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The Paperwork Explosion (1967)

Mankind has devoted too much time, too much money and plenty of space on paperwork and more paperwork. In the 1960's, to remove all those obstacles and all that paper, and in order to make ... See full summary »

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Mankind has devoted too much time, too much money and plenty of space on paperwork and more paperwork. In the 1960's, to remove all those obstacles and all that paper, and in order to make life easier, IBM has created a groundbreaking device - a machine that could improve office relations and operations. IBM, through Jim Henson's picture, presents the 'Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter', a machine that does the work while we do the thinking. Written by Rodrigo Amaro

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1967 (USA)  »

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"Machines should do the work and people should think"
19 April 2015 | by (São Paulo, Brazil) – See all my reviews

IBM hired Jim Henson to develop a film on their latest development: Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter (aka IBM MT/ST), a revolutionary word processor destined to extinguish the high amount of paperwork used in offices out there, hence "The Paperwork Explosion" given as title for this promo material.

Bottom of line: practicality is always what matters in terms of technology, less time spent doing a function and the more function it does, the better. MT/ST lasted very briefly - starting in 1964, becoming obsolete in the following decade and discontinued in 1983 - and despite all the remarks provided by their executives in this film (Frank Oz is hidden among them), the product doesn't seem to diminish the paperwork, it's all put into tapes, it wasn't an electronic device and it was quite complicated to use it (Google about it). We won't get to the topic on the environmental problems those machines caused...and we know they all did.

Meanwhile, Henson's film is quite interesting but considering that this is a promo for a company it goes for too long. The scenes, the music, the curiosity built on what could possibly be so fascinating and so incredible to the point of causing a revolution in everyone's lives...that's what matters, and that's where Henson gets it right. He sold the product with perfection.

The business executives say at the end: "Machines should do the work and people should think". Such innocent times. Barely they knew that in the 21st Century it would be all about machines doing the work and the thinking, so that we poor humans could do nothing and neglect our own existence. 8/10


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