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.


Opening Quotations


In 1913, Lee De Forest was prosecuted by U.S. government officials for claiming to potential investors that his company, RCA, would soon be able to transmit the human voice over the Atlantic Ocean. The prosecuting officials argued that his claim was so utterly ridiculous that he was surely ripping off investors. He was ultimately released but not before being admonished by the judge to stop making any more fraudulent claims. The rest, as the old saying goes, “is history.”

This...serves as a poignant reminder that the relentless forces of technology can lead to predictions that sound nonsensical or unbelievable to people who do not understand where science and technology is headed. The story holds particular relevance to the broader business community because virtually every industry – including the computer, semiconductor, energy, health care, insurance and manufacturing sectors – will soon be confronted with seemingly nonsensical and unbelievable predictions that are about to be created by the new and emerging science of nanotechnology.

Jack Uldrich, 2004 [129]


Like all revolutionary new ideas, the subject has had to pass through three stages, which may be summed up by these reactions:

(1) “It’s crazy – don’t waste my time”;
(2) “It’s possible, but it’s not worth doing”;
(3) “I always said it was a good idea.”

Arthur C. Clarke, 1968 [130]


Last updated on 1 August 2005