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Thread: Robotic abiogenesis trope

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    Robotic abiogenesis trope

    Any other stories like these two?

    And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon
    https://www.lexal.net/scifi/scificti...filippo31.html

    Red In Tooth And Cog
    http://www.kittywumpus.net/blog/2017...tooth-and-cog/

    And is this trope science fiction (ie plausible) or science fantasy (implausible)?
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Care to just say what the stories are about? Life's short, and getting shorter.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    Care to just say what the stories are about? Life's short, and getting shorter.

    Grant Hutchison
    Common objects and appliances get endowed with AI, connect over the internet, and are equipped with self-repair capability. Problem is they begin spontaneously joining and develop an evolving mechanical “biosphere”. World starts getting strange.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    They are a bit like Dial 'F' for Frankenstein by Arthur C. Clarke.
    Spoiler: (Highlight this box to see the hidden message.)
    The world's telephone system becomes so complex that it spontaneously becomes sentient.

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    But Dial F was one global entity. The two stories above were billions of very different entities.
    But thanks anyway.
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Do two stories count as a "trope"?

    Grant Hutchison

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    Fredric Brown, "The Answer"

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    I think the 'trope' behind the stories Tom Mazanec mentions is that the various artificial self-improving devices spontaneously start to evolve and form a completely new biosphere, which develops in new and unexpected ways. One example of this happening in a recent book is in Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, where robotic devices on Mars have established a ecology of machines which is both dangerous and remarkably innovative.

    An older example is Philip K Dick's story Autofac, which described a network of uncontrollable provider factories that replace the human economy with a ecology of 'paperclip maximisers'. The moral of this sort of story is 'be careful if you create things that can evolve, because they might change into something that you don't like, or that doesn't like you.'
    Last edited by eburacum45; 2020-Apr-26 at 03:14 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I think the 'trope' behind the stories Tom Mazanec mentions is that the various artificial self-improving devices spontaneously start to evolve and form a completely new biosphere, which develops in new and unexpected ways.
    So the Internet of Things aspect is not required?
    If so, Rudy Rucker's Ware series seems to fit the bill, particularly Freeware. At the time, Rucker was interested in the idea that self-consciousness could be evolved by deliberately setting up a Darwinian environment for machines with limited artifical "intelligence".
    There's a more recent example in Ken MacLeod's Corporation Wars trilogy, in which mining and exploratory robots develop consciousness (and their own agendas) after being trapped in self-modelling predictive loops.

    Grant Hutchison

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    If we have to rely on natural selection to produce a conscious and self-aware artificial general intelligence, we might be waiting for millions of years. After all, it took hundreds of millions of years for macroscopic organisms to evolve human-level sentience. A more common-place result of freeware might be a complex ecology of subsentient entities.

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    Why do I keep thinking of the Brave Little Toaster? Appliances that are smart and move around?
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    I remember a cartoon where an electric fan was itself being fanned by a butler—Mighty Man and Yuck the dog, I think.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    I think the 'trope' behind the stories Tom Mazanec mentions is that the various artificial self-improving devices spontaneously start to evolve and form a completely new biosphere, which develops in new and unexpected ways. One example of this happening in a recent book is in Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds, where robotic devices on Mars have established a ecology of machines which is both dangerous and remarkably innovative.

    An older example is Philip K Dick's story Autofac, which described a network of uncontrollable provider factories that replace the human economy with a ecology of 'paperclip maximisers'. The moral of this sort of story is 'be careful if you create things that can evolve, because they might change into something that you don't like, or that doesn't like you.'
    Oh, Poul Anderson’s Epilogue (1962) is along the same lines. Humans built the first starship, where subjectively travel was instantaneous but to outside observers it traveled at the speed of light. They made a mistake and traveled half a billion light years or so. They managed to return to what they thought was Earth (hard to understand how they could do that since the sun and other stars would be in other places in the galaxy, but oh well) but the Earth looked radically different and no longer had a breathable atmosphere.

    They find a machine ecosystem, with many biological niches filled by things made of metals, glass, plantlike structures with solar panel leaves, animal-like machines, even male and female, and some showing intelligent behavior. “Animals” communicate by radio.

    They realize that not long before they left, self replicating machines had been made to do certain functions like mining or certain other useful tasks. When they left, there had been fear that a full scale world war might soon start. In fact they left before full testing on their ship because of the situation. They suspect that the machines, some damaged by radiation, evolved by developing memory errors and altering construction of their replacements. They expect the war had been so extensive as to wipe out the biological ecosystem.

    Finally they realize this was not their Earth anymore and go looking for another world. Interesting story, but a tad depressing.

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    A few John Varley stories touch on this, though it is not a central theme of any of them that I remember. One is a short-story "Tango Charlie and Foxtrot Romeo". At the beginning of the story there is a surveillance satellite that has a small piece of lab-grown human brain tissue as part of its AI system. According to the story, this helps the AI with pattern recognition. A side-effect is that the AI likes creating poetry, and before it gives its reports on its surveillance, it likes to offer the human that communicates with it a poetry reading.

    In a lot of his stories from the same "universe" ("Eight Worlds") there is a centralized AI (at least on the Moon) that seems to be semi-sentient, at least to the point that humans have delegated a lot of decision making to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    '... they might change into something that you don't like, or that doesn't like you.'
    What, like teenagers?

    Quote Originally Posted by eburacum45 View Post
    ... a complex ecology of subsentient entities.
    Yup, teenagers.
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    We're part of the machine ecology, not a competitor. We keep making more and more computer components so we must be the reproductive system.

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    Stanislaw Lem, The Invincible. Planet where machines evolved and became a hive-like entity that attacks human astronauts. Outstanding novel, highly recommended.
    Do good work. —Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom

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    Thanks. I'll keep those books in mind, if the Library ever reopens.
    SHARKS (crossed out) MONGEESE (sic) WITH FRICKIN' LASER BEAMS ATTACHED TO THEIR HEADS

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    Is "Robotic Abiogenesis" the most accurate term? Atechnogenesis? Do we need the A? I guess it implies an emergent property. Mechagenesis? Technoconsciogenesis? We may need to start using some hyphens.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jascryan View Post
    Is "Robotic Abiogenesis" the most accurate term? Atechnogenesis? Do we need the A? I guess it implies an emergent property. Mechagenesis? Technoconsciogenesis? We may need to start using some hyphens.
    How about self replicating? The idea of sex for robots is very limiting. A hive of robots including 3D printing, various materials, some pick and place, a few transporters, and what do you have.. A multi Product factory. It could observe itself and make improvements, make A better factory, and so on. Just needs that spark of self awareness and that will to imagine better.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by profloater View Post
    How about self replicating? The idea of sex for robots is very limiting. A hive of robots including 3D printing, various materials, some pick and place, a few transporters, and what do you have.. A multi Product factory. It could observe itself and make improvements, make A better factory, and so on. Just needs that spark of self awareness and that will to imagine better.
    We probably still wouldn't call that BIOgenesis, right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jascryan View Post
    We probably still wouldn't call that BIOgenesis, right?
    But it would be a form of ABIOgenesis, though. Technology self-developing into something new and strange, in the absence of any biological input or supervision. I assumed that's why the thread title uses that word, and why I offered Rucker's self-reproducing robots and MacLeod's self-modelling robots as examples--both achieved consciousness through interactions strictly with other technology, in a purely technological environment. No bio involved, so a-bio-genesis.

    Grant Hutchison

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    Quote Originally Posted by grant hutchison View Post
    But it would be a form of ABIOgenesis, though. Technology self-developing into something new and strange, in the absence of any biological input or supervision. I assumed that's why the thread title uses that word, and why I offered Rucker's self-reproducing robots and MacLeod's self-modelling robots as examples--both achieved consciousness through interactions strictly with other technology, in a purely technological environment. No bio involved, so a-bio-genesis.

    Grant Hutchison
    I suppose. I was looking at the "A" part of the word in a something-from-nothing kind of way. It seems like you are using it in a "without" kind of way. Addy Pross had a book a few years back about the potential of auto catalytic chemistry leading to biology. Whether he is on to anything there or not, biology had to emerge somehow. When I read the word abiogenesis, i think "newly emergent biology." I think your usage there would be, "new without biology"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jascryan View Post
    I think your usage there would be, "new without biology"?
    More or less. The etymology is Greek, "origin without life". It refers to the fact that living organisms must have had their origin from non-living material.
    In English, the Greek prefix a- generally implies negation or absence of whatever comes next: arrhythmia, no rhythm; atheism, no god; abiotic, no life.

    Grant Hutchison

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    I’ve wondered what Terminators would do with all humans wiped out...then daydreamed a scene with them pushing plows—working in preserves, etc...

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