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The Pebble and the Avalanche by Moshe Yudkowsky

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Chapter EightInterfaces and Standards: The Nuts and Bolts of Modern Civilization

81

Somewhere in my basement I have my Ph.D. thesis in electronic format on a couple of disks—eight-inch floppy disks, to be exact. Floppy disks that size haven’t been made for years, and they’re about as useful with my present computer as a pair of stone tablets. Well, actually, stone tablets would be more useful; I could read stone tablets. I’ll never be able to read those old floppy disks.

My basement is full of old computer equipment that still works but isn’t useful anymore—the equipment is just not compatible with modern computers. I’ve got both dot-matrix and daisy-wheel printers, a brand-new six-pen plotter along with dried-out pens, a stack of Apple’s old ...

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