Think about it: US Postal Service employees actually opening and scanning all your letters, and then sending you emails with their content with the option to receive the physical letter if you choose to. Scarily unreal? Not if you're Finnish.
If you live in Finland, that's exactly what the government wants to do to "reduce carbon emissions" produced by delivering letters. So far, they're running a nationwide pilot program. Here's how it works:
• The person signs up for the service.
• From that moment, every letter for that person will be opened by employees - since apparently there is no way to fully automate this process.
• The employees will scan the letters, and a computer system will send the results to the person's email account.
• Then, the person can choose what letters should be physically delivered, twice a week.
The proponents of this system say that it will be better for the environment - even while letters are actually decreasing, not increasing. They also said that the employees would never read the mail - sure - and they would automatically filter out junk mail, which sounds great on paper until you realise that the best way to filter junk mail is actually prohibiting junk mail by law..
Apparently, there's a company in the US - Earth Class Mail - that already does this privately. Why would anyone would like to do this is beyond me. Perhaps a better way to cut on carbon emissions is to prohibit the fax worldwide. [Samaa via PopSci]