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Anthropomorphism and mechanomorphism: Two faces of the human machine

Authors
Journal
Computers in Human Behavior
0747-5632
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
2
Issue
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/0747-5632(86)90004-x

Abstract

Abstract This paper explores the ambiguity of the “human machine”. It suggests that anthropomorphism results from a “default schema” applied to phenomena, including machines, that a perceiver finds otherwise inexplicable. Mechanomorphism, the attribution of machine characteristics to humans, is a culturally derived metaphor that presently dominates cognitive science. The relationships between anthropomorphism and mechanomorphism pose a special difficulty for the question, “Can machines think?” Does a positive response reflect a cognitive bias on the part of the perceiver or a genuine attribute of the computer? The problem is illustrated for Turing's “imitation game” for thinking machines, and a strategy for constraining anthropomorphic attributions is proposed.

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