Re: Why we'll never be paperless

Subject: Re: Why we'll never be paperless
From: Bill Amos <bpa1 -at- DEV1 -dot- OSI -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 09:32:42 +0800

This has been a fascinating thread. It's good to see discussions that give
us tech writers a broader perseptive of our world, both in and out of the
workplace.

I agree with the folks who say that the dominance of paper will never go
away. Here's why, IMHO:

The legal profession will always need paper for important, binding legal
documents. It's much, much easier to monkey with an electronic document
than a paper one. Electronic space, after all, consists of restless little
charged particles that only reluctantly stay put where you want them to.
Tell them to go someplace else, and they will. Yet tracing the changes in an
electronic document is nearly impossible with today's technology, since
a file's attributes can be changed fairly easily to cover up a late edit-
and-save. And don't get me talking about futzing with photographs on a
computer. Even with my lack of artistry with Photoshop, I've managed to
make myself into a pretty convincing Pope and Han Solo. Can you imagine
the mess if evidentiary photographs were stored exclusively on computer?
Paper, on the other hand, has that amusing quality of being physically
present. It normally bears marks of some sort when it's been tampered with.

Secondly, we have to remember that we are really the elite of the so-called
Information Age. The vast majority of society has nowhere near the access
to, or skill with, or interest in computers that we have. Switching to
electronic documents at the expense of paper leaves a huge number of people
out of the loop. Our society is already too stratified economically;
widening the information gap would only make matters worse. Paper is still
how most of the world carries on daily life.

Enough rambling. There's my 2 cents worth.

Bill Amos
Objective Systems Integrators
Folsom, CA

"Honey, I *did* remember to get you an anniversary card. Check your email!"


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