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Scientists Developed Artificial Structures That Can Self-Replicate 127

Posted by samzenpus
from the what-could-possibly-go-wrong? dept.
First time accepted submitter mphall21 writes "New York University scientists have developed artificial structures that can self-replicate, a process that has the potential to yield new types of materials. In the natural world, self-replication is ubiquitous in all living entities, but artificial self-replication has been elusive. The new discovery is the first steps toward a general process for self-replication of a wide variety of arbitrarily designed seeds."
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Scientists Developed Artificial Structures That Can Self-Replicate

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  • Artificial? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @07:34PM (#37708608)

    They took DNA, a natural structure that can replicate, and modified it without breking that property. I wouldn't call it artificial self-replication.

  • Re:Another step (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ihaveamo (989662) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @08:57PM (#37709404)

    Already happened. Except it's pink goo. And it's us.

  • Re:Another step (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @09:29PM (#37709614)
    And you getting a better computer is just one more step toward skynet [wikipedia.org].

    Or big nations making artificial intelligence as weapons, and ultimately... those creations at risk of being turned against their creator through malfunction, hackers, or worse.

    Slashdot: news for technophobes. Lay off the LSD. Every technology can be abused. You're suggesting we shouldn't look into self-replicating structures because one day far down the road, some evil government agency MIGHT use it to unleash a horde of nanobots which will destroy the world? That's absurd.
  • Re:Another step (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oxford_Comma_Lover (1679530) on Thursday October 13, 2011 @11:58PM (#37710472)

    The greater concern is that the technology will be used without understanding of the consequences. The Replicators in Stargate, for example, emerged from an experiment in which a childlike intellect taught its toys to make more of themselves. Research into self-replication, while reasonable, is not without nightmare scenarios or significant potential drawbacks.

    The cockroach is one example of such an experiment. Who is to say that in time, we will not create an example capable of out-competing us for some natural resource? So it is not without risk to experiment in self-replication. You can limit the risk, of course. Until someone makes the wrong kind of mistake at the wrong time. Kind of like researching Level 4 biohazards in a major population zone. If nobody does something dumb or protocols require fifty dumb things to happen at once for a problem and no massively unexplained events occur, it works just fine.

"If that makes any sense to you, you have a big problem." -- C. Durance, Computer Science 234

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