Category Archives: Automation

IBM and The First Social Security Check

Today in 1940, Ida M. Fuller became the first person to receive an old-age monthly benefit check under the new Social Security law. Her first check, dated January 31, was for $22.54. The Social Security Act was signed into law by Franklin … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Computer history, Information Economy, This day in information | Leave a comment

“I’m the Oldest Criminal in History”: Why the Cash Register Was Invented

Today in 1883, James Ritty, a saloonkeeper in Dayton, Ohio, and John Birch received a patent (No. 271,363) for the first cash register, nicknamed the “Incorruptible Cashier.” There was a bell to ring up sales, referred to in advertising as “The Bell Heard … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Retail, This day in information | Leave a comment

Patent for Multiple Telephone Switchboards Granted

Today in 1882,  U.S. Patent No. 252, 576  for a “a new system for multiple [telephone] switchboards” was granted to Leroy B. Firman. For more on telephone switchboards, see here and here and here.

Posted in Automation, Patents, Telephone | Leave a comment

Ray Bradbury 1920-2012

In 1950, typing rapidly on a pay-by-the-hour typewriter in UCLA’s library basement, Ray Bradbury completed in just nine days the first draft of what will become Fahrenheit 451. In the book, which was published in 1953, Bradbury described a society … Continue reading

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Big Data, Books, Science | Leave a comment

The Past and Future of Moving Money

Stephanie Buck, Masahable: “…are consumers ready to wholeheartedly adopt the latest in mobile payment technology? Adults who are unbanked, for instance, may face a barrier to mobile transactions — there are currently 17 million unbanked adults in the U.S. But many … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Digitization, eCommerce, Economic Impact, Information Economy, Internet Economy, Mobile, Social Impact, The InfoStory Quant | 1 Comment

Race Against the Machine: End of Professional Musical Instrument Tuners?

Algorithm Spells the End for Professional Musical Instrument Tuners

Posted in Automation | Leave a comment

The Dirty Lives of Robots, 1794-2012

1794: “Wonderful exhibition !!! Signor Gulielmo Pittachio, the sublime wonder of the world!!! condescends to inform the public at large, and his friends in particular, that he has now opened his grand hall of exhibitions at Westminster… In the course … Continue reading

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Robots | Leave a comment

Race Against the Machine Watch

Today in 1811, the first Luddite attack in which knitting frames were actually smashed occurred in the Nottinghamshire village of Arnold. Kevin Binfield, Writings of the Luddites: “The grievances consisted, first, of the sue of wide stocking frames to produce … Continue reading

Posted in Automation, Race Against the Machine, This day in information, Transportation | Leave a comment