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Wrong Question: Does Programming a Computer Make A New Machine? Right Question: Is a computer... | 756 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Wrong Question: Does Programming a Computer Make A New Machine? Right Question: Is a computer...
Authored by: PolR on Wednesday, July 25 2012 @ 08:31 PM EDT
Is a computer not a machine designed for the express purpose of making new machines?
Obviously not. Computers are machines designed for the express purpose of not having to make new machines. Any kid using his computer will see this.
That is, sure, this or that program makes my computer a new machine, it does something different when it runs!
This proves nothing. You can have a new use for a machine without making a new machine. Of course when you have a new use the machine does something different. But a new use is not a new machine.

Here is another thought. The relationship between bits and their meanings is not an operations of electronics and it has no tangible/physical presence in the computer. Therefore the combination of computer and software is not a machine. An element necessary to its function (semantics) is not a component which could be part of a machine because it is an abstraction. This is why wondering whether the particular machine is new is a moot point. No machine is being made in the first place.

Calling a programmed computer a particular machine is an error similar to saying a novel is an arrangement of ink on paper.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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