A machine whose behavior does not change in time.
H.von FOERSTER warns that: "The term "machine" in this context refers to well-defined functional properties of an abstract entity rather than to an assembly of cogwheels, buttons and levers, although such assemblies may represent embodiments of this abstract functional entity". He adds: "A trivial machine is characterized by a one-to-one relationship between its "input" (stimulus, cause) and its "output" (response, effect). This invariable relationship is "the machine". Since this relationship is determined once and for all, this is a deterministic system; and since an output once observed for a given input will be the same for the same input given later, this is also a predictable system" (1981, p.201).
The basic characteristics of a trivial machine are the following:
- it is fully deterministic or behavior programmed
- it has a limited number of possible states
- its behavior is completely predictable
- its behavior does not depend from the whole set of its past states
- it has no autonomy
- it cannot self-organize
Until now most human-constructed machines are trivial. von FOERSTER observes jokingly that, according to the famous Laplacian deterministic formulation, the world would be a trivial machine! (1992, p.62).
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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