Wally’s first book, published in 1974, reviewed a future world “in the next century” in which a central computer would oversee our every financial transaction — from soda machines, grocery stores, even gas pumps. He called it “CenCom” for “central computer.”
At that time in the late 1960s through early ’70s, the talk among bankers and in the media centered on a soon-coming cashless society. Barcodes were experimental, not yet standardized. Debit cards did not exist. “Mag stripes” on credit cards were rare and still being developed.
“This Cencom Network will oversee the entire financial transaction operation: deposit of earnings, payment of bills, entry and exit to public buildings and retail centers, checkout procedures, and any other ‘minor’ purchases that might be made, such as cigarettes and soda drinks from machines, gasoline for the car, etc.” ~ Wally Wood, “Cashless Society: A World Without Money” (1974)
On January 1, 1983, CenCom went public as the “Internet.” In those early days, the media simply understood it as the “Information Superhighway.”
Today, the Internet has become everything that CenCom was predicted to be — the global overseer of every financial transaction in the world of banking.
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