"Future Shock" author Alvin Toffler is widely credited with being among the earliest to predict a "digital revolution."
He is responsible for a quote that has of late taken on even greater meaning: "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn."
Nowhere was that more evident than in this week's presidential election.
When writing 30 or so Net Worth columns already this year, I came across a number of topics that involved the presidential race and how it was being waged online.
With each topic - whether it was the way candidates were being extolled in music videos or how one's lack of voting might result in YouTube outrage - I strove hard to find two sides to the story. Only it became evident that the "other side" was negligible or absent.
The Democrats were spanking the Republicans in all things Internet-related. Information, accessibility, videos, audio, multimedia, etc.
Maybe Al Gore really did invent the Internet.
Now Republicans can't be THAT bad when it comes to embracing technology. I mean, who is designing all those missile guidance systems?
But whether Barack Obama should be deemed a cyberpioneer or not, the message was clear that his campaign considered the Web a huge priority.
John McCain not so much.
It's been cited often that John McCain admitted to being "an illiterate" when it came to the computer. He confirmed in a New York Times piece that he didn't use e-mail or go online without help from his wife. In interviews the words "blog" and "BlackBerry" rolled off his tongue like he was phonetically trying to translate Portuguese.
It was the most telling example of his disconnect with the "real America" than any bit of economic or religious dogma.
Now, I must admit, to the chagrin of many, I like McCain. I think he's smart and interesting and experienced.
But I also think my mom is smart and interesting and experienced. And despite her stack of master's degrees, she still can't maneuver her way around a computer like my 5-year-old daughter can. I would think that would pose a problem if she were attempting to get a job where she were in charge of people who utilize computers.
At this point in our collective civilization, America is a nation of software users, Internet junkies and e-mail buddies. Just as you wouldn't expect a pacifist to rule ancient Sparta, you wouldn't expect the U.S. to elect a Luddite president.
Our latest generation is being weaned on the computer from birth. And those in the elderly, increasingly ex-communicated generation are having trouble coming to terms with that.
Of course, age is a two-way street. I've used a computer as my main professional tool for 15 years now, and I'll bet within five years my kid will be better at it than I am.
Is this mouse-clicking technology the panacea for all cultural, social and political ills? Not exactly.
Author Toffler also wrote: "Society needs people who take care of the elderly and who know how to be compassionate and honest. Society needs people who work in hospitals. Society needs all kinds of skill that are not just cognitive; they're emotional, they're affectionate. You can't run the society on data and computers alone."
Here's hoping that the next four years promises a welcome environment for both such skills.