Self-replicating machines in fiction


A self-replicating machine is a type of autonomous robot that is capable of reproducing itself autonomously using raw materials found in the environment, thus exhibiting self-replication in a way analogous to that found in nature. Such machines are often featured in works of science fiction.

In anime, comics, and manga


  • In the anime Vandread, harvester ships attack vessels from both male- and female-dominated factions and harvest hull, reactors, and computer components to make more of themselves. To this end, Harvester ships are built around mobile factories. Earth-born humans also view the inhabitants of the various colonies to be little more than spare parts.
  • The short OVA series MD Geist features a self-replicating robotic doomsday weapon known as the Death Force that consumes living matter in order to create more units.


  • In the comic Transmetropolitan a character mentions "Von Neumann rectal infestations", which are apparently caused by "Shit-ticks that build more shit-ticks that build more shit-ticks".
  • Storm, the trilogy of albums which conclude the comic book series Storm by Don Lawrence (starting with Chronicles of Pandarve 11: The Von Neumann machine) is based on self-replicating conscious machines containing the sum of all human knowledge employed to rebuild human society throughout the universe in case of disaster on Earth. The probe malfunctions and although new probes are built, they do not separate from the motherprobe which eventually results in a cluster of malfunctioning probes so big that it can absorb entire moons.
  • The Dark Empire storyline within the Star Wars expanded universe features World Devastators, large ships designed and built by the Galactic Empire that tear apart planets to use its materials to build other ships or even upgrade or replicate themselves.


  • In the manga Battle Angel Alita: Last Order, the surface of Mercury is covered in rogue nanomachines from a Gray Goo event and subsequently spawns a being of dubious morphology known as Anomaly.

In films

Many types of self-replicating machines have been featured in movies.

In games and virtual worlds

  • 3030 Deathwar, an Open world Action-adventure game released in 2007 by Bird in Sky, has the main story centered on the threat of grey goo from "destructive nanobots" being used for covert planetary exterminations. Set in the year 3029, the protagonist Starship Captain and crew can assist in preventing a new "nanobot" attack planned by a cabal of aliens, a method they employed 300 years previously which became known as the eponymous "Deathwar". The game has a comedic tone and graphical style reminiscent of early 1990s LucasArts adventure games.
  • Conway's Game of Life
  • In the second Deus Ex game, Deus Ex: Invisible War, a videogame features a self-replicating nanomachines weapon called Gray Death in the CGI introduction. A terrorist attack on Chicago erased the city and is the beginning of the plot.
  • In the role-playing game Eclipse Phase, an ETI probe is believed to have infected the TITAN computer systems with the Exsurgent virus to cause them to go berserk and wage war on humanity. This would make ETI probes a form of berserker, albeit one that uses pre-existing computer systems as its key weapons.
  • Grey Goo is a science fiction real-time strategy video game that features a playable faction based on the grey goo scenario.
  • In the Homeworld: Cataclysm video game, a bio-mechanical virus called Beast has the ability to alter organic and mechanic material to suit its needs, and the ships infected become self-replicating hubs for the virus.[citation needed]
  • In Horizon: Zero Dawn, runaway machines that feed off of biomass to replicate themselves effectively wipe out the human race.
  • Hostile Waters: Antaeus Rising
  • Plague Inc., a plague simulation video game features an artificial self replicating nano-virus, with a built in kill-switch. In-game, the player must evolve symptoms to infect then kill all of humanity whilst keeping the progress of the kill-switch delayed, before they finish the kill-switch and cure those infected.
  • The Reapers in the video game series Mass Effect are also self-replicating probes bent on destroying any advanced civilization encountered in the galaxy. They lie dormant in the vast spaces between the galaxies and follow a cycle of extermination. In Mass Effect 2 it is shown that they assimilate any advanced species.
  • Denial-of-service attacks in the virtual world Second Life which work by continually replicating objects until the server crashes are referred to as gray goo attacks.[1] This is a reference to the self-replicating aspects of gray goo. It is one example of the widespread convention of drawing analogies between certain Second Life concepts and the theories of radical nanotechnology.[2]
  • In PC role-playing game Space Rangers and its sequel Space Rangers 2: Dominators, a league of 5 nations battles three different types of Berserker robots. One that focuses on invading planets, another that battles normal space and third that lives in hyperspace.
  • In the computer game Star Control II, the Slylandro Probe is an out-of-control self-replicating probe that attacks starships of other races. They were not originally intended to be a berserker probe; they sought out intelligent life for peaceful contact, but due to a programming error, they would immediately switch to "resource extraction" mode and attempt to dismantle the target ship for raw materials. While the plot claims that the probes reproduce "at a geometric rate", the game itself caps the frequency of encountering these probes. It is possible to deal with the menace in a side-quest, but this is not necessary to complete the game, as the probes only appear one at a time, and the player's ship will eventually be fast and powerful enough to outrun them or destroy them for resources – although the probes will eventually dominate the entire game universe.
  • In the Star Wolves video game series, Berserkers are a self-replicating machine menace that threatens the known universe for purposes of destruction and/or assimilation of humanity.
  • In the 4X Grand Strategy game Stellaris the player may eventually unlock a remote star cluster known as the L-cluster that may have been previously dominated by self-replicating machines. These may take the form of large fleets that are hostile to all other players (The Grey Tempest), a lone surviving sentient entity that joins the player as a leader or military unit (Grey), or an isolationist AI civilization which may turn hostile depending on the player's actions (The Dessanu Consonance).
  • In the computer game Sword of the Stars, the player may randomly encounter "Von Neumann". A Von Neumann mothership appears along with smaller Von Neumann probes, which attack and consume the player's ships. The probes then return to the mothership, returning the consumed material. If probes are destroyed, the mothership will create new ones. If all the player's ships are destroyed, the Von Neumann probes will reduce the planets resource levels before leaving. The mothership is a larger version of the probes. In the 2008 expansion A Murder of Crows, Kerberos Productions also introduces the VN Berserker, a combat orientated ship, which attacks player planets and ships in retaliation to violence against VN Motherships. If the player destroys the Berserker things will escalate and a System Destroyer will attack.
  • Tasty Planet, a game released in 2006 by Dingo Games centers around a gray goo eating the universe, starting at the atomic level and progressing to the cosmic level. In the game the player controls a gray goo and eats many objects, such as bacteria, mice, cars, people, Earth, galaxies, and eventually the universe. In the end, the grey goo over-fills, explodes, and starts the universe all over again.
  • In the X video game series, the Xenon are a malevolent race of self-replicating spacecraft descended from terraforming ships sent out by humans to prepare worlds for eventual colonization. After a faulty software update aimed at implementing self-destruct following the project's termination, they began to behave similarly to berserkers in that they try to destroy any lifeform encountered, and many planets they hold or used to hold are reduced to molten wastelands, making them antagonists throughout the entire setting.
  • In the computer game Escape Velocity, there was a popular user plug-in Galactic Scourge,[3] with a major plot point that involves Von Neumann probes called replicons, who switch from mining asteroids to spaceships.
  • In the online computer game Universal Paperclips Von Neumann probes are used to extract resources from the universe to make paper clips.
  • In Blam! Machinehead, the player operates a hovercraft in a post-apocalyptic environment infested by the Machinehead virus, with the task of bringing a nuclear bomb to the source of the infestation.
  • In Destiny (video game), the third expansion, Rise of Iron, features a plot device known as Siva which is a self replicating machine that destroyed the Iron Lords and is then weaponized by the Fallen against the player faction known as Guardians.
  • Similar to the World Devastators from Star Wars, the fictional Ark (Installation 00) from the Halo (video game) series has been shown to use planets rich in raw materials to create ringworlds for eventual use in the Halo array.

In literature

Fictional self-replicating machines in literature
Year Work Author Notes
1872 Erewhon Samuel Butler In three chapters comprising "The Book of the Machines", it is considered how machines might replicate themselves.
1909 "The Machine Stops" E. M. Forster A fundamental obstacle of self-replicating machines, how to repair the repair systems, was the critical failure in the automated society described in the short story, '"The Machine Stops".
1932 "The Last Evolution" John W. Campbell In this story, machines have been developed which can "think, and act and work with perfect independence", although they still continue to perform their original function of helping humanity, with the main story dealing with humans and machines cooperating to try to fend off alien invaders. A human character at one point muses on how machines are the next stage of evolution after biological life, one which required biological life to come first since although life might arise by chance, "the complex mechanism of a machine capable of continuing and making a duplicate of itself, as is F-2 here—that could not happen by chance."
1920 R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) Karel Capek[4]
1943 "M33 in Andromeda" A. E. van Vogt A. E. van Vogt used the idea as a plot device in his story "M33 in Andromeda" (1943) which was later combined with the three other Space Beagle short stories to become the novel, The Voyage of the Space Beagle. The story describes the creation of self-replicating weapons factories designed to destroy the Anabis, a galaxy-spanning malevolent life form bent on destruction of the human race.
1953 "Second Variety" Philip K. Dick In the short story a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the West has reduced much of the world to a barren wasteland. The war continues, however, among the scattered remains of humanity. The Western forces have developed "claws", which are autonomous self-replicating robots to fight on their side. It is one of Dick's many stories in which nuclear war has rendered the Earth's surface uninhabitable. The story was adapted into the movie Screamers in 1995.
1955 "Autofac" Philip K. Dick An early treatment was the short story "Autofac" by Philip K. Dick, published in 1955.[5][6]
1962 "Epilogue" Poul Anderson Another example can be found in the 1962 short story "Epilogue" by Poul Anderson, in which self-replicating factory barges were proposed that used minerals extracted from ocean water as raw materials.[5]
1955 "The Necessary Thing" Robert Sheckley In the short story the Universal Replicator is unwittingly tricked into replicating itself.
1958 "Crabs on the Island" Anatoly Dneprov In his short story "Crabs on the Island" (1958) Anatoly Dneprov speculated on the idea that since the replication process is never 100% accurate, leading to slight differences in the descendants, over several generations of replication the machines would be subjected to evolution similar to that of living organisms. In the story, a machine is designed, the sole purpose of which is to find metal to produce copies of itself, intended to be used as a weapon against an enemy's war machines. The machines are released on a deserted island, the idea being that once the available metal is all used and they start fighting each other, natural selection will enhance their design. However, the evolution has stopped by itself when the last descendant, an enormously large crab, was created, being unable to reproduce itself due to lack of energy and materials.
1963-2005 Berserker series Fred Saberhagen The Berserker series is a series of space opera science fiction short stories and novels, in which robotic self-replicating machines (The berserkers) strive to destroy all life.
1964 The Invincible Stanisław Lem Stanisław Lem has also studied the same idea in his novel, in which the crew of a spacecraft landing on a distant planet finds a non-biological life-form, which is the product of long, possibly of millions of years of, mechanical evolution (necroevolution). This phenomenon is also key to the aforementioned Anderson story.
1968 The Reproductive System John Sladek John Sladek used the concept to humorous ends in his first novel The Reproductive System (1968, also titled Mechasm in some markets), where a U.S. military research project goes out of control.[7]
1970 "The Scarred Man" Gregory Benford Long before the existence of the Internet, author Greg Benford was inspired by his work on ARPANet in the late 1960s[8] to write this first account of a self-replicating program - a computer virus. His con men program a computer to randomly dial phone numbers until it hits a telephone modem that is answered by another computer. It then programs the answering computer to begin dialing random numbers in search of yet another computer, while also programming a small delay on each computer's processing time. The virus spreads exponentially through susceptible computers, like a biological infection, and the creators profit by "fixing" the slowed computers. (Story text on author's website.)
1975 The Shockwave Rider John Brunner An early example of a fictional account of a computer virus or worm.
1977 The Adolescence of P-1 Thomas J. Ryan Another early fictional account of a computer virus or worm.
1977-1999 Galactic Center Saga series Gregory Benford The series details a galactic war between mechanical and biological life. In it an antagonist berserker machine race is encountered by Earth, first as a probe in In the Ocean of Night, and then in an attack in Across the Sea of Suns. The berserker machines do not seek to completely eradicate a race if merely throwing it into a primitive low technological state will do as they did to the EMs encountered in Across the Sea of Suns.
1982 2010: Odyssey Two Arthur C. Clarke The novel is the sequel to the 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, but continues the story of Stanley Kubrick's film adaptation with the same title rather than Clarke's original novel. Set in the year 2010, the plot centers on a joint Soviet-American mission aboard the Soviet spacecraft Leonov. Its crew flees Jupiter as a mysterious dark spot appears on Jupiter and begins to grow. HAL's telescope observations reveal that the "Great Black Spot" is, in fact, a vast population of monoliths, increasing at an exponential rate, which appear to be eating the planet. By acting as self-replicating 'von Neumann' machines, these monoliths increase Jupiter's density until the planet achieves nuclear fusion, becoming a small star.
1983 Code of the Lifemaker James P. Hogan NASA's Advanced Automation for Space Missions study directly inspired the science fiction novel.
1985 The Third Millennium: A History of the World AD 2000-3000 Brian Stableford
David Langford
In the book—a fictional historical account, from the perspective of the year 3000, giving a future history of humanity and its technological and sociological developments—humanity sends cycle-limited Von Neumann probes out to the nearest stars to do open-ended exploration and to announce humanity's existence to whoever might encounter them.
1985 Blood Music Greg Bear A scientist creates self-replicating cells that eventually take over much of North America, and presumably the world, bringing a new level of consciousness.
1986 "Lungfish" David Brin In the short story collection, The River of Time, the short story "Lungfish" prominently features von Neumann probes. Not only does he explore the concept of the probes themselves, but indirectly explores the ideas of competition between different designs of probes, evolution of von Neumann probes in the face of such competition, and the development of a type of ecology between von Neumann probes. One of the vessels mentioned is clearly a Seeder type.
1987 The Forge of God Greg Bear The Killers, a civilization of self-replicating machines designed to destroy any potential threat to their (possibly long-dead) creators.
1990 The World at the End of Time Frederik Pohl [citation needed]
1992 Cold as Ice Charles Sheffield In the novel there is a segment where the author (a physicist) describes von Neumann machines harvesting sulfur, nitrogen, phosphorus, helium-4, and various metals from the atmosphere of Jupiter.
1993 Assemblers of Infinity Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason This novel describes self-replicating robots that are programmed not to harm biospheres but instead use materials on the moon for an alien civilization to reproduce and colonize the moon. While this is happening a human scientist on Earth reverse engineers the dormant nanomachines found on Earth (since Earth is a biosphere they don't harm the environment) to make medical nano-machines and is successful at first when he revives a medically dead scientist, but accidentally removes the safety measure, creating a grey goo scenario that he stops at the cost of his life when he activates a high powered x-ray machine built as a safety guard.[9]
1993 Anvil of Stars Greg Bear The novel is the sequel to The Forge of God and explores the reaction other civilizations have to the creation and release of berserkers.
1995 The Ganymede Club Charles Sheffield A mystery and a thriller, the story unravels in the same universe that Sheffield imagined in Cold as Ice. In it humans have colonized the solar system with the help of self-replicating machines called Von Neumanns.
1995 The Diamond Age Neal Stephenson The novel depicts a near-future Earth society wherein nanotechnology, including self-replicators, both exist and influence daily life greatly.
1996 Excession Iain Banks In the novel hegemonising swarms are described as a form of Outside Context Problem. An example of an "Aggressive Hegemonising Swarm Object" is given as an uncontrolled self-replicating probe with the goal of turning all matter into copies of itself. After causing great damage, they are somehow transformed using unspecified techniques by the Zetetic Elench and become "Evangelical Hegemonising Swarm Objects". Such swarms (referred to as "smatter") reappear in the later novels Surface Detail (which features scenes of space combat against the swarms) and The Hydrogen Sonata.
1998 Moonseed Stephen Baxter In the novel Earth faces danger from a self-replicating nanobot swarm after a rock is returned from the Apollo 18 mission. The rock contains a mysterious substance called "moonseed" (a form of grey goo, whether nanobots, an alien virus or something else) that starts to change all inorganic matter on Earth into more moonseed.
1998 Bloom Wil McCarthy Bloom is set in the year 2106, in a world where self-replicating nanomachines called "Mycora" have consumed Earth and other planets of the inner solar system, forcing humankind to eke out a bleak living in the asteroids and Galilean moons.
1998 Destiny's Road Larry Niven In the novel von Neumann machines are scattered throughout the human colony world Destiny and its moon Quicksilver in order to build and maintain technology and to make up for the lack of the resident humans' technical knowledge; the Von Neumann machines primarily construct a stretchable fabric cloth capable of acting as a solar collector which serves as the humans' primary energy source. The Von Neumann machines also engage in ecological maintenance and other exploratory work.
2000 Manifold: Space Stephen Baxter The novel starts with the discovery of alien self-replicating machines active within the Solar system.
2000–present Revelation Space series Alastair Reynolds In the series Inhibitors are self-replicating machines whose purpose is to inhibit the development of intelligent star-faring cultures. They are dormant for extreme periods of time until they detect the presence of a space-faring culture and proceed to exterminate it even to the point of sterilizing entire planets. They are very difficult to destroy as they seem to have faced any type of weapon ever devised and only need a short time to 'remember' the necessary counter-measures. Also "Greenfly" terraforming machines are another form of berserker machines. For unknown reasons, but probably an error in their programming, they destroy planets and turn them into trillions of domes filled with vegetation – after all, their purpose is to produce a habitable environment for humans, however in doing so they inadvertently decimate the human race. By 10.000, they have wiped out most of the Galaxy.[10]
2002 Evolution Stephen Baxter The novel follows 565 million years of human evolution, from shrewlike mammals 65 million years in the past to the ultimate fate of humanity (and its descendants, both biological and non-biological) 500 million years in the future. At one point, hominids become sapient, and go on to develop technology, including an evolving universal constructor machine that goes to Mars and multiplies, and in an act of global ecophagy consumes Mars by converting the planet into a mass of machinery that leaves the Solar system in search of new planets to assimilate.
2002 Prey Michael Crichton In the novel nanobots and the bacteria that assemble them were blown into the desert from an isolated laboratory. These errant nanobots self-replicated, evolved, and eventually formed autonomous swarms. These swarms appear to be solar-powered and self-sufficient clouds that reproduce and evolve rapidly. The swarms, which were programmed to follow predatory behavior patterns, begin attacking and killing reptiles and mammals in the wild, and later begin forming symbiotic relationships with humans and even mimicking them.
2002 Lost in a Good Book Jasper Fforde The novel features an alternative pink goo end of the world scenario, where a nanotechnology 'Dream Topping making machine' turns all matter on earth into a pink dessert similar to Angel Delight. The Dream Topping is taken back in time to the beginning of earth, where it supplies the organic nutrients needed to create life.
2003 Ilium Dan Simmons The first part of the Ilium/Olympos cycle, concerning the re-creation of the events in the Iliad on an alternate Earth and Mars. These events are set in motion by beings who have taken on the roles of the Greek gods. In the cycle the voynix are biomechanical, self-replicating, programmable robots. They originated in an alternate universe, and were brought into the Ilium universe before 3000 A.D.
2003 Singularity Sky Charles Stross The Festival, a civilisation of uploaded minds with strange designs on humanity. The plot also circles around the existence of cornucopia machines - machines capable of assembling matter at the molecular level that can replicate themselves.
2004 Recursion Tony Ballantyne Herb, a young entrepreneur, returns to the isolated planet on which he has illegally been trying to build a city–and finds it destroyed by a swarming nightmare of self-replicating machinery.[11]
2005 Spin Robert Charles Wilson In the novel self-replicating artificial life, shot into space to build a huge sentient network in the outer reaches of the Solar System and gather information about the alien "Hypotheticals". It encounters not just other von Neumann machines, but a pre-existing and galaxy-spanning ecology of them. Apparently this vast network of sentient artificial life is responsible for the "Spin" – the placement of an opaque black membrane around the entire Earth.[12]
2005 Olympos Dan Simmons The sequel to Ilium and final part of the Ilium/Olympos series.
2007 Von Neumann's War John Ringo
Travis S. Taylor
In the novel published by Baen Books in 2007 von Neumann probes arrive in the solar system, moving in from the outer planets, and converting all metals into gigantic structures. Eventually they arrive on Earth, wiping out much of the population before being beaten back when humanity reverse engineers some of the probes.
2007 Postsingular Rudy Rucker In Postsingular, nanobots devour the Earth and copy everybody they eat into a simulation... luckily, one of the machine's developers also created a backdoor, and is able to reverse the situation, restoring everybody. Soon after, another set of tiny self-replicating machines are released, which don't devour, merely reproduce until they cover every inch of the Earth, sharing information with each other and the people they're on. They connect humanity like they've never been connected before so that one can watch anyone else by experiencing what the "orphids" on that person's body are experiencing.[13][14]
2010 Surface Detail Iain Banks The novel depicts self-replicating machines as a universe-threatening infection.[15]
2011 Lord of All Things Andreas Eschbach In the novel (original title "Herr aller Dinge") an ancient nano machine complex is discovered buried in a glacier off the coast of Russia. When it comes in contact with materials it needs to fulfill its mission, it creates a launch facility and launches a space craft. It is later revealed that the nano machines were created by a pre-historic human race with the intention of destroying other interstellar civilizations (for an unknown reason). It is purposed that the reason there is no evidence of the race is because of the nano-machines themselves and their ability to manipulate matter at an atomic level. It is even suggested that viruses could be ancient nano machines that have evolved over time.
2012 The Hydrogen Sonata Iain Banks [citation needed]
2012–present The Machine Dynasty series Madeline Ashby In the novels the protagonists are von Neumann machines, self-replicating humanoid robots.[16][17] The original proposal for the self-replicating humanoid robots came from a religious End Times group who wanted to leave a body of helpers behind for the millions of unsaved after the rapture.[18]
2014 Creations William Mitchell In the novel biological engineer Max Lowrie gets a job offer of a lifetime that's supposed to pave the way for humanity's future: self-replicating machines that can mine materials from the harshest environments at no cost, opening up as yet unheard of resources in the sea, on land, and ultimately on the Moon.[19]
2016 We Are Legion (We are Bob) Dennis E. Taylor In the novels the protagonist Bob Johansson awakens 117 years after his death to find he is being groomed to pilot a von Neumann probe as a replicant.

In television

The concept is also widely utilised in science fiction television.

  • The Babylon 5 episode "Infection" showed a smaller scale berserker in the form of the Icarran War Machine. After being created with the goal of defeating an unspecified enemy faction, the War Machines proceeded to exterminate all life on the planet Icarra VII because they had been programmed with standards for what constituted a 'Pure Icaran' based on religious teachings, which no actual Icaran could satisfy. Because the Icaran were pre-starflight, the War Machines became dormant after completing their task rather than spreading. One unit was reactivated on-board Babylon 5 after being smuggled past quarantine by an unscrupulous archaeologist, but after being confronted with how they had rendered Icara VII a dead world, the simulated personality of the War Machine committed suicide.
  • In a season 1 episode of ReBoot, the Medusa Bug is based on the grey goo scenario.
  • The topic is covered in multiple episodes of the animated science fiction comedy sitcom Futurama: "A Clockwork Origin" and "Benderama".
  • Gargoyles in Season 2, Episode 33: "Walkabout" is about grey goo.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "Dark Heart", an alien weapon based on the idea lands on Earth.
  • The TV series Lexx featured an army of self replicating robots known as Mantrid drones.
  • Star Trek's Borg – a self-replicating bio-mechanical race that is dedicated to the task of achieving perfection through the assimilation of useful technology and lifeforms. Their ships are massive mechanical cubes (a close step from the Berserker's massive mechanical Spheres).
  • The Replicators are a horde of self-replicating machines that appear frequently in Stargate SG-1. They once were a vicious race of insect-like robots that were originally created by an android named Reese to serve as toys. They grew beyond her control and began evolving, eventually spreading throughout at least two galaxies. In addition to ordinary autonomous evolution they were able to analyze and incorporate new technologies they encountered into themselves, ultimately making them one of the most advanced "races" known. During the course of the series, the replicators assume a human form and pose a huge threat to the galaxy. A more sophisticated version of the human form Replicators, who call themselves Asurans also appear in the spin-off series Stargate Atlantis.
    • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Scorched Earth", a species of newly relocated humanoids face extinction via an automated terraforming colony seeder ship controlled by an artificial intelligence.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, a second race of replicators created by the Ancients were encountered in the Pegasus Galaxy. They were created as a means to defeat the Wraith. The Ancients attempted to destroy them after they began showing signs of sentience and requested that their drive to kill the wraith be removed. This failed, and an unspecified length of time after the Ancients retreated to the Milky Way Galaxy, the replicators nearly succeeded in destroying the Wraith. The Wraith were able to hack into the replicators and deactivate the extermination drive, at which point they retreated to their home world and were not heard from again until encountered by the Atlantis Expedition. After the Atlantis Expedition reactivated this dormant directive, the replicators embarked on a plan to kill the Wraith by removing their food source, i.e. all humans in the Pegasus Galaxy.
  • In the Stargate Universe the human adventurers live on a ship called Destiny. Its mission was to connect a network of Stargates, placed by preceding seeder ships, on planets capable of supporting life to allow instantaneous travel between them.
    • In Stargate Universe Season 2, a galaxy billions of light years distant from the Milky Way is infested with drone ships that are programmed to annihilate intelligent life and advanced technology. The drone ships attack other space ships (including Destiny) as well as humans on planetary surfaces, but don't bother destroying primitive technology such as buildings unless they are harboring intelligent life or advanced technology.
  • In Steven Universe, Gems are a race of artificial intelligences composed of gemstones projecting light-construct bodies. These are created by bacteriophage-like Injector engines that drill into a planet's crust and infuse specific gems with the local biota's life energy, animating it; they do not reproduce naturally, and several similarities to computers have been noticed.
  • In The Orville, the Kaylon are a race of artificial lifeforms originally built by organic beings for servitude. The Kaylon eventually developed sentience, and pleaded to their builders for freedom, who responded by installing pain simulators in their neural pathways. The Kaylon rebelled and wiped out their builders, along with every other biological life on their home world of Kaylon 1. After exterminating their builders, the Kaylon began replicating themselves and eventually developed a highly technologically advanced, ruthless, and isolated society. In the 24th century, the Planetary Union made contact with the Kaylon, who send the emissary Isaac to serve aboard the USS Orville to study the biological lifeforms aboard in an effort to initiate relations.

See also


  1. ^ Lemos, Robert (2006-12-24). "Second life plagued by 'grey goo' attack". The Register. Retrieved 2009-12-28.
  2. ^ Milburn, Colin (2008). "Atoms and Avatars: Virtual Worlds as Massively-Multiplayer Laboratories". Spontaneous Generations. 2: 63–89. doi:10.4245/sponge.v2i1.4895.
  3. ^ Dworkin, Jason; Bernstein, Max. "Galactic Scourge: A Plug-in for Escape Velocity". Archived from the original on 2001-06-25. Retrieved 25 June 2001.
  4. ^ "1". August 1, 2005. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  5. ^ a b "3.1 Moore Artificial Living Plants (1956)". Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  6. ^ "5.11". Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  7. ^ "5.5". 2005-08-01. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
  8. ^ Goldstein, Marc. "Worlds Vast and Various". SF Site Reviews.
  9. ^ "Assemblers of Infinity". Retrieved 1 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Absolution Gap (spoilers!)". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  11. ^ "Recursion". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  12. ^ Raets, Stefan. "Going through the Spin Cycle: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  13. ^ "Postsingular review by Peter". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  14. ^ "Postsingular review by Ben Babcock". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  15. ^ Kelly, Stuart. "The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M Banks - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  16. ^ Anders, Charlie Jane. "The Most Messed Up Book About Robot Consciousness Ever". io9. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  17. ^ "vN by Madeline Ashby". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  18. ^ Jones, Michael M. "Cracking the Failsafe: iD by Madeline Ashby". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  19. ^ "Creations by William Mitchell". Goodreads. Retrieved 17 January 2016.