What does Automaton Mean?

The first meaning mentioned in the dictionary of the term automaton refers to the device that has an internal mechanism that allows it to perform certain movements or perform certain tasks.

For example: “The brand new vehicle presented by the German company offers the possibility of automated driving”, “Yesterday I bought an automatic coffee machine that turns on at the scheduled time and prepares the coffee on its own”, “The government acquired three automated drilling machines from advanced technology to explore the subsoil in search of hydrocarbons ”.

The concept is also used to name the robot with a humanoid or animal appearance that imitates the body movements of the living being. “A Japanese firm designed an automaton capable of cleaning the house”, “Entrepreneurs dream of automatons that replace human workers to reduce costs”, “They open a restaurant where food is prepared by automatons.


The first automata emerged thousands of years ago, with very limited functionality. The complexity of these machines advanced in the Middle Ages until, in the 18th century, there was a boom. Nowadays there are automata that can successfully perform different tasks typical of the human being, and even replace it in some contexts.

Automaton, on the other hand, is the adjective given to individuals who act thoughtlessly: “Thousands of people walk around looking at their phones, like automatons”, “Can you stop answering like an automaton and pay attention to what I am saying? ” , “I don’t want an automaton president who limits himself to obeying the orders of the powerful.

In the book entitled ” The White University “, published in 2015 by the Valencian writer Ismael Belda, one of the stories is about the adventures of a human- looking automaton that walks through California and, among the most interesting events that they happen to him, he has the opportunity to converse with the ghosts of Vlad Tepes and the Marquis de Sade. It is a novel written in verse that, together with a kind of songbook, complements the extensive poem that is the centerpiece.

Within the world of literature, it is not possible to ignore the immense work of Isaac Asimov, the celebrated writer of Russian origin who has bequeathed a series of works of great importance to science. Thanks to the cinema, some of his stories have reached more people, and the subject of automata was undoubtedly one of the ones that fascinated him the most.

In addition to the movie ” Yo, robot “, starring the American actor Will Smith, in 2014 ” Automata ” was released, with the Spanish Antonio Banderas leading the cast. It is a science fiction story that, like the first, reflects on the laws of robotics defined by Asimov and what could happen if a robot stopped obeying any of them.

The plot takes us to the year 2044 and shows us the life of VAUCAN Jacq, an insurance agent who is in the midst of an investigation about the bad operation having certain robots in a multimillion dollar company called ROC.

As time passes, Vaucan begins to discover a facet of the automatons that he did not expect to see: just as in the movie ” I, robot “, they believe they are alive, to be more than mere artificial intelligence devices. Both stories share certain elements, although ” Automata ” poses a reality more typical of the end of the world.

Although in reality scientists have not managed to create automatons as complex as the characters in these films, the contradiction between the search for a high level of intelligence and the fear that they will use it to turn against human beings is a concern they share with fiction.