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THE TERN OF MACHINES

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If propagation is along a wire, then different kinds of wire are suitable for essentially primary, essentially secondary, and essentially tertiary propagation. An example would be the wires entering a TV set: a mains lead, a co-ax aerial, and a remote control cable are respectively designed to be particularly efficient with one component of propagation.

Similarly, many machines are designed to process essentially one component. Electric fires, bulldozers and bombs are primary machines because their essential function is to handle energy. Calculators, telephones, and cameras are secondary machines because they essentially handle information.

Engine-room telegraphs, mechanised vote recorders, and audience reaction meters may be the nearest approach so far to essentially tertiary machines.

Stewart, D J. A ternary domanial structure as a basis for cybernetics and its place in knowledge. Kybernetes 18, 4, 19-28, 1989.

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© Copyright D J Stewart 1989. All rights reserved.

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