The Long and Winding Road: Paperless society, it’s up to you.

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Liverpool

In the late 1970’s I remember hearing about a new invention called the ‘microchip’. Would that mean there would be ‘microfish’?

Well it turned out not but the microchip certainly went on to fundamentally transform our lives. One of the ideas back then was that people would no longer be needed to do jobs that required any form of repetitive task. The second idea was that we would stop using paper as we would not need it anymore.

 OK , so we had no idea what would happen with this new technology back then, the theory was based upon what we knew at the time. The reality was that jobs did not vanish in the way envisaged, yes they did alter numbers in some industries but think of all the new industries created as a result. On balance , it must net a net gain.

Trees are still vulnerable, we now use more paper, printing more than ever before from more locations and ink is the new ‘black gold’ in our communities.

 Can there be a change of mindset to embrace paperless options?

Like all things involving change we tend to hold on defiantly to the established habits until we are either priced out of the old way or convinced of the new method’s improved delivery.

We know paper, we understand what it feels like and what we can do with it, it is our reference point from which we relate to all other forms of presentation. Just like the silent films being overtaken by the ‘talkies’ we are on the precipice of a seismic shift in the way we accept information and ideas.

Within the next few years we will be transferring visual data at speeds and volumes the like of which we can only dream of at present. pioneering work on data transfer using light through fibre optic cables has found a way to protect the data over huge distances at far greater speeds allowing far more data being transferred. By using a mirror image light source transfer through the cable, researchers can now effectively eliminate the interference which has , up until now, prevented high speed, high volume transfer. The idea of ‘white noise’ cancelling out unwanted noise is close to the concept. Imagine the possibilities!

I think this is wonderful but there will be many who are quite affronted by the idea. I love books , the feel of a new book, the whole experience you get when reading but I understand that at some point having an actual paper book will return to being a rare thing. Hundreds of years ago , a man was considered wealthy if he owned books and so it will eventually be so again.

This all sounds great , but what type of a society do you need to have to allow this to develop? Perhaps it might be one like Estonia or E-stonia as it is called.

The march of change will not be halted, the only constant is change itself but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a giggle along the way!

 

see you on the long and winding road…..  Patrick

 

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