Time Essay: What Hath XEROX Wrought?

Imagine for a moment that some inventive and omnipotent god offered the nation a device that would greatly advance the spread of information. In return, the deity required that the President resign, that stacks of sensitive Government and corporate secrets be made public, and that the country be buried in a sea of paper. There would probably be few takers.

Yet that bargain is in effect the unintended heritage of the Xerox machine. Since its perfection less than two decades ago, the green-eyed deus ex machina has helped alter the course of history and...

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