Thursday, May 12, 2005

Self-Replicating Robots!!

LinuxInsider carried an article about self-replicating robots. Haven't these guys seen The Matrix? Just kidding!
The article says that this self-replication is pretty simplistic compared to biological self-replication. In my opinion, it may be simplistic in terms of scale, but conceptually it carries a lot of the properties of biological self-replication.
  • "These robots are made up of a series of modular cubes called " molecules," each containing identical machinery and the complete computer program for replication. " That is analogous to each of our cells carrying our entire genetic code.
  • "The new robots in Lipson's lab are very dependent on their environment. They draw power through contacts on the surface of the table" We too are very dependent on our environment. We need a very specific environment to draw our power. We need the right temperature. We need the energy of the sun that gets converted through complex mechanisms to glucose burning in our cells. One could imagine if these individual cells could take solar energy and go smaller in size (if laptops and cell phones and mp3 players can, so can these cubes), we wouldn't be too far from replicating simple biological structures.
  • "They cannot replicate unless the experimenters "feed" them by supplying additional modules." Even we need a very protected environment when we replicate (or are in the early phases of replication).

In short, if these "molecules" get smaller, can derive their energy from their environment (solar?, heat?), and if one mega structure has the master-print for each of these molecules and can manufacture it from say (sand), a Matrix-like scenario isn't too far off. Half a century, what say!!

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