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Self-replicating machine

Self-replicating machine definition

A self-replicating machine is a theoretical concept of a mechanical system that can replicate itself using raw materials from its environment.

Even though self-replicating machines are beyond the current technological capabilities of humanity, they are a significant concept in fields such as robotics, space exploration, and automated manufacturing.

See also: artificial general intelligence

Authors who explored a self-replicating machines

  • John von Neumann. His work in the 1940s on cellular automata and the theoretical “von Neumann universal constructor” laid the foundation for the idea of machines that could replicate themselves.
  • K. Eric Drexler. A key figure in the field of nanotechnology, Drexler proposed the idea of molecular nanotechnology, including self-replicating nanomachines, in his book “Engines of Creation.”
  • Freeman Dyson. A theoretical physicist and mathematician, Dyson speculated on the possibility of self-replicating machinery in space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial life.
  • Robert Freitas. His extensive research delves into the potential use of nanobots for medical purposes like diagnostics, treatment, and surgery at the cellular level. One of Freitas's most influential works is “Nanomedicine.”
  • Ralph Merkle. Merkle's research focuses on the mechanosynthesis and assembly of complex structures at the molecular level. He is particularly known for his work on molecular assemblers and nanofactories, which are envisioned to be capable of self-replication.