Machine evolution scenario

Machine evolution
A general illustration of the "machine evolution scenario" wherein scientists first build so-called auto-replicating robots, based on Neumann automaton theory, which thereafter develop am evolved "mind" of their own, and therein take over the planet and destroy civilization (Cameron, 1984) or use and grow humans as batteries to power their operations (Wachowski, 1999).
In hmolscience, machine evolution scenario, aka “grey goo scenario” (ΡΊ), refers to the hypothetical future where scientists invent “out-of-control self-replicating robots” or “evolving machines”, or “artificial intelligences” that take over and destroy the human race, the planet, or some variant therein. The machine evolution scenario has been popularized in science fiction films such as: The Terminator (1984) and The Matrix (1999).

In 1948 to 1953, John Neumann gave a series of talks on what he called “complicated automata” (see: Neumann automaton theory), wherein he posited a scenario of a bunch of electrical and computer parts floating on a lake that develop the ability to become “self-reproducing”.

In 1986, Eric Drexler, in his Engines of Creation, coined the term “gray goo” in reference to some type of nanotechnology that grows out of control and covers the earth, or something along these lines.

In 1984, Kevin Kelly, in his Out of Control: the New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World, employed concepts such as entropy and extropy in theorizing about the impact of machines and technology in the future, which touches on topics of cybernetics, emergence, self-organization, complexity, and chaos theory, devoting about ten pages discussing entropy in the context of evolution and technology, the aim of which is to lay out the basic principles defining “artificial evolution”, a phenomenon argued to become commonplace in the next century, along the way defining extropy as "life force" and life as an "information process making new order". [1]

In 1999, the film The Matrix debuted, largely based on Kevin Kelly’s machine science fiction ideology.

In 2009 to 2018, Todd Hylton, funded in part by DARPA, was attempting to sell a theory of evolving thermodynamic computers that operate via “physical intelligence”.

Activation energy diagram
A diagram showing the central confusion surrounding the proposed "machine evolution scenario", namely that machines are but a type of matter, silicon-based, made by humans, in order to lower the activation barrier to human chemical reactions, e.g. human reproduction reaction. In short, in order for the machine evolution scenario to become true, the catalysts (robots) would have to became or transform into reactants that are driven (free energy) to become new products. The entire scenario is confused mess, to say the least, as per basic physical chemistry.
Difficult on theory
The general issue or difficulty in all variants of the machine evolution scenario, revolves around confusion about "free energy" in respect to the animation of each thing; this was pointed out in 2003 by John Avery: [2]

“The important point about von Neumann’s automaton theory is that it requires a source of free energy (i.e. a source of energy from which work can be obtained) in order to function. We can imagine that the free energy comes from electric batteries which the automaton finds in its environment. (These are analogous to the food eaten by animals.) Alternatively we can imagine that the automaton is equipped with photocells, so that that it can use sunlight as a source of free energy, but it is impossible to imagine the automaton reproducing itself without some energy source from which work can be obtained to drive its reproductive machinery. If it could be constructed, would von Neumann’s automaton be alive? Few people would say yes. But is such a self-reproducing automaton could be constructed, it would have some of the properties which we associate with living organisms.”

Similarly, in the Hylton’s model of “thermodynamic computers” moving and evolving via “physical intelligence”, the problem that the “potentials”, which Hylton speaks of as being the driving force behind the evolution of matter, in the universe, namely thermodynamic potentials, the Gibbs potential specifically for earth-bound surface-reacting social systems, operate between or amid reactive CH-based animation types of chemical species, whereas no sort of similar reproductive Gibbs potential exists between Si-based types of animation, such as computers, CPUs, AI systems, or robots.

In short, correctly, in the human chemical reaction purview, Si-based matter, as found in computers, CUPs, AI systems, or robots, are technically classified as “substrate” (or catalyst), such as diagrammed above, which has the function to lower the activation energy barrier of social reactions, but does not effect the free energy of reactants going to products.

1. (a) Kelly, Kevin. (1994). Out of Control: the New Biology of Machines, Social Systems, and the Economic World (extropy, pg. 106; entropy, pgs. 79, 405-06, 413, 452). Addison Wesley.
(b) Out of Control – Wikipedia.
2. Avery, John. (2003). Information Theory and Evolution (automaton, pg. 89 and ch. 8). London: World Scientific.

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