of 'Future Shock' such as becoming
violently angry with the source of change (i.e.
us - western culture). So the basic idea has
some validity, but it has not been near as bad
as he thought it would be 35 years ago.

We could still be in for societal stress in the
next decade if large numbers of low skill jobs
are automated out of existence and people can't
retrain or reeducate fast enough. In that case
Toffler would have been right in concept, but
wrong in time frame - he anticipated the problems
would occur before 2000.


Do You Yahoo!?
Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:50 MDT