Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Random Thing Generator

The grape shot approach to innovation
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Have a bunch of -- (why not) self replicating -- 3D printers print out an exponentially increasing number of sets of random shapes and then do an exponentially increasing number of automated experiments with the shapes to see if they do anything unexpected when forced to interact with eachother in a controlled environment and shaken.

So you could begin by having one 3D printer print out a bunch of cubes and put them in a cubical container and shake it around at varying speeds to see if the collective behavior of the modules added up to anything -- which it wouldn't -- but you would be looking for meta behavior to emerge from the experiment - all automated. And then start tweaking from there.

JesusHChrist, Sep 11 2013

House of Stairs http://en.wikipedia...am_Sleator_novel%29
For [rcarty].
My class studied it at high school (many years ago). [neutrinos_shadow, Sep 12 2013]

Random Acts of Kindness http://www.hackcana...moose/kindness2.jpg
(Space Moose is rarely SFW) [ytk, Sep 13 2013]


       Eventually you might just end up producing gray goo…
ytk, Sep 11 2013

       It's just another twist on chimps with typewriters.
Alterother, Sep 11 2013

       I like the concept but not this particular iteration. The ideal random thing generator would be a junk yard full of all modern technological refuse, and populated by deaf and mute feral children raised from aborted fetuses in artificial wombs. The deafness and muteness would be surgically imposed by choice institutionalized mental patients who are convinced they are in the hospital because they are doctors. The feral children are prevented from socializing by constant surveillance and the realease of toothless declawed attack dogs that prevent them from doing anything but assembly. The childrens new creations are submitted to a retractile claw suspended from a high crane that lowers once something has been completed. The claw also removes poor performers.
rcarty, Sep 11 2013

       That doesn't strike me as especially random, [rcarty].
ytk, Sep 11 2013

       //twist on chimps with typewriters. //   

       At least it is doable. Where would you get chimps that can type? Temp agency's?   

       And you could sell 25 random shapes in a plastic bag.   

       Like tinker toys for tinkerers and thinkers.
popbottle, Sep 11 2013


skinflaps, Sep 11 2013

       Ytk, are you operating the claw today?
rcarty, Sep 11 2013

       [rcarty], your (somewhat disturbing) description reminds me of the novel "House of Stairs", with maybe some "Cube" thrown in for good measure.
neutrinos_shadow, Sep 11 2013

       House of Stairs I'll look for at the library, but school will likely cut into my pleasure reading. Is 'Cube' the Canadian made movie about the people entrapped in a huge cube made out of cubes with each cube being uniquely deadly?   

       As to the idea 'random thing generator', the problem I see is that things are not really produced perfectly randomly. If they were, space would be full of much more interesting things than just rocks. The exercise of randomly joining shapes together as the idea proposes wouldn't result in any particular sort of thing at all except abstract art. My suggestion of using feral children in a junk yard was so that things could be assembled with as little insight into the outcome as possible - a randomness.
rcarty, Sep 12 2013

       The last paragraph sounds like you could get a broken Rubic's cube.
xandram, Sep 12 2013

       Hmm, looking at some of the output from the Random Thing Generator, and I quote "Before travelling, remove all the hydrogen atoms from the cotton in your luggage, saving 50% of the bulk and weight, simply replace it at your destination"... I think it needs some tweaking as just removing the hydrogen atoms will just make it heavier, as every fule nos.
not_morrison_rm, Sep 13 2013

       Suddenly wondering if this is anything like the Random Acts of Kindness Generator (link).
ytk, Sep 13 2013

       This could work wonders for our foreign policy.
RayfordSteele, Sep 13 2013

       I am imagining an animated short. The machines, all similar but none the same. They churn away with their shapes and their shaking. Each works at it for 10 seconds, then the shapes disappear and they start anew. There are thousands of these machines, in rows stretching over the horizon. Some big ones can be seen in distant rows.   

       A monkish looking robot walks the rows, looking over what the machines are doing. Others like him can be seen in other rows. He watches the shapes appear and move and disappear. He nods benignly.   

       In one bin the shapes coalesce in a column. Green arms and a torso emerge. It is a plant, or a cat, or a woman, or a fire. Her eyes open and she looks wonderingly around, then up at the monk.   

       And she disappears. New shapes appear in the machine and begin to move. The monk smiles and takes a piece of chalk from his cowl. He makes a tally mark on the side of the machine. There are three marks already there.
bungston, Apr 02 2014


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