Only the digital dies: The newest technologies look most likely to vanish; the oldest may always be with us

The “paperless office” has earned a proud place on lists of technological promises that did not come to pass. Surely, though, the more modest goal of the carbon-paperless office is within the reach of mankind? Carbon paper allows two copies of a document to be made at once. Nowadays, a couple of keystrokes can do the same thing with a lot less fuss.Yet carbon paper persists. Forms still need to be filled out in a way that produces copies. And there are other niches: tattooists and pigeon racers, apparently, find it vital.

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