China’s favorite futurist Alvin Toffler dies at age 87

By AFP - Global Times Source:AFP-Global Times Published: 2016/6/30 20:03:00

Alvin Toffler Photo: IC

Alvin Toffler, the US author and visionary known for several world best-sellers, including Future Shock and The Third Wave, has died at his home in Los Angeles aged 87.

He died late Monday, Toffler Associates, the consultancy firm he founded, said in a statement without giving a reason for his death.

Toffler's groundbreaking book Future Shock, in which he examined social change, as well as several other books he co-authored with his wife Heidi, made him one of the most respected futurists of the modern era, with world leaders and moguls seeking his advice.

Toffler accurately predicted economic and technological developments - including cloning, personal computers and the Internet - as well as the social effects they helped bring about, including social alienation, the decline of the nuclear family and rising crime and drug use. He made the term "information overload" popular.

"Many of these predictions have come to bear and the central thesis of their work has proven true - that a knowledge-based new economy would replace the Industrial Age," his consultancy firm said.

Several world statesmen, among them Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986, were inspired by Toffler's writings and futurist ideas, and sought out his advice.

Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim has also credited Toffler, a close friend, for helping him anticipate and identify business opportunities.

Future Shock was published in more than 50 countries, and more than 15 million copies of the book have been sold, according to Toffler's website.

"It's difficult to find an aspect of modern life not touched by his work," said Deborah Westphal, CEO of Toffler Associates.

"We are ever mindful of his influence as we navigate a world marked by widening artificial intelligence, globally connected societies and a quickening pace of change."

Impact in China

Toffler had considerable impact in China.

Named "one of the top 50 foreigners who have had the greatest influence on China in recent centuries" by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China, Toffler's influence in the country began in 1983, when he and his wife Heidi gave lectures on The Third Wave at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Shortly after, Toffler's The Third Wave was translated into Chinese.

The Third Wave went on to become immensely popular, selling millions of copies to become the second best-selling book at the time after The Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping.

"We were in China about two years ago. People came up to us and told us that they can still remember bicycling 10 miles to watch The Third Wave television program," Toffler said in an interview with in 2006.

Toffler is survived by his wife of more than 60 years and business partner, Heidi Toffler.

He is to be buried in a private ceremony in Los Angeles, his consultancy firm said.

It said plans for a public memorial service would be announced later.
Newspaper headline: Future vision

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