University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Computer Laboratory Security Seminar > Building Bankomat: Cash dispensers and the development of on-line, real-time networks in Britain and Sweden, c.1965-1985

Building Bankomat: Cash dispensers and the development of on-line, real-time networks in Britain and Sweden, c.1965-1985

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This talk explores the technological choices made at the dawn of the massification of retail finance and specifically how ideas that computers could enable a cash-free society appeared concurrently to cash dispenser technology. To describe and analyse the development of electronic banking and its entanglement with wider historical processes, we document how the deployment of cash dispenser networks and later on a fleet of automated teller machines (ATM), interweaved with the adoption of on-line real-time (OLRT) computing in Sweden and the UK. British savings banks started their computerisation rather ‘late’ and benefited from adopting ‘tried and tested’ technology. Meanwhile, Swedish savings banks spearheaded technological change in Europe. In documenting the sequence of events in the networking of Swedish and British banking, we depart from the predominant view that holds the development of OLRT in a single move. Instead we propose there are specific conditions inside banking organisations requiring to consider on-line (OL) or asynchronous and on-line real-time (OLRT) or synchronous communication as two distinct stages of development in the adoption of computer technology. As a result, we show how delivering on a cashless society proved more difficult than anticipated.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Security Seminar series.

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