This is absolutely insane!
WATCH THIS VIDEO:
"This is not the time for using all caps, Commodore," you say. To which I reply, "THIS IS THE PERFECT TIME TO USE ALL CAPS! WE ARE OUT HERE CREATING INTELLIGENT ROBOTS THAT CAN SELF-REPLICATE PERPETUALLY!"
OK, details. First the Cliff Notes version from Daily Mail:
In a potential breakthrough for regenerative medicine, scientists have created the first-ever living robots that can reproduce.
The millimetre-sized living machines, called Xenobots 3.0, are neither traditional robots nor a species of animal, but living, programmable organisms.
Made from frog cells, the computer-designed organisms, created by a US team, gather single cells inside a Pac-Man-shaped 'mouth' and release 'babies' that look and move like their parents.
Self-replicating living bio-robots could enable more direct, personalised drug treatment for traumatic injury, birth defects, cancer, ageing and more.
"And more" is right! I can think of a lot of "and mores" that could come out of creating living robots that can reproduce! You know, like THEM TAKING OVER THE WORLD WITHIN A GENERATION.
Now on to the actual paper from Harvard:
Scientists at the University of Vermont, Tufts University, and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University have discovered an entirely new form of biological reproduction—and applied their discovery to create the first-ever, self-replicating living robots.
The same team that built the first living robots ("Xenobots," assembled from frog cells—reported in 2020) has discovered that these computer-designed and hand-assembled organisms can swim out into their tiny dish, find single cells, gather hundreds of them together, and assemble "baby" Xenobots inside their Pac-Man-shaped "mouth"—that, a few days later, become new Xenobots that look and move just like themselves.
And then these new Xenobots can go out, find cells, and build copies of themselves. Again and again.
YES WE ARE REALLY OUT HERE CREATING INTELLIGENT ROBOTS THAT CAN SELF-REPLICATE PERPETUALLY. WE ARE REALLY DOING THIS.
"With the right design—they will spontaneously self-replicate," says Joshua Bongard, Ph.D., a computer scientist and robotics expert at the University of Vermont who co-led the new research.
The results of the new research were published November 29, 2021, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
This is how the terminators win.
You and I both know that it won't take long for those little guys to grow up into these:
"People have thought for quite a long time that we've worked out all the ways that life can reproduce or replicate. But this is something that's never been observed before," says co-author Douglas Blackiston, Ph.D., the senior scientist at Tufts University and the Wyss Institute who assembled the Xenobot "parents" and developed the biological portion of the new study.
"This is profound," says Levin. "These cells have the genome of a frog, but, freed from becoming tadpoles, they use their collective intelligence, a plasticity, to do something astounding." In earlier experiments, the scientists were amazed that Xenobots could be designed to achieve simple tasks. Now they are stunned that these biological objects—a computer-designed collection of cells—will spontaneously replicate.
You gotta go read the whole thing because it's long so I can't replicate it here and it's absolutely fascinating and terrifying.
Everywhere you look, technology is advancing at breakneck speed.
Can you imagine what our world will look like in 20 years?
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