I’m afraid to cut and paste. Just this morning I needed to move a file. I copied instead of cutting. “What if something goes wrong,” my mind said. “You need to be able to get back to the original.” What if something doesn’t go wrong? What if everything works out fine and I get done exactly what I need to do? Will I go back and delete one of the redundant files? Probably not.

Digital makes us copiers. Digital makes us duplicators. We copy because we can. We copy because there is no obvious cost and we are risk averse. We don’t want to lose something. We know that digital is inherently unstable and transient, that in the blink of an eye, months of work can disappear. So, we take out insurance by making copies.

What’s the cost of copies? Very little it seems. Except that we created more data in the last two years than in all of previous history.

Gerry McGovern on duplicates.