Form follows function. This is true in evolution of biological life, and it is obviously also true in the planned evolution of technology. Machines that have poor ergonomics, or are inefficient in their design are not replicated in the market. Ineffective designs remain on the shelf and are subsequently removed from the manufacturers’ lists.
The key to understanding why a machine has a given form is to understand what the machine was designed to do and how it was supposed to achieve it. For example, a bulldozer is heavy to avoid being displaced by the material it is designed to move. It has tracks rather than wheels because this disperses the weight more evenly, gives a more stable footprint and allows movement over a greater range of terrains. It is not any number of other things that may be cool but do not fulfill its function.
In a more complicated example, one might say that many of today’s machines are ineffective because they break so easily after their first use. But a closer look at the design principles behind them may reveal that they are perfect for what was intended – if indeed it was intentional that they break (in order to make the consumer purchase more).
So there are more than just the obvious criteria upon which one might judge function.
Beguilons are diminuitive bad tempered robots hell-bent on ‘improving’ the processes and functions of other machines and organisations. They communicate through poorly amplified volalisers and hard to self-access ticker-tape readouts. They are armed with low-powered discombobulators which they discharge without much provocation.