After all… what is a machine?

Luís Moniz Pereira, António Barata Lopes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


New computer technologies, namely work facilitating software, require a reassessment of the concept of machine. If until the mid-twentieth century a machine was something which essentially served to multiply the force or speed imparted to a particular task, from then on what became meant by “machine” changed radically. In the early days of the computer revolution the machine was still the computer itself. In other words, the notion of machine, already free from the industrial image of force or speed multiplier, still remained linked to the notion of a physical mechanism. In today’s algorithmic society the machine, free from the physical world, may merely be a program on the Internet, now in the process of permanently disengaging from its routine and predictable character. The machines of the future will reinvent themselves according to their needs. In short, they have come a long way, and will carry on towards a symbiotic intertwining with humans.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMachine Ethics
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-39630-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-39629-9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameStudies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics
ISSN (Print)2192-6255
ISSN (Electronic)2192-6263


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