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Where’s our paperless society? February 11, 2012

Posted by Tom Wells in Introductions.

It was promised a long time ago along with flying cars and food lockers that could present an entire fresh cooked meal with the push of a button.  I’m talking about the paperless society.  To be fair, we have accomplished some baby steps to this end. E-readers are at the leading edge to this finish line.  But they bring us about as close to a paperless society as $20 remote control toy helicopters are to being that flying car we all want. They’re cool and fun, but they don’t solve real world paper making things. They only make the fun stuff paperless.

I have a structural engineering consultant working with me on my project and we need one more piece of paper from them to finish our project.  They sent me two pieces of paper to tell me what they will do and for how much. I in turn had to produce ten more pieces of paper to get approval to sign the two pieces of paper I was given so the consultant could then add one piece of paper to my project.  E-readers are nowhere near solving that problem.

Computers were supposed to take us a step closer, but they seem to compound the problem by making it easier to make more paper forms for people to sign. And then there’s my example above.  One of the ten pieces of paper I had to generate for the approval to pay the consultant for one piece of paper was a form that certifies that my consultant will not be providing computer equipment or software with his paper. God only knows how many pieces of paper I would have to produce if I did want a computer or some software.

If publishing houses are afraid that E-readers will be putting them out of business, they need get themselves a government gig.  There are reams of paper to be produced for them.

Now if I could just get this darn project done so I can go back to my hobby of creating stories to be printed on, well, you get the point.


1. B.J. Baye - February 16, 2012

I believe paperless society (except for books, there’s still a lot of people who like paper books out there) would be here by now except for one thing: Data loss.

It’s seen as too risky to leave important documents and records in a format that could be lost to a technical glitch or a virus or user ineptitude.

Sure, there’s other issues, but I think they’d have been worked through by now if it wasn’t for the one big excuse.

Tom Wells - February 16, 2012

I agree that all of us who have grown up with paper copies that have saved us from data loss won’t trust paperless thinking. But the next generation who will grow up with cloud storage may be more ready.

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