Marshall McCluhan
Marshall McCluhan, the Canadian professor and media expert Wikimedia Commons

Years before it even existed, Marshall McLuhan predicted the world wide web and the impact that computers would have on our lives.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta in 1911, McCluhan became renowned in the 1960s as he outlined his view that technology shapes society and that the way people access information is more important than the information itself.

He studied at the University of Manitoba and University of Cambridge and then became a lecturer at the University of Toronto.

His famous quote, "the medium is the message" became prophetic and stemmed from his belief that human history could be divided into four eras, namely the acoustic age, the literary age, the print age and the electric age.

Google has commemorated what would have been his 106th birthday on Friday (21 July) which a Doodle that illustrates these stages of human development.

His first book was The Gutenberg Galaxy (1962) and in it, he coined the term "global village" as he put forward his theory of technology as a unifying force rather than a divisive one. This work was followed up with the book Understanding Media.

Google Doodle
Google's Doodle marks the four stages of human development that Marshal McCluhan believed history could be broken into, acoustic, literary, the print age and the electric age Google Doodle

Voiced decades before technology developed the way it did, his prediction that the "computer as a research and communication instrument" is noted for its prescience, in particular in an era of the smartphone.

He was a TV personality and his predictions garnered the attention and support of magazines and authors.

He also was not afraid to laugh at himself, taking a famous cameo appearance in the Woody Allen film Annie Hall, in which he challenges a know-it-all cinema goer, who is pontificating about his work. He died in Toronto on 31 December 1980.