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We all know from elementary school that when Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876, the first words over that revolutionary gadget were to his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was working out of earshot in the next room. “Mr. Watson,” said Bell, “come here … I want to see you.” Miraculously, Watson heard the request clearly, and though his exact words to his boss remain lost to history, they may very well have been: “Hey, Al, does this thing mean I can work at home?”

That’s exactly what it meant, though it’s taken well over a century to get there.

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