FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, July 23, 2004

How ATMs Changed Our Lives

FORTUNE magazine has an interesting article in its most recent issue on the history of the automated teller machine (ATM). In addition to being historically valuable, it says a lot about how technology is adopted, and how the rate of technological change has accelerated. For instance, ATMs were first developed in the early 1960s, but were largely rejected by bank customers, and didn't become commonplace for 20 years after. In New York City, it took an emergency (the blizzard of 1977) to make customers realize the unique advantages of ATMs.

Contrast the 20-year adoption process for ATMs versus the adoption rates for today's technologies... which can often be measured in months or even weeks!