Home Science & Technology Alvin Toffler Dies in Bel Air Aged 87

Alvin Toffler Dies in Bel Air Aged 87


Futurologist guru Alvin Toffler has died at the age of 87.

He was the author of 1970 Future Shock and other works predicting social, economic and technological change.

Future Shock, which sold 15 million copies, defined people’s anxiety at the pace of social change in the 1960s.

Alvin Toffler popularized terms such as “information overload” and his works led world leaders and business moguls to seek his advice.

He predicted the rise of the internet and decline of the nuclear family.

Alvin Toffler died in his sleep on June 27 at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles.

Photo AP

Photo AP

Although many writers in the 1960s focused on social upheavals related to technological advancement, Alvin Toffler wrote in a page-turning style that made difficult concepts easy to understand.

Future Shock argued that economists who believed the rise in prosperity of the 1960s was just a trend were wrong – and that it would continue indefinitely.

The Third Wave, in 1980, was a hugely influential work that forecast the spread of emails, interactive media, online chat rooms and other digital advancements.

He also foresaw increased social alienation, rising drug use and the decline of the nuclear family.


Not all of his futurist predictions have come to pass. Alvin Toffler thought humanity’s frontier spirit would lead to the creation of “artificial cities beneath the waves” as well as colonies in space.

One of his most famous assertions was: “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, China PMZhao Ziyang and Mexican business guru Carlos Slim were among those who sought his advice.

Alvin Toffler was born to Jewish Polish immigrants in 1928 and honed his theories working for IBM and other technology companies in the 60s. He is survived by his wife, Heidi, with whom he collaborated on many of his books.