ATM是如何改变世界的?听ATM机发明者讲故事 | 双语阅读

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楼主 2018-05-19 23:34:13
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从来不会想起,却永远不会忘记:ATM机。


50年前,自动提款机在英国悄然问世。这项发明不仅开创了“全天候在线”文化,还重塑了我们与现金、信用和风险的关系、你一定使用过ATM机(可能有读者现在正在ATM机前);在你阅读这篇文章的同时,世界上也一定有成千上万人正在享受ATM带来的便利。


但是,我们太习惯了ATM机,以至于熟视无睹,竟然忘记它是人类史上如此重要的一项发明。




Innovation is all the rage right now — especially in finance, where disrupters range from blockchain to crowdfunding. But the most groundbreaking innovation in the sector may actually lie behind us.

如今,创新可谓风头正劲,特别是在金融业——从区块链到众筹,破坏性创新比比皆是。但该行业最具突破性的创新可能还要算早先的一项发明。


Photo Credit: Getty Images


50年前的本周,当代最伟大的金融发明(financial invention)之一问世,此后一直默默地改变着我们与金钱的关系。这一发明正是,在街边、超市旁都随处可见的、毫不起眼的(humble)自动提款机(automated teller machine)


In 2009 Paul Volcker, berating a banking industry that had taken finance to the brink of disaster, quipped that “the ATM has been the only useful innovation in banking for the past 20 years”.

2009年,批评银行业把金融带到灾难边缘的保罗?沃尔克(Paul Volcker)曾讽刺说:“ATM是过去20年银行业唯一有用的创新”。


抛开(aside from)这位美联储(Fed)前主席的表扬(praise)不谈,ATM确实无处不在(omnipresent),但它的价值被低估(under-appreciated)了。


?Like a late-developing child, it sits mute and misunderstood in our high streets, appearing to do little more than dispense banknotes. Yet the ATM is far from dumb; with more than 11,000 working parts and linked to “intelligent” software systems, it is one of the most sophisticated inventions to come out of the UK.

与发育迟缓的孩子一样,它静静地伫立在我们的商业街上,受尽误解,似乎除了吐钞票之外毫无用处。然而,ATM绝非蠢笨:它有逾1.1万个工作部件,与“智能”软件系统相连,堪称来自英国的最复杂发明之一。


Photo Credit: Getty Images


ATM机问世于1967年。


Consumers experienced not just an encounter with a new technology, but an entirely new way of relating to machines. Initially sceptical of having to push buttons and remember personal identification numbers, the machine’s no-nonsense exterior and intuitive user interface eventually won people over. The ATM blazed a trail towards today’s 24/7 “always-on” culture.

当时,消费者感受到的不只是接触到了一种新技术,还有一种全新的与机器联系在一起的方式。最初,人们对于不得不按键并记住个人认证号码感到疑虑,但ATM简洁的外观和直观的用户界面最终赢得了人心。ATM为当前这种“全天候在线”的文化开辟了道路。


它还预示(herald)着一个新世界的到来:现金(cash)和技术(technology)可以结合在一起。它改变了我们支付几乎所有商品的方式,甚至改变了我们的思维方式,重塑(recalibrate)了我们与现金、信用和风险的关系。


It banished the age of deference by allowing us to get hold of our money whenever we wanted, not when some faceless bank manager found it convenient. These were no small achievements in the postwar world.?

它终结了顺从时代,让我们随时能拿到自己的钱,而无须等一些面无表情的银行经理认为方便的时候。在战后世界,这一成就不容小觑。


Photo Credit: Getty Images


但ATM还有其他哪些贡献值得我们更深层次的赞赏(warrant our deeper appreciation)呢?


First, we should give some thought to its ubiquity. We take them for granted precisely because they work more or less the same way everywhere, even in some of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet. ATMs can be found high up in the mountains of the Himalayas, below decks in naval warships, and embedded in church organs. There is one in the back of Alice Cooper’s car, and another in Buckingham Palace. The Pope uses one in the Vatican, with instructions in Latin. More than 3m have been installed around the world.

首先,我们应考虑一下它无处不在的身影。我们不把ATM当回事,正是因为它们在任何地方的运转方式都几乎是一样的,即便是在这个星球上最偏远、最不宜居的地方。喜马拉雅山上,战舰的甲板下,甚至教堂风琴里,我们都可以找到ATM机。重金属乐队艾利斯?库柏(Alice Cooper)的汽车后座上有一台ATM,白金汉宫(Buckingham Palace)也有一台。教皇在梵蒂冈有一台,说明文字是拉丁语。全球安装的ATM机总数已超过300万台。


Photo Credit: Getty Images


不过自动贩卖机也到处都是,ATM机和自动贩卖机的区别,难道只是一个装钞票,一个装零食吗?——当然不是,其实ATM是一款高科技产品。


More impressive is the pioneering technology lurking behind a rather clunky and utilitarian fa?ade. The micro-cameras, accelerometers and biometric scanners in our laptops and smartphones were tested in ATMs years earlier. These gadgets, along with a multitude of other scanning and security devices, are what keep our money safe. Trying to physically steal cash from a modern ATM is a waste of time: before a thief can strike, banknotes are fused together with glue or acid in the plastic cassette in which they are stacked.

更令人印象深刻的是,在其相当笨拙和实用的外观之下隐藏着一项开拓性技术。几年前,我们笔记本和智能手机中的微型摄像机、加速器和生物识别扫描器就曾在ATM机上测试过。这些设备,连同很多其他扫描和安全装置,保证了我们资金的安全。试图通过破坏机器从现代ATM机中盗取现金简直就是浪费时间:在窃贼得手前,钞票就已在存放的塑料箱中与胶水或酸融为一体。


此外,ATM还发挥了一些意外又令人惊喜的作用。


The ATM has begun to play a key role in disaster response and humanitarian operations, too. During flood relief efforts in Pakistan recently, ATMs were flown in underslung from helicopters to help distribute much-needed cash to survivors. Mobile, solar-powered, satellite-linked, iris-recognition ATMs are also deployed in the refugee camps of Kenya, Lebanon, Jordan, and Somalia. In Turkey, pre-paid debit cards are used at ATMs to pay stipends to exiled Syrian teachers. Having started the cash revolution 50 years ago, ATMs are still in the thick of the action.

此外,ATM已开始在救灾和人道主义行动中发挥重要作用。在最近的巴基斯坦抗洪救灾行动中,直升机把ATM放在吊挂中,帮助将亟需的现金分配给幸存者。在肯尼亚、黎巴嫩、约旦和索马里的难民营里,也配置了可移动、以太阳能为动力、与卫星相连的具备虹膜识别功能的ATM。在土耳其,可以通过ATM用预付借记卡向流亡在外的叙利亚教师支付薪资。50年前开启了现金革命的ATM仍活跃在各处。


Photo Credit: Getty Images


随着银行网点(bank branches)不断关闭,而全球一些地区每3分钟就会新安装(install)一台ATM,下一代ATM与我们生活的联系可能较以往的版本更加紧密,使用人群也更加普遍。







?记不记得ATM机的英文大名?


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