Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Toffler: of Future Shock fame

William Gibson
'Today, the technologies of deception are developing more rapidly than the technologies of verification. Which means we can use a television camera, plus special effects, plus computers, etc. to falsify reality so perfectly that nobody can tell the difference. And the consequences of that eventually could be a society in which nobody believes, everybody knows that seeing is not believing, and nobody believes anything. With the exception of a small minority that decides to believe one thing fanatically. And that's a dangerous social/cultural situation.

One of the consequences of living through a period like this, which is in fact a revolutionary period, is that the entire structure of society and the processes of change become nonlinear. And nonlinearity I think is defined almost by the statement that 'small inputs can have large consequences.' While large inputs can sometimes have very small consequences. That also means in a political sense that very small groups can, under a given set of circumstances, achieve power. And that is a very threatening idea for anything remotely resembling what we believe to be democracy. So we're going into a period, I think, of high turbulence and considerable danger, along with enormous possibilities.'

--interview with Alvin Toffler, in Modulations: A History of Electronic Music
Eerie. I'd wondered where Toffler went after the Future Shock books I read as a child. In retrospect the shocks he described were only the merest hints of times to come. As too our shocks shall seem but minor things ...

As goes deception and verification, so goes offensive and defensive weapons.

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