Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

Latest By
Category:


Armor
Artificial Intelligence
Biology
Clothing
Communication
Computers
Culture
Data Storage
Displays
Engineering
Entertainment
Food
Input Devices
Lifestyle
Living Space
Manufacturing
Material
Media
Medical
Miscellaneous
Robotics
Security
Space Tech
Spacecraft
Surveillance
Transportation
Travel
Vehicle
Virtual Person
Warfare
Weapon
Work

"At its best, SF is the medium in which our miserable certainty that tomorrow will be different from today in ways we can't predict, can be transmuted to a sense of excitement and anticipation, occasionally evolving into awe."
- John Brunner

Universal Checkbook  
  Fully electronic banking system, which allows easy withdrawal of funds from any bank.  

Heinlein wasn't the first person to think of applying computers to banking. In fact, researchers at the Stanford Research Institute invented "ERMA", the Electronic Recording Method of Accounting computer processing system in the mid-1950's. ERMA computerized the manual processing of checks and account management and automatically updated and posted checking accounts. Stanford Research Institute also invented magnetic ink character recognition as part of ERMA.

ERMA was first demonstrated to the public in September of 1955, and was first used on real customer accounts in the fall of 1956. General Electric delivered thirty-two units to the Bank of America in 1959 for full-time use as the bank's accounting computer and check handling system. ERMA computers were used well into the 1970s.

Even so, getting money from a bank not your own was still a problem, since you had to wait for the check to clear (you still do!). Heinlein's system has the advantage that all of the banks are connected by the same network, allowing any bank to hand out your money. And that didn't happen until the mid-1980's.

I could have saved time by hiring a cab to jump me to Riverside, but I was handicapped by lack of cash. I was living in West Hollywood; the nearest twenty-four-hour bank was downtown at the Grand Circle of the Ways. So first I rode the Ways downtown and went to the bank for cash. One real improvement I had not appreciated up to then was the universal checkbook system; with a single cybernet as clearinghouse for the whole city and radioactive coding on my checkbook, I got cash laid in my palm as quickly there as I could have gotten it at my home bank across from Hired Girl, Inc.
From The Door Into Summer, by Robert Heinlein.
Published by Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1956
Additional resources -

By the way, the next step in the banking chain, the Automatic Teller Machine, was introduced to customers in 1969. Don Wetzel holds the patent with two other men; appropriately, he thought of the ATM while waiting in line at a Dallas bank. At the time (1968) he was the Vice President of Product Planning at Docutel, a company that developed automated baggage-handling equipment.

(Thanks to Joel Terrill for suggesting this one.)

Comment/Join this discussion ( 0 ) | RSS/XML | Blog This |

Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Door Into Summer
  More Ideas and Technology by Robert Heinlein
  Tech news articles related to The Door Into Summer
  Tech news articles related to works by Robert Heinlein

Articles related to Computer
Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
Interpol Launches Metaverse For Law Enforcement
AVATECT Prevents Spoofing Of Avatars
I Really Want A Folding Computer

Want to Contribute an Item? It's easy:
Get the name of the item, a quote, the book's name and the author's name, and Add it here.

<Previous
Next>

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

 

 

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Science Fiction Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Science Fiction in the News

'Courier Commons' By Tomorrow Lab, From Karl Schroeder (and Bruce Sterling?)
'The pokkecon rang again. *The coffee’s for him?* Tsuyoshi said.'

Terrifying Robotic Apple Harvester
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant.'

Mechanical Horse Sculpture Gallops In Place
'Rod placed the brain inside the panel... the horse raised its head, wiggled its ears, blinked twice, gave a tentative whinny.'

'Make Sunsets' Tweaks Climate By Atmospheric Alteration
'Pina2bo would have to operate full blast for many years to put as much SO2 into the stratosphere as its namesake had done in a few minutes.'

Eviation Alice Electric Plane First Flight
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Hotels Turn To Robots As Human Workers Regroup
'Chain of hotels that specialized in non-human service.'

Changesite Mineral To Be Mined On Moon By China
'But then... not every bulldozer operator works on the Moon.'

Tongue-Controlled Tong Wearable Mouth Computer
'Griff found the white and pink map distracting and switched it off using his tongue mouse.'

Is It Better To Be Short?
'He was one of the smaller, energy-saving new breed...'

More SF in the News

More Beyond Technovelgy

Home | Glossary | Science Fiction Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.