Digital versus Paper: Which Will Win Out in the Long Run?

By Paige Wills in Facts About The Paper Industry, Why Choose Paper?

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the Unit...

Detail of Preamble to Constitution of the United States Polski: Fragment preambuły Konstytucji Stanów Zjednoczonych (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently had a conversation with a tech-savvy person. He asked me what I thought would win out in the long run: paper or digital technologies. A year ago, I might have said digital. However, now, I don’t think that is the case.

If you think about it, our society depends heavily on paper-based communication. Even though digital technologies are becoming more prevalent, I just don’t see them winning out in the long run. My primary reasoning is that there is an uncertainty about technology. What if the screen goes blank? What if I get a virus and lose everything? This uncertainty is what I believe will keep paper at the forefront. In addition, if you think about it, our society spends a lot of money preserving paper. For example, the Constitution of the United States, the King James Bible, and photographs just to name a few.

Technology usually becomes outdated within a couple of years or so. Then what happens? Maybe a couple of each game-changing product is preserved for museums. The rest are either recycled or sent to the less fortunate. Even though what is written on the paper may become outdated, it usually doesn’t make it irrelevant. Books have a much longer life-expectancy than most technology does.

Now I don’t think technology or paper will become obsolete in the long run. I believe both will and should complement each other.

Share your thoughts on this topic. In the long run, do you think paper or digital technologies will win out or do you think it will be a combination?

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