What would be the environmental requirements for a mechanical species to na (20)

1 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-05 20:35 ID:45QW0ofP

I am currently writing a sci-fi novel which involves a species of mechanical organisms which have evolved completely independent of any "parent" or "Builder" race. I need to know what natural forces could theoretically lead to such an outcome.

Any thoughts/theories?

2 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-05 20:44 ID:/gveky4T

Shouldn't you come up with this yourself, or do some research?

Otherwise I could give you a great idea, and then you go and write this novel which gets made into a movie trilogy and starts a media empire with action figures and fast-food tie-ins.

That's when I show up again and sue you for my cut.

3 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-05 21:26 ID:tDH98/iH

>That's when I show up again and sue you for my cut.

That reminds me of the blog of iD Software (maker of Doom/Guake). They would get occasionally some newbie with "a great idea", and he would want 50% of all the money for it.
It doesn't work that way. The money goes to the ones who do actual work, like coding for several years, testing the software until it works, getting it produced and available. One can't even patent an idea.

4 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-05 21:35 ID:45QW0ofP

I'm not really looking for "ideas" here. I just want to know what sort of conditions would need to be met in order for this sort of thing to happen. So far my own research has gotten me nowhere.

Besides, this novel is getting a "torrentrical" release. I want people to read it for free. I'm not going to publish it conventionally, and I would sooner push my head through a wall than let it be turned into a movie. YOur cut would be the same as mine: 0% of the un-money.

I'm looking for scientific facts and theories from actual scientists. I want the science to be right before I plunge into the fiction.

5 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-05 22:58 ID:hAL+ZgxL


What do you mean by mechanical life form? Silicone based instead of carbon based? Mostly made of metal? With gears and cogwheels?

It seems to me that a machine sophistcated enough to self replicate would start to look organic,...

6 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-06 14:43 ID:Cg8FWVOD

I'm with >>5

I was thinking, aren't our cells just like little tiny machines? We run using codes, we are made up of many little parts which work together to make us work, we consume fuel, we compute data, we produce waste, etc etc.

So, what characteristics different from us would it need to have to satisfy your criteria for a 'mechanical' organism? Look....'metally', and machine-like, maybe?

'mechanical' organism isn't enough to go on to determine the required environment. I suggest coming up with a lot of possible details for the organisms, while looking at how ecosystems and the environment work in detail.
Say I wanted some sort of insect-like, metalic looking thing. Perhaps there are harsh environmental conditions such as excessive heat giving it a need for a thick, strong skin so it can keep it's fuel from drying up/ insides from being damaged.
Maybe the terrain is very rough and hot too, which might make a few pairs of legs or wings very useful for getting around and keeping from overheating in that hot hot weather. If it's hot, and metaly, it will need some way of keeping cool. Large surface area is a good way of releasing excess heat. Once I knew I wanted a very hot, rough planet with lots of metal on it, I could start researching that. Once I knew it would want things like a strong metalic skin, I could research things like desert lizards for more facts and info that might apply to my species etc. I'd look into various methods animals use to keep from overheating. By then i'd probably have worked out a detailed appearance of my species, and be thinking about it's behaviour etc.
If I was going to have an organism with a lot of similarities to our machines, I'd think about how it evolved.
Maybe the planet has a large amount of regular electrical storms or something. Perhaps the metaly insecty thing i thought about earlier was suffering as a species because of electrical sotrms as it was pushed out of it's usual teritory for some reason or other. It evolved to cope with the electricity, perhaps absorb it, then store, it, then release it at it's enemies. It eventualy evolved to use it as a source of energy.
bla bla bla bla. So, in this case the planet needed to have lots of metal, heat, and electrical storms, and i ended up with a metalic insect thingy that survived on electricity. I'm tired, and have gotten carried away rambling without much point. Excuse me.

7 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-06 15:23 ID:BetY9wAk

>I'm tired, and have gotten carried away rambling without much point. Excuse me.

Not at all, it was pretty cool,... But we're hanging on the OP, to get any further...

8 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-06 16:31 ID:45QW0ofP

OP here. Well, the planet has very little oxygen, for one thing. It is extremely rich in metals and salts (some of which are of an unusually high conductivity,) and the planet itself is relatively small (about the size of Earth.) The planet has one moon (also covered in a metallic "salt.") and is quite far away from it's system's suns.

Basically by mechanical I mean "looks like a robot." You know, with gears and pipes and things. To quote >>5, Silicone based instead of carbon based, Mostly made of metal, With gears and cogwheels.

Sorry if that's not specific enough. I'll try and clarify if you have any other questions.

9 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-06 20:24 ID:/gveky4T


> iD Software

You mention id, but don't metion Carmack's Reverse and the resultant patent suit?

> some newbie with "a great idea", and he would want 50% of all the money for it. It doesn't work that way.

That's because his work is owned by the company under contract, like how Disney owns everything it's creatives do on (and off) Walt's clock.
No one here has signed a contract with >>1

10 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-06 21:14 ID:/gveky4T


> Silicone based

You mean, of course, silicon based.

(Greatest typo ever? It just may be.)

11 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-07 09:26 ID:otcndLxn

You know, you may want to check out Stephen Baxter's "Manifold" series.

The second book, Time, dealt with sapient (or, at least, intelligent) creatures that were essentially very, very intricate von Neumann machines. And they evolved on a nickel-ferrous based ecology.

12 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-07 10:07 ID:Heaven

Which metals? If you're thinking of iron or copper the organisms would need access to very high temperatures in order to smelt and work the materials.

13 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-07 13:31 ID:tDH98/iH


>You mention id, but don't metion Carmack's Reverse and the resultant patent suit?

AFAIK there was no patent suit, Carmack settled out of court with Creative in exchange for implementing EAX sound into Doom. But Carmack could probably have fought that patent, there was prior art; for example a stencil shadow algorithm implementation existed already before 1999 in OpenGL. Also, it was said that reverse caps became pretty much trivial after the stencil shadow idea itself had shown up.

14 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-14 18:03 ID:45QW0ofP

OP Here. I seem to have resolved this dilemma. Thank you all for your help and input.

15 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-15 12:18 ID:8fufplko

Then I wanna hear about your aliens and how they evolved!

16 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-18 11:49 ID:JQ68b/ya

Silicon isn't carbon, they ave very different chemistries which make silicon based life impossible ie the fact that silanes can only reach chains of about 8 units in lenght.

17 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-18 18:34 ID:BetY9wAk

For sure silicon is not carbon, but AFAIK nobody proved that there could be no life based on silicon. Where do you take your information from, I would be interested in knowing more,...

18 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-03-19 10:40 ID:JQ68b/ya


Just picked up that from a lecture. Though, you can increase the chain length by the addition of carbon (I think around ~350 units in lentgh is the largest i've read of) But this is just one aspect of silicon that makes it a bad choice for life. Silicon chains are also held more weakly than carbon making them more reactive and would probably decompose rather than do any productive biochemistry.

19 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-04-07 16:09 ID:YV50MmxJ


"Code of the Lifemaker," by James P. Hogan, with the sequel, "The Immortality Option."

20 Name: Anonymous Scientist : 2008-04-15 07:07 ID:HCABrg12

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