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The Antikythera Mechanism
#1. It’s not a “Computer.”
If you really want to stretch things here, if you want to apply the term “Computer” in the least specific, most ambiguous way possible then it still isn’t a “Computer”
Your fingers are though.
A computer accepts “Input,” and returns a result. Not a specific result. Well, the result may be specific to that input — the same input would likely have to always return the same result — but under most circumstances you don’t really know what a computer is going to… um… what it’s going to… “Compute.”
That’s why you need a computer in the first place: To find the answer for you!
Now you can call a pocket calculator a computer (and it is one), because you input numbers, tell it what operation to perform on those numbers and it outputs the answer. The makers don’t know what numbers you’re going to input. Usually, you don’t even know. Today it might be your monthly expenses, tomorrow it might be your calorie count for the day, next week it could be number crunching for a class. You don’t usually know what you’ll be “Computing” with your calculator, but you don’t need to know. You can input your data (in this case numbers), perform a function and output an answer. The Antikythera Mechanism can’t do this.
The Antikythera Mechanism can’t do this. It’s not a computer. To the best of anyone’s knowledge, there is no “Input.” There is a crank. You crank the machine and the gears move in the only way that they can move — producing the only results they can ever produce.
#2. It is nowhere near as advanced as they claim.
The Antikythera Mechanism is beneath the technology of a 14th century astronomical clock. It’s pretty impressive, yes, but it’s not quite as advanced as people like to claim. For one thing it’s not a clock. it can’t tell time. Astronomical clocks can, hence the name “Astronomical Clock.” So, it’s actually a good deal less sophisticated than it is usually described. Secondly, it doesn’t appear to have any power of it’s own, only a crank. A person had to crank it. This places the Antikythera Mechanism beneath the technological sophistication of a mechanized water clock.