For my third blog post, I decided to make use of the resource I supplied last week, Wired Magazine, while doing my research for a good example of convergence. Unsurprisingly, I quickly made a find: we’ve all heard of Apple Pay (though most people aren’t quite convinced yet), and now ATMs are allowing for cardless money retrieval through scanning barcodes on one’s smartphone.
Like with many apps, it seems like a concept people need to warm up to over the years – we can agree that it took our parents awhile longer than us to get the hang of smartphones, less converting to using the gadgets for previously mundane tasks. This is rapidly becoming the norm though: our own generation has experienced the fall of VCR and MySpace, witnessed how fast older forms of media come and go, and watched new technologies become the norm in a short span of time.
Cardless ATMs, however, pose a wholly different set of implications and issues: while they can definitely facilitate operations, help us multi-task with one single device, and spare us the risk of losing our cards carrying them around, cyber hacking is inevitably going to be a big concern. The whole concept might also indefinitely reduce plastic production, if cards ever become fully extinct, but the process is not looking too smooth yet.
New steps of convergence tend to only be available being if they are sufficiently funded – cardless ATMs have existed in Spain since 2011, yet needed sponsor JP Morgan Chase to make them a reality in the UK – which geographically and socioeconomically limits billions of people in the world from participating in the phenomenon due to global power imbalances.
Socialised convergence is what makes humans dependent on media – yet can technological convergence really be described as a fundamental part of society already, if so many are excluded from experiencing it? This might just be a sign of things converging too fast for the whole of humanity to keep up.