In Rise of the Self-Replicators we delve into the deep history of thought about machines, AI and robots that can reproduce and evolve. Although these might seem like very modern concepts, we show that people were thinking about them as far back as the mid-1600s and that the discussion gathered pace in the 1800s following the British Industrial Revolution and the publication of Darwin’s On The Origin of Species.
Behind all of the work we discuss lie two central questions:
- Is it possible to design robots and other machines that can reproduce and evolve just like biological organisms do?
- And, if so, what are the implications: for the machines, for ourselves, for our environment, and for the future of life on Earth and elsewhere?