Tech­nol­ogy changes, bu­reau­cracy re­mains

The National - News - The Review - - Time Frame -

For the ben­e­fit of puz­zled younger read­ers, those strange me­chan­i­cal de­vices seen in this 1971 pho­to­graph are called type­writ­ers.

In a city like Abu Dhabi, fill­ing with ex­pa­tri­ate work­ers from across the globe, the de­mand for typed doc­u­ments to sat­isfy le­gal and bu­reau­cratic obli­ga­tions was enor­mous.

It pre­sented a great op­por­tu­nity for any bud­ding en­tre­pre­neur with enough dirhams to af­ford a type­writer and a few square feet for a chair and a desk, as shown here in the Abu Dhabi souq.

The type­writer was in­vented in the 1860s and ruled, un­chal­lenged, un­til the 1980s.

A few type­writer man­u­fac­tur­ers con­tinue in busi­ness, de­mand fu­elled by coun­tries like In­dia, and, iron­i­cally, be­cause typed doc­u­ments are im­mune to hack­ers and in­ter­net snoops. The UAE still has nu­mer­ous “typ­ing cen­tres” al­though these days the doc­u­ments are usu­ally cre­ated on com­put­ers and, most likely, are filed elec­tron­i­cally. Time Frame is a se­ries that opens a win­dow into the na­tion’s past. Read­ers are in­vited to make con­tri­bu­tions to yourpics@ then­ational.ae

Courtesy Alain Saint Hi­laire

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