Elderly woman picked up at bank struggling to complete authentication reveals dilemma of intelligent technology for special groups

By Lin Xiaoyi Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/23 21:38:26

Photo: screenshot from online video

A video of a 94-year-old woman being held in front of a bank Virtual Teller Machine to activate her social security card has recently provoked outcry among netizens.

The elderly woman was picked up by her family to hold the machine on her hands with her knees bent and legs off the ground. In the video, she can be seen struggling to complete the video authentication process at the branch of the Agricultural Bank of China in Guangshui, Central China's Hubei province.

The incident sparked heated discussion on Chinese social media Sina Weibo. Many netizens expressed sympathy for the old woman, criticizing the bank's service as inhuman and questioning whether the bank has a special plan to provide more convenient access for the elderly, sick or disabled. Some lamented that although scientific and technological development has made most people's lives more convenient, many elderly people struggle using technology for intelligent car-hailing, ordering food, reserving a doctor and scanning a health code.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics, by the end of 2019, people over the age of 60 accounted for 18.1 percent of the Chinese mainland's total population, China Youth Net reported.

Last month, China's Ministry of Civil Affairs announced it would pay more attention to the elderly and solve problems of intelligent technology encountered by the elderly in civil affairs services.

Chinese banks offering door-to-door services for special groups unable to come in person is not new.

"There is no charge for on-site service but advance booking is required. Generally, we will send two employees to help clients complete the signing procedures of the relevant documents. Those who are unable to sign can also be replaced by fingermarks, and our staff will record during operation," a lobby manager of the Bank of China surname Li told the Global Times.

Li noted that in 2009, the China Banking Association issued the notice over providing equitable service for special customers such as the elderly,sick and disabled.

"However, the notice is not well implemented. Many banks are not willing to take on more responsibility to provide on-site service for some of the riskier businesses, such as loss reporting and password changing. Eventually these people still have to struggle to get to the bank," Li said. 

At present, the involved bank has publicly apologized, saying the incident had exposed the bank's lack of service awareness,for which they would carry out special rectification to improve the quality of services.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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