Developing Insights into the Design of the Simplest Self-Replicator and Its Abstract Complexity, Part 2
Evaluating the Complexity of a Concrete Implementation of an Artificial SSR
This is the second in a three-part series investigating the internals of the simplest possible self-replicator (SSR). It builds on the construction of a hypothetical self- replicator devised in Part 1 and considers various significant aspects about the design and construction of an artificial, concrete SSR: the material basis of its construction, the e↵ects of the variable geometry of the SSR during its growth through the cloning and division phases, and the three closure rules that must be satisfied by the SSR— energy closure, material closure, and information closure.
The highest technical challenges that need to be faced by the design and construction of the artificial SSR are considered. The emerging complexity of the artificial SSR is depicted using a metaphorical comparison of the SSR with a city fully populated by automated machinery that systematically constructs a new city that is identical to the old city without external help but only using the construction materials that enter through the city gateways. The current level of technology is evaluated to determine if it is sucient for the successful completion of the design and construction of an artificial autonomous SSR project using either a nano-biochemical basis or or a macro-material basis.
Part 1 of this series analyzed the basic necessary design elements of the sim- plest self-replicator (SSR), including necessary components, functions, processes, and information. Having established the minimum requirements for the design, this part will discuss the physical implementation of the SSR.