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Automatic vs. Automated: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Automatic refers to something functioning by itself with little or no human intervention, while automated specifically means equipped with machinery or systems to operate automatically.
Automatic vs. Automated

Key Differences

Automatic implies a self-operating mechanism that functions without human intervention, like an automatic door that opens when approached. Automated systems, on the other hand, have been deliberately designed or modified to operate without continuous human control, like an automated manufacturing process.
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An automatic watch winds itself as the wearer moves, functioning independently once set in motion. In contrast, an automated ticketing system at a train station involves a programmed process to dispense tickets, replacing manual transactions.
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Automatic can also describe a reflex or involuntary action in a biological context, like an automatic response to a stimulus. Automated processes, however, are exclusively mechanical or electronic, such as automated data entry systems which eliminate the need for manual input.
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In terms of machinery, an automatic transmission in a vehicle changes gears on its own based on speed, without the driver’s direct input. An automated assembly line, though, represents a fully programmed and mechanized system, executing a series of actions without human labor.
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Automatic features in consumer products, like automatic brightness adjustment in smartphones, function based on built-in sensors and software. Automated systems, such as home automation setups, involve a combination of hardware and software to manage and control various home functions remotely.
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Comparison Chart

Function

Operates independently once activated.
Designed to operate without human control.
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Usage

Common in devices with self-regulating features.
Used in systems where manual processes are replaced by machinery.
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Examples

Automatic doors, watches.
Automated ticketing systems, assembly lines.
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In Machinery

Focuses on self-operating mechanisms.
Involves programmed and mechanized operations.
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In Technology

Often involves built-in sensors and algorithms.
Entails comprehensive systems integrating hardware and software.
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Automatic and Automated Definitions

Automatic

A device or process functioning as self-acting or self-regulating.
The irrigation system is automatic, watering the garden at set intervals.
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Automated

Involving or relating to automation or automated processes.
The company is looking to invest in automated technology to reduce labor costs.
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Automatic

Operating independently without human control.
The car's headlights turn on automatic in low light conditions.
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Automated

Converted to operate automatically by machinery or electronics.
The factory recently installed an automated packaging system to improve efficiency.
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Automatic

Occurring spontaneously, without conscious thought or attention.
His apology was almost automatic, given without hesitation.
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Automated

Operated with minimal human intervention due to technology.
Their home is fully automated, controlled by smart devices.
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Automatic

Happening as a result of a fixed rule or system, without planning or deliberate choice.
Promotion in the company is not automatic; it requires hard work and dedication.
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Automated

A method of controlling or operating processes by automatic means.
The plant's safety systems are automated to respond immediately to emergencies.
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Automatic

Acting or operating in a manner essentially independent of external influence or control
An automatic light switch.
A budget deficit that triggered automatic spending cuts.
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Automated

To convert to automatic operation
Automate a factory.
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Automatic

Self-regulating
An automatic washing machine.
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Automated

To control or operate by automation.
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Automatic

Acting or done without volition or conscious control; involuntary
Automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eyes in strong light.
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Automated

To make use of or be converted to automation
A food service that decided to automate for greater efficiency.
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Automatic

Acting or done as if by machine; mechanical
An automatic reply to a familiar question.
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Automated

Made automatic.
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Automatic

Capable of firing continuously until ammunition is exhausted or the trigger is released
An automatic rifle.
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Automated

Done by machine.
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Automatic

Semiautomatic
An automatic pistol.
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Automated

Simple past tense and past participle of automate
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Automatic

An automatic machine or device.
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Automated

Accomplished by machinary without the intervention of a human operator; - of processes.
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Automatic

An automatic firearm.
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Automated

Operated by automation;
An automated stoker
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Automatic

A semiautomatic firearm.
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Automated

A system or process using automatic equipment.
Automated toll booths have made highway travel more convenient.
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Automatic

A transmission or a motor vehicle with an automatic gear-shifting mechanism.
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Automatic

(Football) See audible.
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Automatic

Capable of operating without external control or intervention.
The automatic clothes washer was a great labor-saving device.
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Automatic

Done out of habit or without conscious thought.
The reaction was automatic: flight!
Absent-minded doodling is a form of automatic art.
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Automatic

Necessary, inevitable, prescribed by logic, law, etc.
Spitting at another player means an automatic red card.
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Automatic

(of a firearm such as a machine gun) Firing continuously as long as the trigger is pressed until ammunition is exhausted.
Fully automatic weapons cannot be legally owned by private citizens in the US, except in very special circumstances, as by private security companies.
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Automatic

(of a handgun) An autoloader; a semi-automatic or self-loading pistol, as opposed to a revolver or other manually actuated handgun, which fires one shot per pull of the trigger; distinct from machine guns.
The US Army adopted John Browning's M1911 pistol as its sidearm, chambered in .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol).
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Automatic

Automatically added to and removed from the stack during the course of function calls.
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Automatic

Having one or more finite-state automata.
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Automatic

A car with automatic transmission.
I never learned to drive a stick. I can only drive an automatic.
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Automatic

A semi-automatic pistol.
The G-men raiding the speakeasy were equipped with .45 automatics, while the local policemen were carrying revolvers and shotguns.
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Automatic

Having an inherent power of action or motion.
Nothing can be said to be automatic.
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Automatic

Pertaining to, or produced by, an automaton; of the nature of an automaton; self-acting or self-regulating under fixed conditions; operating with minimal human intervention; - esp. applied to machinery or devices in which certain things formerly or usually done by hand are done by the machine or device itself; as, the automatic feed of a lathe; automatic gas lighting; an automatic engine or switch; an automatic mouse; an automatic transmission. The opposite of manual.
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Automatic

Not voluntary; not depending on the will; mechanical; controlled by the autonomic nervous system; without conscious control; as, automatic movements or functions. The opposite of voluntary.
Unconscious or automatic reasoning.
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Automatic

Like the unthinking functioning of a machine.
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Automatic

Light machine gun.
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Automatic

A pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released; as, a .45 automatic.
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Automatic

Light machine gun
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Automatic

A pistol that will keep firing until the ammunition is gone or the trigger is released
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Automatic

Operating with minimal human intervention; independent of external control;
Automatic transmission
A budget deficit that caused automatic spending cuts
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Automatic

Like the unthinking functioning of a machine;
An automatic `thank you'
Machinelike efficiency
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Automatic

Without volition or conscious control;
The automatic shrinking of the pupils of the eye in strong light
A reflex knee jerk
Sneezing is reflexive
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Automatic

A firearm that reloads itself after each shot and can fire continuously.
The security forces were equipped with automatic rifles.
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Repeatedly Asked Queries

What is an automatic system?

An automatic system functions on its own once started, often using internal controls and sensors.
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What is an automated process?

An automated process is a series of actions that are carried out by machines or technology with little to no human intervention.
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Are automatic transmissions in cars also considered automated?

Automatic transmissions are considered automatic but not necessarily automated, as they operate independently within the vehicle without external programming or control systems.
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Can a system be both automatic and automated?

Yes, a system can be both if it operates independently and is also equipped with technology for automated control.
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Can automation lead to job displacement?

While automation can lead to job displacement in certain sectors, it also creates new opportunities in technology and system management.
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What is an example of an automatic biological response?

Blinking is an example of an automatic biological response, as it occurs without conscious thought.
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How do automated factories benefit production?

Automated factories can increase production efficiency, reduce errors, and lower labor costs.
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Can automatic systems exist without digital technology?

Yes, automatic systems like mechanical watches or thermostats can function without digital technology.
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What role do sensors play in automatic devices?

Sensors in automatic devices detect changes in the environment and trigger corresponding actions without human input.
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How do automated online systems improve customer experience?

Automated online systems can provide quick responses and services, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction.
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What is the difference between automatic and manual processes?

Automatic processes function independently, while manual processes require human intervention and control.
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What industries use automated systems extensively?

Industries such as manufacturing, automotive, and technology extensively use automated systems for efficiency.
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Can automatic features be added to older systems?

Yes, automatic features can often be added to older systems through upgrades or modifications.
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Is an automatic watch considered a sophisticated device?

Yes, automatic watches are considered sophisticated due to their mechanical complexity and self-winding mechanism.
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Can automated systems be hacked or tampered with?

Like any technology, automated systems can be vulnerable to hacking or tampering if not properly secured.
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How does automation affect accuracy in tasks?

Automation can increase accuracy by reducing human error in repetitive tasks.
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Do automatic responses in humans involve conscious decision-making?

Automatic responses in humans generally occur without conscious decision-making, as reflex actions.
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Is home automation a growing trend?

Yes, home automation is a growing trend, offering convenience and energy efficiency through smart technology.
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Are automatic systems always reliable?

Automatic systems are generally reliable, but they can fail or require maintenance, just like any mechanical or electronic system.
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What is the future of automation technology?

The future of automation technology includes increased integration with AI, machine learning, and IoT, leading to more sophisticated and efficient systems.
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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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