“The real problem is not whether machines think, but whether men do.”–B.F. Skinner
Researchers at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada have unveiled an ambitious project. They are attempting to develop a 3D printer that can make copies of itself. A replicating machine. Why would anyone do something like that? In a word: space. It’s difficult, dangerous and expensive to launch mass of any kind into space. If lunar and asteroid mining are ever to become a reality, let alone colonization of Mars, the ability to use materials in situ to construct many automata, from an initial compact package, would be paramount to affordability and perhaps even viability. Is this possible? No less a personage than John von Neumann said that it is–and supposedly proved it mathematically. What are the challenges, can we control them if we make them, and what happens if we can’t control them? This is the subject of William Mitchell’s 2013 science fiction novel, Creations. And he is my guest of Seeking Delphi™ podcast #14: Replicating Machines.
Links to relevant stories appear after the audio file and embedded YouTube video below. A reminder that Seeking Delphi is available on iTunes, PlayerFM, and has a channel on YouTube. You can also follow us on Facebook.
Podcast #14: Replicating Machines
You Tube Slide Show of Episode #11
NASA Conference Publication #2255: Advanced Automation for Space Missions
Japan space agency projects manned lunar landing in 2030
European Union backs BADGER tunneling machine
Tesla begins Model 3 production
Dubai says robot police will not replace human officers.
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