A function is able?

I always thought that only a people can be able to do something. What do you think of the following sentence:

As an online document a ‘search’ function was able to bring me directly to a location I was interested in.

I mean, was the search function able to bring the person to a location or was the person able to find a location by using a search function?[YSaerTTEW443543]

TOEFL listening discussions: Why did the professor ask to see the student?[YSaerTTEW443543]

Technically, the person was capable of getting to the location with the help of the search function. However, automated programs, or tools, can make a person capable of doing something that he or she is completely unable to do without the program or tool. So, since the person himself is not able to go through the routine of programming a computer or a website to deliver him to a certain location on the web, then the computer has to do it for him. The computer is not human, but it is able to do things at a person’s request that the person can’t do himself.

Remember that “be able to” is just a synonym for “can”. It’s quite normal to say that computers or tools can or can’t, will or won’t do something, so it’s also normal to say they’re able to do something.

[color=darkblue]The machine can’t take Canadian coins.
The machine wasn’t able to take Canadian coins.

My knife can’t cut this kind of material.
My knife wasn’t able to cut that kind of material.

It’s completely normal.

Hi guys

This topic brings some other words to mind:

  • will (indicating “willingness”)
  • refuse

That machine won’t take this coin.
My car refuses to start on extremely hot, humid days.

It seems that machines can have some very human traits.