The Meaning Of Rube Goldberg Machines

Stefany Anne Golberg considers it:

Rube Goldbergs were mechanical slapstick. They satirized the promise of technology, and the (American) idea that technology is progress. The causes and effects in a Rube Goldberg are literally progressive, one thing happening upon another thing and another, like collapsing dominoes. At the same time, the contraptions expose human folly, the ways in which we’re persistently falling over ourselves in a forward motion toward a predictably absurd finish. We act and act, and to what end? Let’s remember, Goldberg was saying, there are more effective ways to clean one’s chin and turn off the lights. Rube Goldberg surely would have found much comedy in today's home computers, these highly sophisticated machines that are mostly used to say "Hi."