This paper uncovers the relationship between texts and machines, two major human inventions seemingly situated at polarities. In the Western tradition, the former originates from Aristotelian poetics and rhetoric, while the latter is associated with science and technology. The two have started to overlap in the 20th century, especially with the advent of the computer—a machine simulating human mental activities. This article begins by revisiting a few cardinal ideas from various scholars. Then, having outlined a corpus of texts in different manifestations related to the essence of machines, the author attempts to devise a preliminary framework for an inventive taxonomy of media artifacts in the post-digital age.
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© 2008 Massachusetts Institute of Technology