Thursday, December 19, 2013

Future Shock Meets 1984

I remember reading both of the books. Everyone seems to have read or be familiar with George Orwell's "1984." Fewer recall Alvin Toffler's "Future Shock." While Toffler's was more about the psychological aspects of reacting to rapid change, I am using my blog-owner's license to use it hear.

So, this is a blog usually devoted to benefits and compensation. What does this have to do with these two books by these two authors?

I'm going to take you into a future world. Perhaps it will never occur, perhaps it will occur sooner than you think. As Orwell suggested, Big Brother knows more about you than you would care to believe. Today, Big Brother is not just the government or the Thought Police, it's Google, Amazon, your credit card company, your favorite place to buy groceries, Netflix, and the like.

There are two approaches that you can take. You can hate it. Many people do not like the intrusion. Many people do not like the lack of privacy. But, you know what? This is going to happen to you whether you like it or not. It is virtually impossible in today's world to avoid this intrusion and lack of privacy. So, the second approach is to embrace it.

When Future Shock meets 1984, your identity will live on a chip. As far as my vision can take me, that chip currently lives in your smartphone, but perhaps it will be somewhere else by the time we get there. Perhaps it won't be a chip at all, but that's not the point here.

By this time, Congress has gotten its act together (wow, that seems like it must be far, far in the future) and reformed or eliminated the Tax Code as we know it. This will be important because this new model will require much more flexibility and customization.

So, you start your new job and instead of negotiating your pay, you negotiate your total worth to your new employer, The Third Wave, Inc. (TTWI). [Those who get the reference are pretty literate, by the way.] On your first day with TTWI, you go into a meeting with Winston Smith, the head of all things people. At TTWI, Winston is not even a person, but a drone leading up the people function.

As you walk into the meeting room, your chip activates and based on all the data on your chip, Winston instantly produces a recommended benefits and compensation package for you. Winston knows that you have a mortgage to pay monthly, he knows how much your spouse earns, and he knows about your family. He also knows that you have a proclivity for collecting autographed original vinyl 45s of one-hit wonders and that you need additional cash to cover that.

You look at the flexible design that Winston has provided you, make one small change because Winston didn't know that you plan to accelerate your mortgage payments starting in two months, and you are on your way.

So, what do you think? Are you bothered? Did you like how smoothly the process went? Did you like not having to read hundreds of pages of legalese? Did you like getting recommendations that were customized to you?

It's coming -- maybe not in my lifetime, but it's coming.


  1. As you've stated, there isn't anything we can do about it and so although I don't appreciate it, I'll deal with it...

    It's mind-boggling to see these things played out right before our eyes while people remain blinded or willingly ignorant to them.

    And you forgot to toss in Brave New World...LOL

  2. Acciah, thanks for reading and commenting. I think you are being charitable with willfully ignorant. To me, it's more like willfully indignant.

    And, I'm probably not smart enough to have worked a 3rd book into my ramblings at 6AM when I actually wrote them.