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Automation, refers to the idea that computers automate or mimic human thought. The term originates from Lev Manovich's 2001 book The Language of New Media. Automation is a consequence of Numerical representation and Modularity which render media able to be "programmed" and thus able to manipulated mathematically.


Early examples

Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine

Alan Turing's Universal Turing Machine

Turing claimed "...the machine could perform any calculation which can be done by a human."

Vanner Bush's Memex Machine

Low vs High level automation

Manovich highlights two types of automation, low-level and high-level. Where low-level automation results in automated shortcuts to repetivie computer behavior, high-level automation results in "...meaning embedded in the objects being generated."


Examples of low-level automation

auto-complete typing features
batch edits in photoshop
automatic browser updates
Google alerts


Examples of high-level automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) engines and neural networks that simulate human intelligence and adaptive behavior in games
The idea of a Semantic Web, defined by the development of an Internet network of machine readable communication structures enabling computers to find, locate and process information without the user's direct involvement


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