I am an old man by yesterday’s standard. IF today’s 60 is yesterday’s 40 then I am young. But the files which I hold, by any standard, are old and older than the old. You may think that I am a records keeper of some government office. I am not a dunce to reveal my identity so soon.
I have millions of files. I am as old as the paper that was first used for the purpose of administering citizens. Yes, governments had been gigantic paper eating donkeys. Most of the papers are stored and some of it exited, if you don’t want any unparliamentary world for that.
Millions and billions of paper records held in the sanctum sanctorium of offices, from village office to the Prime Minister’s office, have been generated with billions of hours of work of millions of people , just to keep the citizens and civilizations alive. Think of it, without these records no civilizations can survive in modern world.
Now suddenly I am being told that I have become irrelevant like an animal species nearing extinction. You may say situation is not so alarming. But I can see the end of the paper. The records that have been kept in all the countries put together can be held in a single computer. Some say that Americans already have such a computer and are collecting all the information about everything on earth.
But the old papers’ decaying smell, which we had enjoyed being romantics of the past glory rather than the harbingers of future notoriety, will within next 50 years vanish from the earth. My faint hope is that only government papers will vanish. Everyone suffers becauses of their availability. They attest our very existence. No one will accept that we exist without a paper card issued by the government. If there were no records in government, everyone can live happily as they want, in the place they want, by doing what they want. there is a law or rule or precedent or procedure for anything and everything in Government. As all the citizens are shackeled by governments, they will be the first to be discarded and dumped.
But hold, there will be thousands of bureaucrats, who live for and live by the laws and procedure. They would not let any other machine to take over their preserve. Then what will happen to their power which is enshrined in these papers and exercised by their staffers. They will be last guardians of papers.
But there will also be the intellectuals, the guardians angels of free thought. They will fight to protect the books that they have printed on paper like the old clerks of revenue departments who preserved and protected the papers that attested their authority and professed that they accumulated the governments papers for the welfare of the citizens. But people would say we do not want the welfare administered by these clerks. Then books in the libraries of the world may also vanish like the palm-leaf manuscripts that have almost vanished but for the few who held them to deceive people with the art of forecasting the future.
In such a world everything will be captured in camera. If you are born, your photo will be recorded for history and stored in a computer. You will join the school on the records of computer and write your exam on computer etc etc. All information will be on computer.
Ultimately there would be a day when instead of eating papers like donkeys, we would all be eating computer and its data.