|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|ISBN||0-394-42586-3 (Original hardcover)|
|Followed by||The Third Wave|
Future Shock is a 1970 book by the futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler, in which the authors define the term "future shock" as a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies. Their shortest definition for the term is a personal perception of "too much change in too short a period of time". The book, which became an international bestseller, grew out of an article "The Future as a Way of Life" in Horizon magazine, Summer 1965 issue. The book has sold over 6 million copies and has been widely translated.
The Tofflers argued that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a "super-industrial society". This change overwhelms people. He believed the accelerated rate of technological and social change left people disconnected and suffering from "shattering stress and disorientation"--future shocked. The Tofflers stated that the majority of social problems are symptoms of future shock. In their discussion of the components of such shock, they popularized the term "information overload."
In the introduction to an essay entitled "Future Shock" in his book, Conscientious Objections, Neil Postman wrote:
"Sometime about the middle of 1963, my colleague Charles Weingartner and I delivered in tandem an address to the National Council of Teachers of English. In that address we used the phrase "future shock" as a way of describing the social paralysis induced by rapid technological change. To my knowledge, Weingartner and I were the first people ever to use it in a public forum. Of course, neither Weingartner nor I had the brains to write a book called Future Shock, and all due credit goes to Alvin Toffler for having recognized a good phrase when one came along" (p. 162).
Alvin and Heidi distinguished three stages in development of society and production: agrarian, industrial and post-industrial.
All these waves develops own "super-ideology" with which explain the reality. This ideology affects all the spheres which make up a civilization phase: technology, social patterns, information patterns and "power" patterns.
The first stage began in the period of the Neolithic Era when people invented agriculture, thereby passing from barbarity to a civilization. A large number of people acted as prosumers (eating their grown food, hunting animals, building their own houses, making clothes,....). People traded by exchanging their own goods for commodities of others. The second stage began in England with the Industrial Revolution during which people invented the machine tool and the steam engine. People worked in factories to make money they could spend on goods they needed (it means they produced for exchange, not for use). Countries also created new social systems. The third stage began in the second half of the 20th century in the West when people invented automatic production, robotics and the computer. The services sector attained great value.
The Tofflers proposed one criterion for distinguishing between industrial society and post-industrial society: the share of the population occupied in agriculture versus the share of city labor occupied in the services sector. In a post-industrial society, the share of the people occupied in agriculture does not exceed 15%, and the share of city laborers occupied in the services sector exceeds 50%. Thus, the share of the people occupied with brainwork greatly exceeds the share of the people occupied with physical work in post-industrial society.
The third wave led to the Information Era (now). Homes are the dominant institutions. Most people carry on their own production and consumption in their homes or electronic cottages, they produce more of their own products and services and markets become less important for them. People consider each other to be equally free as vendors of prosumer-generated commodities.
Alvin and Heidi Toffler's main thought consists of the fact that modern man feels shock from rapid changes. For example, Toffler's daughter went to shop in New York City and she couldn't find a shop in its previous location. Thus New York has become a city without a history. The urban population doubles every 11 years. The overall production of goods and services doubles each 50 years in developed countries. Society experiences an increasing number of changes with an increasing rapidity, while people are losing the familiarity that old institutions (religion, family, national identity, profession) once provided. The so-called "brain drain" - the emigration of European scientists to the United States - is both an indicator of the changes in society and also one of their causes.
The book has been reprinted several times:
Curtis Mayfield's song "Future Shock" on the album "Back to the World" took its name from this book, and was in turn covered by Herbie Hancock as the title track for his 1983 recording Future Shock. That album was considered groundbreaking for fusing jazz and funk with electronic music. Stanley Clarke performed a song with the same title on his 1984 album Time Exposure. The rock band, BANG released "Future Shock" on their self titled Capitol Records release in 1972
In the 1974 movie The Parallax View the character Joe relates a story to Lee about a wife having an affair with her psychiatrist and then a bulldozer knocking down his house by calling it future shock.
Other works taking their title from the book include: the Futurama episode "Future Stock"; The Gordons 1981 EP on Flying Nun Records; a segment on The Daily Show starring Samantha Bee; Kevin Goldstein's recurring column on the Baseball Prospectus website; a Magic: The Gathering pre-constructed deck; and the National Wrestling Alliance's 1989 Starrcade event.
Since 1977, UK Comic 2000 AD has run a series of short stories called Future Shocks based on this concept, some of which were written by Alan Moore. The abbreviated derogatory term Futsies was applied to citizens in 2000 AD stories (mainly in the Judge Dredd universe) who had been driven insane by Future Shock.
Works deriving themes and elements from Future Shock include the science fiction novels The Forever War (1974) by Joe Haldeman, The Shockwave Rider (1975) by John Brunner, the RPG Transhuman Space (2002) by Steve Jackson Games, and the indie RPG Shock: Social Science Fiction (2006) by designer Joshua A.C. Newman. Experimental music group Death Grips use the lyric "Culture shock, future shock, fuck yourself, choke yourself" in their song "Culture Shock".
In 2011, a song titled "Future Shock" by Darwin, Obie, and Mr-E appeared on the album Nu Nrg 100, the final installment of the world-renowned label Nu Energy, while Brooklyn-based band TV on the Radio included a song titled "No Future Shock" on their album Nine Types of Light. The same year, the Unsound Music Festival in Krakow, Poland took the concept of 'future shock' as its theme.
William Brittelle, the Brooklyn-based composer of pop-influenced electro-acoustic art music, has an album called "Future Shock".
The sense of future shock is an integral aspect of cyberpunk.
Futureshock were also an electronic music duo recording for Junior Boys Own and Parlophone / EMI. The members were Phil Dockerty and Alex Tepper.