The Extinction Of Printers, The End Of Paper


Later this week, I’m going to a sporting event. The tickets were bought online. But they’re asking that I print out the ticket in order to get into the arena. I just checked my calendar. It’s 2014. When will this madness end?

If I had to guess, I’d say that 75% of the things I printed last year were tickets to sporting events and/or shows where a physical copy of the ticket was required. Why were they required? Who knows. We all carry these small devices perfectly capable of displaying an electronic ticket. 1 But some venues are seemingly nostalgic and reluctant to change.

But they’ll have to, of course. And so I wonder: how long until there is no more paper in this world?

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This really bugged after returning from Studying Abroad, because South Korea has embraced technology to the max, to the point where everyone was using their phones for coupons and rewards points (yes, every now and then someone held up the line while they looked up their id on their phone, but since SK actually has a working data network it didn’t take longer than it does for me to whip out my jets and find the specific card to scan). That was in 2011. When I came back to Ohio I was disappointed to learn that not only is the printed coupon/ ticket/ reward zone thing expected, it’s almost entirely required. I live on technology. There’s no reason for me to print anything. (I yearn for the day when my professors stop requiring us to print out our twenty page papers and just make notes on a digital copy). If I can access a coupon online, from an email your company specifically sent me, then why the devil won’t you accept it unless it’s printed??

America’s reticence to accept new technology isn’t just bizarre, it’s going to be harmful in the long run.