Where did all the paper go
Chris Jablonski: Sorry folks, mashed tree pulp is going the way of the dinosaurs in a world where digitization has a tyrannosaurus-sized appetite.
Everywhere you look, where paper once thrived it now doesn’t. Cash is increasingly a number on a screen, airlines push online check-ins, people send e-cards, and companies manage hard drives in lieu of filing cabinets.
E-readers like the Kindle, tablets like the iPad, and other devices are reshaping all corners of the publishing industry. Consumers are fueling a meteoric rise in e-books and other content accessed via digital subscriptions. Meanwhile, eHealth is pushing medical records to computers, vastly cutting out paper waste.
It won’t stop there. Everyday, we learn about new e-paper technologies that mix the qualities of paper with the interactivity and durability of touchscreens. For traditional paper, this is the final nail in the coffin.
Like a stealthy ninja, technology that displaces paper-based communications are now diffusing throughout society, largely unnoticed. One day...voila, we’ll look around and ask, “Hey, where did all the paper go?”
We're dismally far from being paperless
Chris Dawson: A paperless society? Really? Despite the ubiquity of the iPad, the evolution of the smartphone, and the emergence of a $199 tablet designed specifically around buying and consuming digital, rather than paper, content, we're dismally far from being paperless. Newspapers abound, magazines that should long ago have moved online line the shelves at bookstores, and my kids still come home with paper notices from school.
Sure, print media are struggling, but they should have been dead years ago. A local prep school came under fire on the national news for converting its unused library into a heavily used media center and the catalogs and junk mail that fill my PO Box make great firestarters on these chilly New England nights. Even ThinkGeek sends me paper catalogs.
No, we haven't gone paperless yet. And, quite frankly, on the eve of 2012, this is an utterly unacceptable state of affairs.