Author and futurist whose books accurately predicted much of the social upheaval brought about by fast-paced technological change.
Today it is almost a commonplace that technology is transforming the world and that many of us are struggling to cope.
But Alvin Toffler, who has died at the age of 87 was the first to take that idea into the mainstream in his book Future Shock (1970) – which blamed society’s ills on the ‘dizzying disorientation brought on by the premature arrival of the future’.
It was a sensation – selling millions of copies and turned into a film narrated by Orson Welles.
Alongside further works such as The Third Wave (1980) it established Toffler as one of the world’s most famous futurists and saw phrases such as ‘future shock’ ‘information overload’ and ‘the information age’ added to the lexicon.
It is easy to pick out Toffler’s misses: his predictions that universities would collapse by 2000 – that human cloning would arrive by the mid-80s – that we would live in artificial cities beneath the oceans.
But far more impressive was how much he got right.