Where Would We Be Without the Paper Punch Card?

This Slate article has a great reading on the beginnings of digital information processing.

IBM 704 in 1957 – NASA

As indicated, it is an nice exerpt from The Ascent of Information: Books, Bits, Genes, Machines, and Life’s Unending Algorithm by Caleb Scharf published on June 15, 2021 by Riverhead,

A selection:

Punch cards helped drive human society out of the Industrial Age and into the Data Age like an unruly herd.

It’s all too easy to assume that today we’re done with such temporary and demanding phenomena as punch cards. But of course that isn’t necessarily the case.
If I was writing this from 50 years in the future I might be rolling my eyes at the craziness of cryptocurrencies of the early 21st century. Or the lunatic naïvety of smartphones and social media and how they made us behave.
There is no reason to suppose that other novel and differently burdensome experiments won’t keep emerging from the dataome—and supplanting their predecessors

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