I’m 62 going into 63 next December. During these past six decades, I’ve seen an acceleration of change extremely difficult to cope with. I think it was Alvin Toffler who brought this subject up in one of his classical books. He called it “future shock.” Toffler’s shortest definition of future shock is a personal perception of “too much change in too short a period of time“.
Together with is wife Heidi—who is also a writer and a futurist—Toffler has discussed in length, the digital revolution, the communication revolution, the corporate revolution and technological singularity.
In his book “The Third Wave”, Toffler describes three types of societies, based on the concept of “waves”—each wave pushes the older societies and cultures aside.
- The First Wave is the society after agrarian revolution which replaced the first hunter-collector cultures.
- The Second Wave is the society during the Industrial Revolution ( late 1600s through the mid-1900s). The main components of the Second Wave society are nuclear family, factory-type education system and the corporation.
- The Third Wave is the post-industrial society. Toffler and his wife coined several words to describe this wave such as: Super-industrial Age, Information Age, Space Age, Electronic Era, Global Village, Technetronic Age, and the Scientific-Technological Revolution. He anticipated that this last wave will bring demassification, diversity, knowledge-based production, and the acceleration of change (one of Toffler’s key maxims is “change is non-linear and can go backwards, forwards and sideways”).
Toffler argues that society is undergoing an enormous structural change, a revolution from an industrial society to a “super-industrial society”. This change will overwhelm people, the accelerated rate of technological and social change leaving them disconnected and suffering from “shattering stress and disorientation”—future shocked. Toffler stated that the majority of social problems were symptoms of the future shock. In his discussion of the components of such shock, he also coined the term information overload.
I have experienced this acceleration of change in my lifetime. Let’s take a brief look: Vinyl records were replaced by the CD, the CD was replaced by the DVD, and the DVD is being replaced, even as we speak, by Sony’s Blue Ray technology. Do you remember the ferocious fight between Sony’s Betamax and JVC’s VHS format? Now both technologies are non-existent. Technological obsolescence blew them out of the water.
The latest change is about the struggling industry of broadcast television. Eight decades after pioneering the concept of broadcasting, NBC is on the verge of a startling move that illustrates broadcast television’s decline.
Cable TV operator Comcast Corp. is expected to buy a controlling stake in NBC Universal, perhaps as early as this week, bringing the network of Johnny Carson, Jerry Seinfeld, Bob Hope, Milton Berle and Tom Brokaw under the corporate control of a TV cable company.
Starting last Sunday, Vivendi SA had an option to sell its 20 percent stake in NBC Universal. Majority owner General Electric Co. is expected to buy it and then sell a 51 percent stake of the entire NBC Universal unit to Comcast, which serves about a quarter of the nation’s subscription TV households.
By owning more content, Comcast further hedges its bets as mainly a distributor of shows in case viewers ditch their cable TV subscriptions and migrate to the Internet, mobile devices or a platform that has yet to emerge. The company could charge for the shows or sell ads wherever the viewers are.
As the calendar pages turn, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cable TV is replaced by Internet TV, which has a long tradition of being free. Google could be the pusher of this technological change and Chrome OS–paired up with Android OS—could be the vehicles to do it. Not to far away, I foresee millions of people of my generation, viewing “I Love Lucy” with their 5G iPhone. The globe is spinning so fast, I have a hard time breathing. Good Day.
Source: Broadcast pioneer NBC prepares for cable takeover – Yahoo! Tech