Monday , April 6 2020
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New world. The use of “good” and “bad” copy and paste

“Ctrl + C” then “Ctrl + V” written on a screen. (JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOURDILLAT / RADIO FRANCE)

His name was Lawrence (alias Larry) Tesler, he comes to die in the United States at the age of 74. It is to him that we attribute the invention, in the 70s, of copy / paste, this computer function which allows taking a portion of text or an image to move it elsewhere in a digital document (Ctrl C / Ctrl V on PC, Cmd C / Cmd V on Mac).

Larry Tesler was a computer fanatic. A graduate of Stanford University in California, a specialist in human-computer interactions, he had worked at the Xerox Parc research center in California, the birthplace of many inventions, such as the mouse and the graphical interface.

Except that in reality, Larry Tesler was not quite the inventor of copy and paste. As he specifies himself on his CV, he is the one who allowed it to work in graphical interfaces with a mouse. We are then at the beginning of the 70s and the principle has been known in computer science since the 50s and 60s.

Thanks to Tesler's work, Apple was able to implement this function in 1983 on the Lisa computer, then on the Macintosh in 1984, which helped democratize it. Larry Tesler has worked at Apple as well as Yahoo and Amazon. He has also worked on the find and replace function and many other things.

What would our life be like today without this famous copy and paste? High school students, students and even journalists can say thank you to Larry Tesler. Remember that, according to a 2017 study, 64% of the content published online would be copy and paste.

But, it should also be pointed out that, much like cholesterol, there is the “good” and the “bad” copy and paste. The “good” is copying information to go faster, for example, from another application or from documentation to save time and avoid errors. The “bad” is plagiarism or unverified copying that can lead to the spread of false information.

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