Paperless Society on the Horizon?
Japan has many long and established traditions, not the least of them is paper. Just Google Japanese paper and see how many hits you get. Calligraphy is still taught in elementary school and is a hobby of many adults. That isn't stopping Japanese scientists from trying to do away with this resource dependent form of communication.
Reuters is reporting today that new "electronic" paper is being displayed (forgive the pun) that vary from fairly thick and sturdy to thin and bendable. Now, I'm about to show my age and dedication to crappy Sci-Fi shows simply because I believe I need to watch them no matter how bad just to encourage them to make more, but this reminded me of tech I've seen before on shows like Earth: Final Conflict and TekWar.
Groan, I can't believe I admitted that.
Amazon has already released their Kindle which in one of the many devices to make traditional books "obsolete". Email has long promised but has yet to deliver a paperless office. At the same time, the implications are pretty exciting. Two businessmen (or women - geesh) sit across a table from each other each working on a piece of electronic paper. They discuss the document and make corrections. When one wants to share the corrections with the other, they just touch the tip of their paper to the others and the document is transferred over. Once they are happy with the document, they both sign it and it is saved for both. At the same time it could be emailed around the world to whoever needed it.
But the real question is this - When they get back to their office, do they print it up for their records or not? My guess, they do. You only have to have your computer crash or hard drive fail once to know the joys of lost data. And who knows how secure your data is regardless of the price you pay the archiving service? A paper print out is forever provided proper handling and care. Saved files... not so much.
Now most (all?) of us reading this remember a life before emails and text messages and lol and 1337. Our kids... not so much. Will they trust technology more than we do (or more to the point, will they have more trustworthy technology than we do)? Will they finally be able to place an important email in a *Don't Delete* folder and NOT consider printing it out "just in case"? Will we finally get away from paper and trust our tech? If so, when life finally dies out on this planet from super, mutant, hyper-resistant, bird-flu germ, will the aliens that are excavating our remains think our society gave up writing altogether or will they figure out how to interface our computers into theirs and say, "Windows ME? Oh heck no! I just got my laptop working again!"
How many times as a young adult did I get a handwritten letter in the mail and marveled at the penmanship (I've never had good penmanship). How many times have I struggled to make ever letter perfect on an important document (even if the contents were just "Do you like me, Yes or No"). Can typing speed really replace the art of calligraphy? During the Dark Ages, monks spent their whole lives painstakingly copying important texts by hand. Those books are art - regardless of the content. And while a well written book is an art form, are we willing to give up the art of writing just for the convenience of the digital medium? Sure, we'd be saving some trees but we've learned to make gas out of weeds, surely we could find something else to make paper out of - like ET games or copies of Vista. Next thing you know, they'll be wanting us to use the three clam shells. And for the life of me, I can't imagine how those will work.
As long as I can remember they've been predicting the "paperless office" and "America will go metric."
I've yet to see either come true.
Oh, I remember the "metric" scare, we were taught the metric system in seventh grade, that was way back in 74-75, we (the students) were told that in less than 10 years we all would be "metric." I'm also still waiting for that nugget.
I've yet to see either come true.
Japan has many long and established traditions, not the least of them is paper. That isn't stopping Japanese scientists from trying to do away with this resource dependent form of communication. Reuters is reporting today that new "electronic" paper is being displayed (forgive the pun) that vary from fairly thick and sturdy to thin and bendable. Will we finally get away from paper and trust our tech?
Discuss "Paperless Society on the Horizon?" here. Read the article [audioholics.com].
What!!! No origami, paper planes, paper footballs (my favorite pass time in fifth grade math), the end of the world is upon us.