Have you had a good conversation with a machine lately?
You can be talked to by clothes dryers that tell you when the cycle is over; soda machines that tell you to "Have a nice day!"; automobiles that tell you when you've left the door open or your gas tank is low; microwaves that tell you when your meal is done; tram cars and elevators that tell us where to go; and answering machines that we all hate! What next? ATMs that talk-in different languages!
An ATM recently installed at the Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle gives vocal instructions to users in Chinese, German, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. Security Pacific installed the ATM in time for the Goodwill games in Seattle.
ATMs are already in use that have the capability of different language screen instructions, but this is the first of the teller machines with the ability to "speak".
How do you say, "This machine is temporarily out of service." in Chinese?
Copyright © 1990 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 1, No. 8, 8/90
First published on 08/01/1990