Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines

© 2004 Robert A. Freitas Jr. and Ralph C. Merkle. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Ralph C. Merkle, Kinematic Self-Replicating Machines, Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, TX, 2004.


2.3.2 Von Neumann Automaton Replication with Diversification

Consider a single instruction tape, and a constructor machine which reads the instructions once to build the offspring machine and again to make a copy of the instructions for the offspring machine. Notice that although the instructions available to the system yield a duplicate of the original system, this need not always be the case. Machines may read and interpret instructions without knowing what they are being called upon to do. The instructions might call for some computational, constructional, or program-copying activities. The machine can be programmed to make machines unlike itself, and can give these “unnatural” offspring copies of the instructions which were employed in their manufacture. If the offspring are also equipped to read and follow instructions, and if they have a constructional capability, their offspring in turn would be replicas of themselves – which might not resemble their “grandparent” machine at all. Thus, an original construction machine can follow instructions to make an indefinitely large number of diverse machines, that are like or unlike themselves, capable or not capable of constructing, replicating, and so forth [564].


Last updated on 1 August 2005