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"[Science fiction is] nightmares and visions, always outlined by the barely possible."
- Gregory Benford

Automat  
  Unusual name for an intelligent robot; short for "automaton"?  

This is an unusual word; in the early part of the Twentieth century, the word "automat" was most commonly used for a place where what we would call automatic vending machines would provide packaged or plated food in exchange for coins.

“So be it. Scarecrow,’’ he said, holding his features impassive; for he was half afraid that the weird mechanical mind of the automat had somehow gained abnormal wisdom through its derangement, and could read his face.
Technovelgy from Mad Robot, by Raymond Z. Gallun.
Published by Astounding Science Fiction in 1936
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  More Ideas and Technology from Mad Robot
  More Ideas and Technology by Raymond Z. Gallun
  Tech news articles related to Mad Robot
  Tech news articles related to works by Raymond Z. Gallun

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