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"[Science fiction] is the only kind of writing that allows you to look at the world we live in and change one piece at a time."
- Frederik Pohl

Living Machines  
  Robots that are able to learn.  

An interesting early treatment of the distinction between automated machinery and mechanisms that are capable of learning.

"Man is not a machine in the purely mechanical sense, though many of his functions are demonstrably mechanical. The ability to reason, however it has evolved, whatever it may be at bottom, whether a bewildering complexity of reflex actions or not, lifts man above the dignity of a machine. Does this imply the impossibility of creating machines (mechanical brains) that can profit by experience, go through the processes which we call thought? No; but it does imply that such machines (however created) are no longer mere mechanisms. There is here a dialectical process to be reckoned with. Machines that 'learn' are living machines."

Living machines ! I mouthed that phrase over and over to myself and mouthing it I looked at the cylinders with increasing dread. They were machines.

From The Mentanicals, by Francis Flagg.
Published by Amazing Stories in 1934
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Robot Imagines Itself (Not The First Time This Has Happened)

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Science Fiction in the News

Robot Gas Station Attendant Fills Tank - Which I Saw In 1962
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'... Wendis stared thoughtfully at the brilliant lines on the spectroscope screen.'

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