The future is here

The future is here….but will start tomorrow….maybe.

We are going digital !

Online reading, online, search, online purchases, online banking, online….Woah ! wait, wait !

Online banking ?

Sure !

If you believe what the banks Websites are advertising, you can do almost anything online these days. Great ! No more checks, no more waiting in line, less brainless jobs, less jobs ? Less banking costs ?

Hmmm…

I remember (yes, I know, this comes from getting old…when you remember… TV that actually had you get up and walk to switch channel, or cable remote…with a cable attached to it…) when the first automatic telling machines, now ATM, were installed in my hometown. We had to remember a …a what ? A Personal Identification number ? What the ….

Obviously, we all wrote down that number behind the ATM card….

Well, these were great inventions !

No more waiting in line ! My mother who was 27 years older than me at the time (rest assured..she is still 27 years older than me today) was perceived by the then younger me as “old”. She did not like this technology at all. She never learned to program the VCR (old days DVD using a magnetic tape). She did however use the microwave like crazy ! THIS was the “digital” she enjoyed !

My mother still does not surf the Web (although the iPad is slowly changing this).

My mother is mostly analog.

No online banking for her.

But I have to admit that our lives are in a way much simpler than these days. Much faster too! Surfing the Web is now becoming a continuous live shopping experience. You like this ? Click. Whoop, you got it ! “Ting!” Email confirmation. “Ting” Shipping confirmation and guess what …these guys are almost never late !

But then when I had to add a new supplier in my online banking account in order to pay her easily and rapidly (lucky girl ! She recently moved out and now lives in a town far from civilization, with satellite Internet but with no bank within a 100 miles radius..at least not her usual bank). So here I go, opening a new “supplier” account. Account number, branch number,  etc., etc. all goes well and “click”….

Ooops !

Red flag.

The amount allowed for such a transaction is ….”0”.

Hey ?

The only way to get this situation resolved is to ….call my bank.

Well…so much for online banking and automatic verification. My credit card company (well, not MY credit card COMPANY…) automatically block my card anytime a weird purchase or a purchase from a weird location is recorded. They do not call me. It’s automatic ! To protect me.

Ok, I dig this.

So I call the bank. They ask the regular question to verify my identity : name, address, postal code, mother maiden name… very, very tough questions for a professional hacker from North Korea. And I passed the security test !

“So mister Lavallée, you want to add a new supplier ? “

“Good,good…let me do a few verifications…”

“How much will you want to be allowed to transfer ?”

Is that a trick question ? How can I know how much I will need to transfer in the future ? I know what I need to pay now…not tomorrow…and I …DO…NOT…Want to be limited.

Ok,ok, go for a couple of K for now.

“It is done sir…”

Let’s get done to business..

“…but you need the safety grid first.”

The what ?

“You need the safety grid. This is secret number you need to enter.”

Give it to me. Give it to me !!

And then the shock.

“We will send it to you and you should receive it in 10 days.”

Whaaaaaaaat ?

Just give to me now?

“We need to mail it to you”

You mean snail mail it ?

“Yes”

Can I physically walk to the nearest bank and get it there ? (it just so happens to be right on the other side of the street from my office !)

“No.”

I suddenly had a strong impulse to turn digital. Not to punch in some data. Simply to punch in….

Online banking.

Speed

Efficiency.

And technocracy.

The human mind is the main barrier to technology.  The same mind that created technology will also resist it.

Like this new gadget presented at a recent technology show : a digital presence. For telecommuting workers. It goes like this: video conferencing is great but what if you were to transport your video presence from room to room in your physical office ? It is not enough to project your face from a webcam to your colleagues ’s monitor, you can now send it to a moving robot mounted with a monitor and actually send the robot IN your colleague office, chat with your other colleagues around the coffee machine, take a break at the cafeteria… imagine that, isn’t great ? You stay at home but control you robot-monitor-screen so you can waste time and your colleague’s around the coffee machine…virtually with a robot wearing your face. Fans of Big Bang Theory will reminisce…..Sheldon would have enjoyed this one.

Two quotes jumped in my mind :

The future is already here. It is simple not distributed evenly” William Gibson, Neuromancer 1984.

This bank of mine was the first to introduce ATM in Canada in the 80’s. More and more, it seems the future stopped for them a few decades ago. It looks as tough there was no real progress since then…apart from the rocketing banking costs…

But the quote that pops up most frequently is one of Albert Einstein. Not only was he a brilliant physicist, he was first and foremost a brilliant mind.

My latest and most impertinent blog post will therefore end with a figment from Einstein’s mind.

Two things are infinite. The universe and human stupidity. But I am less and less sure about the former.”

So am I.

So am I.

 

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