The premature arrival of the future

Something to practice your wry smile on.

In 1972, Orson Welles presented this documentary based on Alvin Toffler’s book of the same name: Future Shock.

The tone is suitably apocalyptic: Orson Welles at his doom-laden best.

Future Shock, Welles explains, is “too much change in too short a time.” It is the “premature arrival of the future.”

“Nothing is permanent anymore.” Society is on the move, “tearing apart communities, families and individuals.”

“The telephone directory is rewritten every day in an effort to keep track of the mobile society; pages printed out by the computer … where we live means less and less as we breed a new race of nomads.” Imagine!

Today’s travellers, wrestling to label their own baggage having “checked in online”, might be bemused by this scary vision of a broken future:

Imagine the novel sensation of trying to determine whether the smiling, courteous humanoid behind the airline ticket counter is a pretty girl or a transistorised robot.

Elsewhere, “shocking” scenes of women marching for equal rights and men in enormous lapels marrying each other maybe remind us how far we have come.

Underneath it all, and nearly 50 years on, there are still some points worth pondering. Are we more transient? Less permanent? And, are we actually coping better than anticipated with the “premature arrival of the future”?

Worth a watch (despite the poor audio/video quality).