Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.

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Self-replicating facility

Design a factory that can make another factory (and other things)
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It is of course theoretically possible to make self- replicating machinery as it would only require the construction of things that we can already make.

This idea is not necessarily the construction of the factory, but rather the thought experiment of designing all of the components necessary, perhaps on a forum or wiki website.

At it's most complete, the facility would need to send out drones to discover and mine raw resources, but that can be added in later. I think the major hurdle is the refinement and production of semiconductors to use for processors.

Once the facility is designed it will probably be capable of building anything, including itself of course.

From this point, the design can be continually improved as various bits of technology are discovered, until the actual construction becomes feasible.

An alternative thought experiment would be to work out which existing facilities in various locations would be required, and what additional measures would be needed to completely automate and connect them.

marklar, Jul 17 2010

Reprap http://reprap.org/wiki/Main_Page
Desktop version [pocmloc, Jul 17 2010]

Recursive factory Recursive_20Factory
redundant with prior idea? [bungston, Sep 22 2010]

[link]






       Isn't this what led to the Matrix? (Where is Keanu Reeves when you need him?)
Grogster, Jul 17 2010
  

       //Isn't this what led to the Matrix?// No, this is what led to Homo sapiens.
mouseposture, Jul 17 2010
  

       Design a factory that makes factory wrecking machines, that only wreck factories that make factory making machines.
xenzag, Jul 17 2010
  

       [xenzag], that is brilliant! Now I see the light! [marklar] my good halfbaker, here's a nice fresh bun, just for you. [+]
Grogster, Jul 17 2010
  

       [marked-for-deletion]: WTCTTISITMWIBNIIWR... see Nanites in Star Trek TNG: "Evolution"
Cedar Park, Jul 17 2010
  

       [Cedar Park] I'm not talking about nanotechnology, this is on a macro scale and exists as a large number of separate human-operated facilities.   

       The idea is to create a forum which designs a single facility which can do everything in one place.
marklar, Jul 18 2010
  

       See [marklar], if you would have just stopped at "a factory that makes factories", I would have manufactured a crusty little bun for you. But NNNNNNNNNOOOO. You had to go and make it something bigger, and better, and broader...
blissmiss, Jul 18 2010
  

       Is this not a Von Neuman machine?
mouseposture, Sep 22 2010
  
      
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