Future Shock and the Tech Superpowers

Future Shock and the Tech Superpowers

Future Shock author Alvin Toffler died recently, and fyi,future shock is a reference to “too much change in too short a period of time.” …Toffler 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. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems are symptomsof future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he popularized the term “information overload.”

The events of the past weeks – the two incidents of police shooting, the shootings of police officers and the protests that erupted – gave us pause to reflect on Toffler and his predictions, as well as technology’s role in the events. We read a piece not too long ago that contended that, with the population shifts of people to metropolitan areas, that super metropolises/city states would be the major political forces in the not too distant future, but we contend instead that the tech superpowers – the Googles and Facebooks and various social networks – are fast becoming the major forces and vehicles for selectively disseminating information. While we are certainly not a proponent of governmental oversight, we might suggest that, at this juncture, before they become even more powerful and potentially even more manipulative, lest we forget that Mark Zuckerberg assured Angela Merkel (not realizing that he was on an open mike) that Facebook was indeed capable of suppress speech – selectively – and even more recently joked that Facebook could affect elections by announcing that they were being postponed – and that people would believe him, which gives you an idea of how powerful he believes he is – and how dumb he thinks the average Facebook user is, and for all we know, he may be right. Frightening, that someone so seemingly bereft of moral character is in control of such a large portion of the planet’s population and at the risk of repeating ourselves, Facebook’s Filter Bubble Is Getting Worse.

Facebook has even hypothesized how they could control the 2016 elections.

The question is: if this is truly social media, where’s the other side of the conversation, and if it is purely one-sided, why, who profits and how? What’s the endgame and there’s always an agenda/endgame, and trust us, it’s always driven by potential profits and someone always profits.

But people are starting to fight back, not via social media this time, but by trying to force responsibility by hitting companies where they feel it: Facebook Sued for $1b for Alleged Use of Medium for Terror.

In case you were wondering if Google was staying quietly on the sidelines, you need to know Who’s REALLY Behind Black Lives Matter And What They Are Trying To Do Next and heaven knows, we know that Google’s intentions are hardly altruistic. Again, in case you missed it, Google reveals plans to put ‘eyes in machines’ as digital surveillance fears reach boiling point – which was not widely reported in the tech press.

All, while a certain presumptive presidential nominee was lauded by Silicon Valley for a proposed tech platform, which would include ubiquitous wifi (implemented/controlled by whom, we wonder) and as Fast Company noted, Here’s what’s missing on tech from the Democrats’ party platform. Namely, any mention of encryption or law enforcement access to locked devices like smartphones. 

Why We Need to Pick Up Alvin Toffler’s Torch, suggested the New York Times upon the author’s death, and the piece is a must-read, basically calling for a non-partisan institute for the future. “As Mr. Toffler put it in “Future Shock,” “Change is avalanching upon our heads and most people are grotesquely unprepared to cope with it,” said the Times. Given the hubris and overreaching of Silicon Valley, we wonder if governments are, either. Or, to quote Bill Gates, at this juncture, might be a good idea to keep both eyes peeled on the road ahead, as we barrel, seemingly at least somewhat blindly,  onward and forward.

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