The internet, a paperless society, and possible extinct companies?

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    Nov 20, 2008 3:27 PM GMT
    The internet with every passing year is becoming more convenient, cost efficient and available to more and more people.

    There are many companies that are taking efforts go paperless and use the internet/intranet for their correspondence.

    I just saw on the news where another magazine (PC mag i think) was going strictly online, I have heard of numerous catalogs/magazines doing this now. Depending on their soul source of marketing and etc on the internet. This saves them obviously in paper and ink costs as well as postage.

    More people are trusting online bill paying now also. I never thought I would do it but as of 2 years ago I pay everything online now and what I dont pay comes directly out of my checking out.

    It seems our society is becoming more and more dependant on the internet...as we trust it more I think eventually one day we will be almost a paperless society.

    Because of this so many things have changed. Because of itunes I cant tell you the last time I actually bought a real cd. I have heard the advancement of cameras on cell phones are hurting digital camera sales. As more and more companies become paperless and more consumers do all their business online this will affect many companies for ex: USPS.

    USPS has been a staple in many forms of our paper society...magazines, letters, catalogs, registered mail, express mail, and etc...could the internet eventually cause companies such as this to become extinct?

    I think as fast as technology has changed in the last couple years and our trust and dependability grows on this technolog we will see our way of life changing even more and businesses that once were will only be remembered in history books...


    I
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:13 PM GMT
    The lousy thing about this shift is that our landscape will be littered with abandoned big box stores and strip malls as well as their parking lots.

    We're rapidly moving away from our industrial past. Big changes ahead.
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:20 PM GMT
    When computers arrived on the scene people were talking about a paperless society. Yeah right, if anything paper increased. But in this century there has finally been a shift. Partially that is due to the arrival in the workplace of people who grew up with computers and therefore are comfortable not having to have a hard copy. It is also due to the increase in hi-speed internet service (dial up was too slow).

    To be honest, I have reduced my print jobs by at least 75%. For one thing I am environmentally conscious, secondly I am thrifty. If I do print something it is double-sided.

    I can now approve financial documents online and send them via e-mail without printing them. As long as the document comes from my e-mail address it is considered approved.

    Also companies such as legal firms are now sending documents via e-mails using PDF. Thus, the demand for bike couriers has dropped off (much to the relief of city drivers, those guys are nuts).

    The result is the demand for paper is starting to be felt by the pulp and paper companies.

    The industries that have really been impacted by the internet are the music and travel industries. The sale of CDs is off over 18% in the US 2008 vs. 2007. People now book trips via the internet thus reducing the need for travel agents, and forcing the airlines to be more transparent about pricing.

    I feel we are just at the beginning of a very large change in our society that will rival that of the industrial revolution of the late 18th and 19th century.

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    Nov 20, 2008 4:24 PM GMT
    Shipping companies like USPS are going to be fine.
    Sure, people don't mail letters anymore, but they're buying a lot more stuff online. Guess who's going to ship it to your house icon_razz.gif
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:26 PM GMT
    Ikaros saidShipping companies like USPS are going to be fine.
    Sure, people don't mail letters anymore, but they're buying a lot more stuff online. Guess who's going to ship it to your house icon_razz.gif


    And charging you an arm and a leg for it. I just got some underwear yesterday from the US. $19 for shipping.
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:31 PM GMT
    Going "All electronic" scares me a bit. When the power goes off, everything stops. Also, as technology changes, things get lost. I can open and read the oldest book I own ( 1858 ), but lots of electonic stuff are gone. But, as I have said, if I still have electronic stuff and the power goes off, I'm screwed.
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:33 PM GMT


    Ditto to Caslon's post!
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:38 PM GMT
    Caslon7000 saidGoing "All electronic" scares me a bit. When the power goes off, everything stops. Also, as technology changes, things get lost. I can open and read the oldest book I own (185icon_cool.gif, but lots of electonic stuff are gone. But, as I have said, if I still have electronic stuff and the power goes off, I'm screwed.


    I know exactily what you mean!! No matter if my favorite muscle mags go online, I still want a paper one to carry with me or read in bed if I want, I dont want to always look at a computer screen.
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:42 PM GMT
    SurrealLife said
    Ikaros saidShipping companies like USPS are going to be fine.
    Sure, people don't mail letters anymore, but they're buying a lot more stuff online. Guess who's going to ship it to your house icon_razz.gif


    And charging you an arm and a leg for it. I just got some underwear yesterday from the US. $19 for shipping.


    Alot of these companies double and triple the shipping charges from the shippers to customers...I work for one of the major mailers and companies get discounts on their bulk mailing but the company charges outrageously for shipping to make more profit...

    an example is I used to work for one of the big catalog clothing companies taking orders...they told us that they could give free shipping to every customer and still make a profit...its just another way to make a profit.
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:56 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX saidThe lousy thing about this shift is that our landscape will be littered with abandoned big box stores and strip malls as well as their parking lots.

    We're rapidly moving away from our industrial past. Big changes ahead.


    I don't necessarily agree with this. Sure it is convenient to shop online but shopping is also a social experience, you share it with your family, friends, it is a form of entertainment. Also most people still like to try things on, or check out the new product in person, test it, try it. The only things I get online are things that are not readily available in my area or that are cheaper even with s&h charges.

    As for paperless..we are becoming more environmentally conscious though I am not sure that we will see an extremely dramatic change, say going 90% paperless, in this generation.
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    Nov 20, 2008 4:58 PM GMT
    DigitalGhost_ said
    XRuggerATX saidThe lousy thing about this shift is that our landscape will be littered with abandoned big box stores and strip malls as well as their parking lots.

    We're rapidly moving away from our industrial past. Big changes ahead.


    I don't necessarily agree with this. Sure it is convenient to shop online but shopping is also a social experience, you share it with your family, friends, it is a form of entertainment. Also most people still like to try things on, or check out the new product in person, test it, try it. The only things I get online are things that are not readily available in my area or that are cheaper even with s&h charges.

    As for paperless..we are becoming more environmentally conscious though I am not sure that we will see an extremely dramatic change, say going 90% paperless, in this generation.


    I never said physical shopping would go away. It's just declining.
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    Nov 20, 2008 5:08 PM GMT
    I resisted eBooks for years, but I've recently read a few on the iPhone and been pleasantly surprised. However, if I start putting significant money into them, I sure want some sort of backup copy that isn't going to become unreadable in a few years.

    Pretty much everyone I know has a box full of obsolete tapes and discs that represent years of labor but can't be read any more.

    BTW: Not sure what's going to happen with DHL shutting down - they're the last carrier that will deliver "chemicals." Apparently, the rest only deliver materials made from moonbeams and wishful thinking.
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    Nov 20, 2008 5:11 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX said
    DigitalGhost_ said
    XRuggerATX saidThe lousy thing about this shift is that our landscape will be littered with abandoned big box stores and strip malls as well as their parking lots.


    I never said physical shopping would go away. It's just declining.


    The way I read it was that strip malls and big box stores would become ghost towns, at least in the way you worded it. It just came across that way...

    Right now it is on the decline because of the economy. Live shopping will not go away or decline significantly any time soon.
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    Nov 20, 2008 5:18 PM GMT
    XRuggerATX saidThe lousy thing about this shift is that our landscape will be littered with abandoned big box stores and strip malls as well as their parking lots.

    We're rapidly moving away from our industrial past. Big changes ahead.


    According to this story from last week, abandoned strip malls are the new promised land:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/tired_strip_malls_present_oppo.html

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    Nov 20, 2008 5:32 PM GMT
    The potential future victims of the internet:

    - record stores;
    - magazines;
    - newspapers;
    - bike couriers (yeah!);
    - bank branches (just ATMs, even they may disappear);
    - porn shops;
    - book stores;
    - movie houses.

    The record clubs have already basically gone out of business.

    I personally never buy a CD anymore, and was shocked when a friend gave me one on pride weekend (the latest Cyndi Lauper).

    My brother and his wife now listen to books on their IPod. I have not gone there yet, because one of the joys of reading for me is creating the character's voices in my head. It is like my own play or movie that I create. Having someone do that for you spoils half the fun.
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    Nov 20, 2008 6:10 PM GMT
    I've worked in the printing industry for the past 20 years and have seen some dramatic changes. Interestingly, one market segment that still seems strong is telephone directories. My job was dependent on those damn things for years, but I never actually use them. They show up on my doorstep one after another -- and they all go straight to the recycling cart.
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    Nov 20, 2008 7:20 PM GMT
    This last year I have used a high-speed scanner to digitize most of my documents and archives. The space requirements for that material now are zero. Effectively, that was the last bit of creating a mostly paperless office.

    At the same time that I champion this technology, and delight in what I can do, I have reservations about what has been given up in the transaction. Mostly my concerns are about privacy. I simply assume that all communications of any kind are a part of the public record (because they are).

    Ironically, the most secure form of communication left on the face fo the planet is a handwritten letter sent via snail mail.

    Finally, I don't see this digital utopia - dystopia where shopping and whatever else is replaced by flickering screens. That seems only about 50% correct in my view as it doesn't account for half the reasons that people like to be out and about.

    Terry
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    Nov 20, 2008 7:25 PM GMT
    ursamajor saidThis last year I have used a high-speed scanner to digitize most of my documents and archives. The space requirements for that material now are zero. Effectively, that was the last bit of creating a mostly paperless office.

    At the same time that I champion this technology, and delight in what I can do, I have reservations about what has been given up in the transaction. Mostly my concerns are about privacy. I simply assume that all communications of any kind are a part of the public record (because they are).

    Ironically, the most secure form of communication left on the face fo the planet is a handwritten letter sent via snail mail.

    Finally, I don't see this digital utopia - dystopia where shopping and whatever else is replaced by flickering screens. That seems only about 50% correct in my view as it doesn't account for half the reasons that people like to be out and about.

    Terry


    50% sounds about right (and all I was basically trying to assert).
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    Nov 20, 2008 7:45 PM GMT
    I teach a tutorial at uni about storage media. We talk about all the data that we lost on broken floppy disks, that modern computers don`t even have floppy disk drives and that most burnt CDs have a lifespan of up to 5 years- not the 100 we were led to believe.

    On the other hand, paper has proven to last thousands of years, like the Dead Sea Scrolls. What looks like it will last from nowadays are things called paperdisks. They`re printouts of dots and dashes representing binary on high quality paper! The more things change, the more they stay the same.
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    Nov 20, 2008 7:59 PM GMT
    books are going to be around for a LONG time yet, I have a few ereaders and they aren't that good and personally, I'm not taking the iphone to the bath heh.

    Change lik this is good, we are in transition so some people are gonna get hurt, but damn it, why wont DVD's die already, I can download my damned movies now, I've ripped them all the hard drive, gotten them all off any physical dying media... eh..

    Tapes, cd's, dvd, flash drives, its all gotta go.

    And for future proofing, that is why open source formats should be used so that in a thousand years it can be accessed, even when no programs are left to access it, reason being, as long as the information to access it is there and free, you'll get into the file.
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    Nov 20, 2008 8:04 PM GMT
    Even paper checks mailed in to make payments are being electronically converted to an image and sent to the federal reserves for processing. The paper checks are held for 30 days and then destroyed. Where I work at, we just finished the final conversion of all paper checks to be converted to an electronic image. This mainly evolved from 9/11 when the airlines where grounded for days and checks were not getting to the Federal Reserves to be processed. Billions dollars of funds where stalled at the airports.

    Basically the float has been taken away from us the consumers and given to the corporations so they can have better earnings on over-night fed funds.
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    Nov 20, 2008 9:04 PM GMT
    Considering the scandalous amount of trees cut down each year to make paper for products people will throw away (receipts, mailers, magazines), transported in such a way that it increases global warming via burning fossil fuels, I say "yay" if we are becoming a paperless society...to a point...

    With doing everything online, there is a huge impact on human socialization, civics, and the contextual prowness of people in society. While technically, everything can be availible online, what it lacks is a context, the necessary evils of verifiable sources, the result is abundance of information which engenders mass banality.

    I'm old enough to remember the grand old days when you could go into a record store/video store with staff who actually knew about their products and could turn you on to other music/movies you may or may not like; iTunes attempts to replicate this but lacking the human perception of nuance, figures that because you like Madonna you'll also like Mariah (I could take or leave Mrs. "Histrionics in place of real Feeling" Mariah, fyi). Likewise, shopping online is convinient without being in the least bit personal, an automated system for automatons...

    As others have said, there's no guarentee electronic info will be availible w/o electricity...for all our advancements, we still as a society are easily thrown when the basics don't work (as anyone living through a blackout can tell you). 2 cents (okay, 4 cents)