It's Automagical! Not | #AGContextTV Episode 2

It’s Automagical. Not

It’s Automagical. Not

Automagical! Hooray!! Yes, the term ‘automagical’, is making a comeback into the advertising and commentary about technology automation? But buyer beware!


Urban Dictionary lists the top definition  (at time of publication) of the term ‘Automagically‘ as, “Automatically, but in a way that, for some reason (typically because it is too complicated, or too ugly, or perhaps even too trivial), the speaker doesn’t feel like explaining to you.”  The term originates as far back as the 1940s for the advertising of a shirt-ironing gadget.  Yep, you can’t go past those marketers for making up new and pointless jargon.

WATCH: #AGContextTV Episode 2 – It’s Automagical!


Despite the term being over 70 years old, a search for ‘automagical’ on LinkedIn Content provides many examples of how the term is being used almost every day.

  • Post: “Automagical” ways of development in Android!” (link)
  • Blog: “Automagically Turn JSON into Pandas DataFrames” (link)
  • Post: “if you’re an existing user, you’ll get these automagically :)” (link)
  • Post: “Sometimes people ask me what thought I put into posting something at a specific time. Answer: “That was Hootsuite auto posting schedule. I literally put no thought into it. It was automagic.” (link)
  • Post: “A remote control with 30 buttons is never intuitive. We’re moving to a point where all you have to do is touch a tablet screen and the meeting automagically starts.” (link)
  • Post: “I have a question for you… What if you could automagically create an income on demand? Like literally, press send and watch the money pour in?” (link)



The can be no doubt that the word automagical is making a comeback because technology automation is becoming more powerful and pervasive.  More cloud platforms enter the market every day with increasing capability for automation.  New products for big data, process management, workflow management and robotics are all empowering the automation revolution. These technologies are for sure become more complicated. It’s easy to understand why people may find it apt to through in a little bit of magic just for fun.


When it comes to technology, everything is by design.  There is no magic. There is no unknown, or explainable. The feature, function and process automation is there, because somebody, somewhere at some time and for their own reasons put it there. If that reasons are clear and transparent, then you can be informed of how the technology is being used and how you can use it.  If however, the reasons are opaque, there there is nothing stopping you from being the product of their automation. It is only through the reasons of design that we can effectively control automation technologies for our own advantage and to prevent others using these technology to take advantage over us.

Automagical is a word that is meant to be playful and light.  No doubt that’s what’s going on.  It’s just a bit of magic – a clever trick – and hence nothing about. Nothing, in the same way that the magic of Penn & Teller or Dymamo is although amazing, only harmless tricks.

However technology automation is anything by harmless.  Real people do not incur an incorrect government debt because they went to a Dynamo performance.  Peoples jobs are not replaced when they experience the slight of hand of Penn & Teller.  Many people have already been be killed by robots, something by accident, sometimes by not. People being killed is a real consequence of technology automation. There is no harmless magic, when it comes to technology automation.


There are two types of people who use the word automagical:

  1. The Uniformed Salesperson.  This person, uses the word automagical because they have no clue how the technology works, and are using this playful term to distract you from the limits of their own understanding. These people are dangerous in their ignorance. The saying ‘the path to hell is paved with good intentions’, applies here.
  2. The Manipulative Capitalist.  This person does know at least in broad terms what is going on underneath the hood of automation. They use automagical to hide their intent to use the automated technology to use you for their own advantage.


When you here people using the word Automagical, immediately recognise tat these people are trying to sell you something, that they either do not understand, or that they want to use to take advantage over or from you in some way.  When you are not in control of the automation, the automation is in control of you.

The automagical pied piper will not lead you on a path that enables you to take control over technology in your business.

Carl Sudholz is the founder at AGContext and specialist in the integration of information technology within organisations. He holds two degrees, is a certified Business Analyst and a Director of the Australia Chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis. Carl’s expertise and experience spans 15 years serving public, private and non-for-profit organisations to take control over technology.