National Geographic : 1970 Nov
be linked to telephone lines, so that computers read the meters from afar and send out the bills. They could also be connected to banks; customers would then find utility charges on their monthly bank statements. Your credit card will be truly theft-proof: it'll be your thumb. Computers will soon be pro grammed to recognize fingerprints rapidly. Eventually, when a state trooper stops a suspect, he may ask the man to put his thumb on a little screen in the patrol car-for instant scanning by the FBI computer in .S9 fWashington. Perhaps someday the desk worker fed up with traffic jams in the city will do his job at a computer input-output station at home: If he wants to see documents from company files, he punches his keyboard and they appear on his display screen. If he needs a copy, he presses a button and there it is, on paper. If he wants to confer with colleagues, he presses buttons, and they appear on the screen too. To dictate a letter, he punches up his secretary, at her office desk or at her terminal in her home. She'll type it on her keyboard and the text will emerge in the downtown office, to go into the files and into the mail. Or she'll send electronic impulses directly to the company addressed-into their computer. How soon could computer use from home be upon us? Among 85 leading technical experts asked, the majority say within Sa decade. But it's not only a question of technology. It is r CREATEDAT THE HARVARD LABORATORY FOR COMPUTERGRAPHICSAND SPATIALANALYSISFOR THE REGIONALPLANASSOCIATION,N.Y .