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How much longer will Paper be in use for?

View Poll Results: How much longer will Paper be in use for?
10-15 Years 2 4.88%
16-25 Years 3 7.32%
26-50 Years 3 7.32%
51 + years 33 80.49%
Voters: 41. You may not vote on this poll

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Old
11-19-2012, 09:34 AM
  #1
xX Hot Fuss
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How much longer will Paper be in use for?

In the school library now, half doing homework, half HF Boarding (new verb?), and the kid next to me is using a Thesaurus. My first thought was "Why is he carrying around that book when he can just use the interent/Microsoft Word and get everything he needs electronically within seconds?"

It got me thinking about how much longer paper will have a practical use in our world. Technology seems to be slowly, but surely, replacing it.

-Most, if not all, of my classes offer E-Books instead of/in addition to the regular textbook
-Lots of people have online Newspaper subscriptions
-Dictionaries, Thesauruses, Encyclopedias, and most of our older mediums for research have all of their information online
-Tablets allow us to have libraries of books on a 10x8 screen

Are there any other long lasting venues for constant and necessary paper use? I'm sure Legal Firms and Hospitals are going to need them for a while but i know an Uncle of mine is working on an $80 million dollar reformation project to transfer Hospital records to a 100% electronic format.

How much longer will paper continue to play a major role in our life?

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Old
11-19-2012, 12:46 PM
  #2
kingsholygrail
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There will always be a need for a hard copy. I wouldn't trust everything to be stuck on an electronic device that requires power to reach.

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11-19-2012, 03:56 PM
  #3
vBurmi
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This was covered quite heavily in a recent thread.

I believe the use of paper will diminish considerably in our lifetimes. I worked in an office that printed off everything multiple times and stored documents on paper in a vault. DVD or Bluray (which will soon be a very cheap permanent storage option) would be just as suitable for permanent storage considering a huge room of paper is a fire hazard and paper ages terribly. I'd like to believe that 20 years from now use of paper in a commercial/industrial setting will be almost non-existent. There will always be uses for it though, such as art, education (you're not going to give a child a tablet to learn to write on any time soon), and basic things like signs where paper will almost always be more cost effective at least in the short term (for small businesses, etc).

So there's no real answer to your question. I believe offices are already reducing paper usage per capita from 10 years ago and I'm sure anyone who looks hard enough would find evidence of this. This trend will likely speed up. As for paper becoming a rare sighting, I'd go with 50+ years if ever.

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11-19-2012, 04:00 PM
  #4
LadyStanley
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Paper is a renewable resource. There will always be a need for it. (Sorry, but I cannot think that learning institutions will start handing out electronic display pieces for matriculation milestones. Much less in the bathroom with toilet paper and kleenex.)

There is a lot of stuff that is transient that might be best (cost, functionality) done "in the ether" on computer, tablet.

But there are times that you want/need a "human readable" permanent version. Unless you want to go back to slates, chalk boards, ceramic, carved rock storage mediums?

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11-19-2012, 04:05 PM
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Frankie Spankie
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I think by anybody who has or will read this thread will still have paper in their lives in some capacity by the time they die.

There's cash and I don't ever see it going away to be honest. Post it notes (not necessarily the brand but small scraps of paper for notes) will be around forever. Receipts will likely be printed on paper for the rest of our life times.

I did do a big thesis in one of my classes in college though about the book becoming extinct as we know it because of ebooks. After surveying A LOT of people, there's just so many people that want the feel of a real book in their hands. I do agree that in a lot of ways, paper won't be in use. I wouldn't be surprised that if in our lifetime, nobody is really printing books on paper anymore. However, paper in general will surely be around for at least the next 50 years in some capacity.

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Old
11-19-2012, 05:41 PM
  #6
zytz
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xX Hot Fuss View Post
In the school library now, half doing homework, half HF Boarding (new verb?), and the kid next to me is using a Thesaurus. My first thought was "Why is he carrying around that book when he can just use the interent/Microsoft Word and get everything he needs electronically within seconds?"

It got me thinking about how much longer paper will have a practical use in our world. Technology seems to be slowly, but surely, replacing it.

-Most, if not all, of my classes offer E-Books instead of/in addition to the regular textbook
-Lots of people have online Newspaper subscriptions
-Dictionaries, Thesauruses, Encyclopedias, and most of our older mediums for research have all of their information online
-Tablets allow us to have libraries of books on a 10x8 screen

Are there any other long lasting venues for constant and necessary paper use? I'm sure Legal Firms and Hospitals are going to need them for a while but i know an Uncle of mine is working on an $80 million dollar reformation project to transfer Hospital records to a 100% electronic format.

How much longer will paper continue to play a major role in our life?
As someone who does onboarding of paper hospitals onto a 'paperless' EMR, there's no such thing as a truly paperless hospital. Things like consents and legal releases, even prescriptions are sometimes just better than the current state digital solution. Not to mention that paper is always going to have to around for system down times.

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11-19-2012, 06:05 PM
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IMO, paper will meet the same "fate" as live theatre.

It won't disappear entirely by any means, but it will be partially overtaken.

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11-23-2012, 12:48 AM
  #8
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You're always going to need paper for some things. Pay stubs, official documents, posters, advertisements, business cards, they're not going anywhere. First, there's always going to be a need for records that don't vanish if someone trips over a power cord or doesn't back something up. Electronic records all suffer from that weakness and paper doesn't. Second, electronic devices don't work everywhere. Wifi gaps, wrong power leads, and just general "wtf does this button do?" human frailty will always haunt e-stuff; a physical record doesn't have that weakness. Third, paper is still more convenient for some things. Coupons, for example.

Where the print industry is going right now is customization. That's really, really big. Lots of the mass printing is dying, though. The e-tide has killed a lot of what commercial printers used to do. All of the big printing companies here have had massive downsizing. Quebecor died here entirely. Everyone had layoffs. Trade press is way, way down.

So I moved to short-run press stuff in a small shop.

Which I hate.

I'm looking at retraining.

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11-23-2012, 07:09 AM
  #9
Krishna
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unaffiliated View Post
IMO, paper will meet the same "fate" as live theatre.

It won't disappear entirely by any means, but it will be partially overtaken.
It's already been overtaken in a lot of places. I think it will stay around for awhile until people figure out a way to keep digital backups with no chance of it being lost or corrupted one way or another. When that is? No idea personally but technology is advancing so quickly you will never know

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11-23-2012, 08:50 AM
  #10
BenchBrawl
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There's also something to be said about drawing or writing on a paper sheet being funnier and ''purer'' than on a computer.

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11-23-2012, 08:55 AM
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankie Spankie View Post
I think by anybody who has or will read this thread will still have paper in their lives in some capacity by the time they die.

There's cash and I don't ever see it going away to be honest. Post it notes (not necessarily the brand but small scraps of paper for notes) will be around forever. Receipts will likely be printed on paper for the rest of our life times.

I did do a big thesis in one of my classes in college though about the book becoming extinct as we know it because of ebooks. After surveying A LOT of people, there's just so many people that want the feel of a real book in their hands. I do agree that in a lot of ways, paper won't be in use. I wouldn't be surprised that if in our lifetime, nobody is really printing books on paper anymore. However, paper in general will surely be around for at least the next 50 years in some capacity.
I would bet a huge amount that you are wrong in your prediction with books.

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Old
11-24-2012, 07:25 AM
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xX Hot Fuss View Post
In the school library now, half doing homework, half HF Boarding (new verb?), and the kid next to me is using a Thesaurus. My first thought was "Why is he carrying around that book when he can just use the interent/Microsoft Word and get everything he needs electronically within seconds?"

It got me thinking about how much longer paper will have a practical use in our world. Technology seems to be slowly, but surely, replacing it.

-Most, if not all, of my classes offer E-Books instead of/in addition to the regular textbook
-Lots of people have online Newspaper subscriptions
-Dictionaries, Thesauruses, Encyclopedias, and most of our older mediums for research have all of their information online
-Tablets allow us to have libraries of books on a 10x8 screen

Are there any other long lasting venues for constant and necessary paper use? I'm sure Legal Firms and Hospitals are going to need them for a while but i know an Uncle of mine is working on an $80 million dollar reformation project to transfer Hospital records to a 100% electronic format.

How much longer will paper continue to play a major role in our life?
I think its painfully obvious that paper will be around for much longer. First off where do you find all of these people with e-books or guaranteed internet access, let alone a computer or electricity? Honestly if you know how to use a thesaurus it is probably quicker to look up a word in there than open your internet browser, go to the site and search the word. Paper will always have a place, most important documents need a hard-copy. Things like contracts I would never want just an electronic version. The hard copy is your hard evidence. Think about like someone else said, advertisements, letters, bills, mail in general. You're always going to need something to jot down on real quick too. Paper isn't ever leaving. Some parts of the world don't even have electricity and we are already looking to give up paper?

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11-24-2012, 12:54 PM
  #13
No Fun Shogun
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For the foreseeable future. We'll probably still be using paper for hard copies and significant amounts of general work in 2100 and beyond.

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11-24-2012, 01:28 PM
  #14
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Fun fact: If you burn all the paper that was used during design process of a space mission, the energy produced would be more than required to lift off a space shuttle.

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11-24-2012, 03:27 PM
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At least 100 more years. Doubt paper will ever truly disappear though. Even if/when the vast majority of the population is using non-paper, there will still be a very small percentage (which is still a TON of people) who use paper.

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11-25-2012, 08:23 AM
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Peter Zezel
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I don't understand how anyone using a book for learning/research could do so on an ereader. It's so cumbersome to go back and forward on digital books.

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11-25-2012, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Zezel View Post
I don't understand how anyone using a book for learning/research could do so on an ereader. It's so cumbersome to go back and forward on digital books.
So we're only one small technological refinement away!?

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11-25-2012, 09:07 AM
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We're really all just shooting from the hip, my guess, within the next fifty years we'll see paper removed from schools, hospitals, and most workplaces.

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11-25-2012, 09:10 AM
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Tree leaves. Our ancestors did it. We can bring it back again. They may also find something better as well.



And cash. I think cash will diminish very much so and they will be sort of novelty or crazy/older people stash away. I don't think you'll see much cash being printed and everything going toward a digital transfer.
I hope it doesn't go toward a digital transfer. All stores would have to update their digital purchases system. I believe they currently run off of Dial up or DSL. They are down entirely too much to depend on that.

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11-25-2012, 09:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pittsburgh Proud View Post
I think its painfully obvious that paper will be around for much longer. First off where do you find all of these people with e-books or guaranteed internet access, let alone a computer or electricity? Honestly if you know how to use a thesaurus it is probably quicker to look up a word in there than open your internet browser, go to the site and search the word. Paper will always have a place, most important documents need a hard-copy. Things like contracts I would never want just an electronic version. The hard copy is your hard evidence. Think about like someone else said, advertisements, letters, bills, mail in general. You're always going to need something to jot down on real quick too. Paper isn't ever leaving. Some parts of the world don't even have electricity and we are already looking to give up paper?
But you have to admit that most visions of the future would be paperless, no? When do you think we'll turn the corner?

Your examples aren't great either, there are already companies with digital contracts, advertisement budgets are more and more digital, bills are done entirely online for me, and I haven't received a piece of mail that wasn't from my mother in years.

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