5
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I keep the world running, without me there is chaos.

I am by design a broken soul, letting anyone pick me up.

People have tried to fix me, many times over the years. But I reached my prime in the 80s, and most stopped caring then. Some were more hopeful, trying desperately to make me smarter. They kept teaching this old dog new tricks, even past the age of 50.

I have many admirers, but most are old like me. I've been Banking on them, as they have on me.

Government work just isn't my style, but I've played the political game for a long while.

Recently I've had issues (after all I haven't aged well). This has led to new admirers, much to everyone's dismay.

I started in the paper industry, so that annoys some. After all, I haven't changed the one aspect that I should... Unfortunately, people tend to complain about it. Sometimes I just need some air behind me is all...

I'm an ancient beast that should probably die, but here I am to stay. You'll never be able to forget me, because without me the world decays.

Who or What am I?

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Nearly sure this is wrong, but

COBOL

I keep the world running, without me there is chaos.
and
I have many admirers, but most are old like me. I've been Banking on them, as they have on me.

Loads of banking and financial systems run on COBOL code. COBOL developer tend to skew towards the older end of the industry

I am by design a broken soul, letting anyone pick me up.

Originally designed to be business focused, probably the most natural language syntax of any language

I started in the paper industry, so that annoys some. After all, I haven't changed the one aspect that I should...

COBOL was originally developed on punch cards, and still retains and 80-column format with specific meanings for some columns.

Recently I've had issues (after all I haven't aged well). This has led to new admirers, much to everyone's dismay.

There have been a number of high-profile banking system failures (though not sure they can be blamed on Cobol). ALso older legacy systems still require maintenance. There's probably been a slight increase in the number of younger people learning COBOL in some countries

I'm an ancient beast that should probably die, but here I am to stay. You'll never be able to forget me, because without me the world decays.

Despite predictions for decades that the language should be dead and buried, the cost of successfully migrating off legacy systems still often ends up outweighing the costs of maintaining them. IF all those systems shut down overnight the financial industry would be in meltdown.

Some were more hopeful, trying desperately to make me smarter.

There's even a Visual Cobol these days

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  • $\begingroup$ Correct! Great job! The "broken soul" part also refers to that people just made their own functions because the built-in ones were so useless. Congrats! :) $\endgroup$
    – Qiangong2
    Aug 7 '20 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ That was my first guess but I couldn't figure out how to tie it to the paper industry...good job! $\endgroup$
    – Amoz
    Aug 7 '20 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ Ah no way! Great, I nearly didn't post it! $\endgroup$
    – Mohirl
    Aug 7 '20 at 16:53
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This is probably not the answer, but are you:

a typewriter?

I keep the world running, without me there is chaos.

Typewriters were incredibly important for communication. This could also be a reference to the typewriter ribbons, where the typewriter cannot function without them present.

I am by design a broken soul, letting anyone pick me up.

You need a person to type words on the typewriter, hence the "broken soul". Anyone can learn how to type.

People have tried to fix me, many times over the years.

There were many attempts to replace the QWERTY keyboard layout, including versions such as AZERTY and Dvorak.

But I reached my prime in the 80s, and most stopped caring then.

Typewriters became common in offices after the mid-1880s. The double meaning of '80s' is exploited here, as they were a standard fixture in most offices up to the 1980s (but fell out of popularity then). (Wikipedia)

Some were more hopeful, trying desperately to make me smarter.

People wanted to find a way to correct errors made on a typewriter without having to cross them out.

Recently I've had issues (after all I haven't aged well). This has led to new admirers, much to everyone's dismay.

Once you type a letter, there is no way of erasing it without making a mess. Typewriters have nowadays been replaced by word processors (Word, Google Docs).

I have many admirers, but most are old like me.

Other technologies used for communication, such as the telegraph and rotary phone, are now considered old.

Government work just isn't my style, but I've played the political game for a long while.

Nations have used typewriters to write secret documents (such as during World War 2).

I started in the paper industry, so that annoys some.

Typewriters originated from moveable type and the printing press, which are related to the paper industry.

I'm an ancient beast that should probably die, but here I am to stay.

Even though typewriters are now antiquated, the QWERTY layout still remains the standard keyboard layout.

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  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Wow! This is a great answer! If it were the QWERTY layout AND Typewriters, it would be nearly perfect. Unfortunately, it's only one item. Also, the old admirers part doesn't really fit as you're referring to items around a typewriter, not what works with it. You're free to try again though! $\endgroup$
    – Qiangong2
    Aug 6 '20 at 15:55
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Are you

TCP/IP (or just TCP)

I keep the world running, without me there is chaos.

If TCP/IP was suddenly uninvented, there would indeed be chaos in the modern world.

I am by design a broken soul, letting anyone pick me up.

Information is broken into packets and anyone connected to the internet can pick these up and reassemble them.

People have tried to fix me, many times over the years. But I reached my prime in the 80s, and most stopped caring then. Some were more hopeful, trying desperately to make me smarter.

There are problems with TCP/IP.
https://www.usenix.org/legacy/publications/library/proceedings/ana97/full_papers/rodrigues/rodrigues_html/node2.html

They kept teaching this old dog new tricks, even past the age of 50.

The most popular network protocol in the world, TCP/IP protocol suite, was designed in 1970s by 2 DARPA scientists—Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn, persons most often called the fathers of the Internet. https://history-computer.com/Internet/Maturing/TCPIP.html

Still working on the following (I'll stop if this is wrong!) P.S. (I've stopped - it's wrong!)

I have many admirers, but most are old like me. I've been Banking on them, as they have on me.

Government work just isn't my style, but I've played the political game for a long while.

Recently I've had issues (after all I haven't aged well). This has led to new admirers, much to everyone's dismay.

I started in the paper industry, so that annoys some. After all, I haven't changed the one aspect that I should... Unfortunately, people tend to complain about it. Sometimes I just need some air behind me is all...

I'm an ancient beast that should probably die, but here I am to stay. You'll never be able to forget me, because without me the world decays.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ It's a good answer so far, but unfortunately incorrect. One thing, TCP/IP really didn't reach its prime until the early 2000s, when the internet really became widespread. Feel free to try again though! $\endgroup$
    – Qiangong2
    Aug 6 '20 at 15:59

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