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B How close are we to producing a self-replicating machine

  1. Aug 2, 2015 #1
    Are self-replicating machines still theoretical or have demonstration models (other than the rip rap 3d printer)been produced?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 3, 2015 #2

    Drakkith

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    They are still theoretical.
     
  4. Aug 3, 2015 #3
    How could a self-replicating machine power itself without violating Conservation of Energy? From starlight near suns? Would it then just be drifting between stars?
     
  5. Aug 3, 2015 #4

    CWatters

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    I guess a fully self replicating machine would also need to gather all the raw material required to make itself. In the human world we seem to be heading the other way. Not many companies make everything including their tools from raw materials. Even companies that do process raw materials buy-in tools, machinery, computers, trucks etc.

    It's possible to imagine a biological "machine" like a yeast that when released into a pool of raw material turns it all into copies of itself. See Grey Goo..

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_goo
     
  6. Aug 3, 2015 #5

    CWatters

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    Does it have to power itself? Humans self replicate without violating CoE.
     
  7. Aug 3, 2015 #6
    Humans obtain chemical energy from what they eat. ATP to ADP, etectera.

    Ultimately, all the energy that powers biological organisms comes from sunlight.

    Sunlight has very little energy between stars.
     
  8. Aug 3, 2015 #7

    Drakkith

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    What does 'between the stars' have to do with anything?
     
  9. Aug 3, 2015 #8
    I presumed that the self-replicating bots would be used to colonize other planets in other star systems, which apparently, in this case, was an incorrect assumption. That is the most common reason why I have heard people propose the creation of self-replicating bots.
     
  10. Aug 3, 2015 #9

    anorlunda

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    My guess is that an artificial virus will be the first. In fact, a google search for "artificial virus synthesis" returned more than 1,300,000 hits.
     
  11. Aug 3, 2015 #10
    A virus is not self-replicating. I think an artificial bacterium will be the first and there already are almost full artificial bacteria.
     
  12. Aug 3, 2015 #11
    There are already self replicating machines.

    You might with to use a far more restrictive description of what you mean.
     
  13. Aug 3, 2015 #12
    Thanks for the comments.
    So from what I see so far only the rip rap is close and artificial bacteria. From what I've read so far they are theoretically possible, no question. The science and engineering aspects are sound, just never actually fabricated yet. How many months are we away from constructing a 100% or close to 100% device? I mean a riprap 3d printer can already print more than half its own parts to create a daughter machine. reprap.org I have been researching this issue but could not make any definitive determination.
     
  14. Aug 3, 2015 #13

    Vanadium 50

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    This is an ill-defined question. The part that you are missing is "from what"? We could certainly make a self-replacating machine if the input is self-replacating machine parts. We certainly could not do it if the input was a bunch if hydrogen gas. How close we are depends on where in between you are.
     
  15. Aug 3, 2015 #14
    Every candidate, however, requires some sort of energy input. A riprap 3d printer requires electricity. Artificial bacteria eat things. Surely you are not visualizing a self-replicating machine as some sort of perpetual motion system?
     
  16. Aug 3, 2015 #15
    I don't think the OP is suggesting that no input of energy is required.
    However, given that energy IS required, I think it's unlikely that we could do better than making modified versions of natural organisms.
     
  17. Aug 3, 2015 #16
    Um, that's "RepRap". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RepRap_Project

    Photograph of one RepRap that produced the elements of another RepRap.
    First_replication.jpg
    Note: The assembly robots, dressed in sky-blue and black shirts, were not produced by the Parent RepRap.
     
  18. Aug 3, 2015 #17

    CWatters

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  19. Aug 3, 2015 #18

    CWatters

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    Ignore the above. Finger trouble and this app won't let me edit posts.

    If nobody is trying to build a self replicating machine it will take a long time to make one. Who is and why?
     
  20. Aug 3, 2015 #19
  21. Aug 3, 2015 #20

    DaveC426913

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    When imagined in the capacity of colonization, they don't replicate in deep space - there's no reason to, nor - as has been pointed out - any way to. What they typically do is seek out resources needed, for example finding planets or asteroids, and harvesting the required materials.

    Self-replicating machines, thus, need to not be merely factories for machining and assembly, but also ore mining and processing plants.
     
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