Write Again … He saw the future

Published 3:27 am Saturday, August 17, 2019

The “information age.” The “IT” evolution.

Friends, you and I have seen, experienced more change, more rapid change, in the advance of technology in our lifetime, than perhaps any other people have, in any other field, in any other time in history.

Now, that’s a sweeping claim, but it’s true. The time now between new and cutting edge, and obsolete, seems to shrink almost daily. Technological advancement is inexorable, and at a speed heretofore unseen, unexpected, throughout history.

A man named Charles Secrest, back in 1974, observed, predicted, some of the changes coming. Quite probably most people couldn’t really relate to what he was saying, nor did they lend much credence to his views.

I haven’t enough space allocation in this weekly journalistic exercise to cite, list, the myriad examples Secrest presented in the newspaper column he wrote way back in 1974.

He wrote, “A bank president in Florida recently made it clear that the time is upon us when we will be a cashless, checkless society.” He stated, “A card will be issued with a coded number that will be inserted into a special computer system wherever a purchase is being made which will instantly give an okay or rejection for the purchase being made. No cash required.”

Man. Is that wild or what? No way. In 1974.

Here are a few, a very few, of the steps he reported that “under the heading of personal money management that banks are taking.”

Automatic electronic crediting of earnings to an employee’s bank account, regardless of where the employee banks.

Automatic payments of bills by exchange of signals between computers debiting the payer’s bank account and crediting the account, in any other bank, of the payee.

Fully automated electronic tellers that accomplish 90% of the job of a human teller.

In-home communications centers for bill-paying, budgeting, tax data storage and inquiries about banking services.

Secrest went on to note that “Touch-tone telephones with direct computer access probably will be the next method of simplifying personal and family finances.”

He said, “The ‘In-Touch’ service will pay bills, organize financial obligations into budget categories, remind subscribers of important dates and appointments, perform calculations, do the household record keeping, and keep track of tax-deductible expenses.”

And this, friends, is but a sampling of Mr. Secrest’s forecast and predictions. In 1974. That’s 45 years ago. And guess what … he and his sources were right.

When what’s left of my generation is gone, the change we have experienced in our lifetimes will probably only seem a prelude to the continuing change those left behind will experience.

Even those kids and young adults who now live for and by their hand-held communication devices will probably be bewildered by the ever-evolving technological landscape which is still to come.

Anyway, thanks for reading today’s endeavor.

You can get back to your smart phones now.