NEW YORK (
) -- Back in the early days of computer research, it was a widely held belief of those pioneers at Bell Laboratories that it wouldn't be long before a computer was able to match (specifically resemble) the human brain.
All these decades later, that's not quite the direction in which computer science (and brute computer memory power) has gone. In fact, the more technology progresses, the more it exhibits fits and starts in trying to match that je ne sais quoi of human sensibility -- just ask the iPhone's Siri to understand what you are saying while walking down a crowded Manhattan sidewalk, compared with the hearing and comprehension of the person standing next to you.)
Now it's the automatic teller machine that wants to prove how human it really is, beginning with a few chatty ATMs in Pittsburgh.
Customers at two
locations in North Hills and Virginia Manor near Pittsburgh will now find a personal teller machine (PTM)
(NCR - Get Report)
. The key difference between PTMs and ATMs is the addition of a live remote teller available through a video connection.
On the NCR web site, the company describes PTMs as follows:
"A Personal Teller Machine looks like an ATM, the difference is that you can interact real-time with a bank teller who can remotely control the machine and guide you through most branch transactions. Using video cameras, a customer's image is transmitted to the Personal Teller located at the Customer Service Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Cameras at the Customer Service Center transmit the Personal Teller's image back to the customer. Sound is carried through built in speakers and a handset is available when using the machine in the bank lobby."
For customers, there is a built-in benefit to PTMs: Banks can stay open longer, and financial consumers can get real-time help via PTMs before and after bank hours. Dollar Bank says its PTMs will be available from 8 AM to 10 PM, Monday through Saturday. Customers can still use the machine to deposit and withdraw funds on a 24/7 basis.