In ancient Greek drama, the "deus ex machina" – from the Greek for "god from the machine" – was a god introduced into the action, by means of a crane, in order to resolve the plot. Today, we use the term to refer to someone or something that unexpectedly appears to solve an apparently insoluble problem.

Example (as used by Stephanie Gutmann in The Kinder, Gentler Military): "In times of affluence and peace, with technology that always seems to arrive like a deus ex machina to solve any problem, it becomes easy to believe that life is perfectible."

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