What I like about the ATM inside of the pathetic wooden box on a street near my house is that it showcases the absurdity of the cash system and infrastructure we are so accustomed to that most of us don't bother thinking critically about it. Cash is like manhole covers or toenail clippers: tools that don't inspire much re-imagining because they pretty much are what they are.

But money is a technology that has undergone upgrades before, and the people I've been talking to for this book say that it's overdue for another one. Just look at this machine and picture the backend logistics required to stock, secure and maintain it. Does that inspire much confidence in the neighborhood, let alone the country, currency and economy? True, it's not Somaliland Shillings we're talking about, but surely this can't be the pinnacle of efficiency.

AuthorDavid Wolman