The Artificial Intelligence revolution is in full swing, with Elon Musk and other bold inventors proudly proclaiming that Neuralink and other interfaces could be here sooner than later.
Man and machine could be in the process of merging, and it appears as if there is no stopping this robotic revolution.
Warnings have also been issued that many of society’s most common and well paying jobs could be replaced by robots some time in the next decade.
To put it mildly, the technology is evolving at a rate unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetimes, meaning a full-scale societal change could be on the way.
Meanwhile, scientists have developed a type of robot that can do something no one saw coming. These tiny little miracles of modern science are said to be the “first-ever, self-replicating robots” and they were developed from the heart and skin cells of a living organism.
Information on the controversial new beings was disseminated via a press release from the Wyss Institute, and social media commentary on their purpose and role in our modern human world has been fierce over the past few weeks.
Xenobots are The World’s First Self-Replicating Robots
These tiny organisms were assembled from cells taken from the African clawed frog, a creature commonly sold as pets in the United States and worldwide.
The so-called “Xenobots’ are can move on their own for “about a week” before running out of energy. They are said to be self-healing and break down naturally over time.
First unveiled in 2020, they were revealed by scientists from the University of Vermont, Tufts University and Harvard University’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.
They represent a “new type of biological reproduction different from any other known animal or plant species,” according to a press release published by the Institute.
“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,” said Douglas Blackiston, Ph.D., who contributed to the study.
These novel organisms could have many uses in due time. They could first be used in the medical field.
“If we knew how to tell collections of cells to do what we wanted them to do, ultimately, that’s regenerative medicine—that’s the solution to traumatic injury, birth defects, cancer, and aging,” Michael Levin, Ph.D., who helped lead the research.
“All of these different problems are here because we don’t know how to predict and control what groups of cells are going to build. Xenobots are a new platform for teaching us.”
Say hello to the next generation of #Xenobots
— University of Vermont (@uvmvermont) November 29, 2021
Shaped like the letter “C,” the mini-bots are also able to work together in groups, and reproduce in a truly bizarre way like something out of a science fiction movie.
Tiny Robot Blobs Reproduce in a Totally Bizarre Way
The blobs are able to reproduce by “collecting and compressing loose stem cells together into piles” that can mature into offspring, rather than through coitus (sexual intercourse).
The process has been dubbed “kinetic replication” by scientists. It had never been seen before in whole cells or organisms according to Josh Bongard, a computer science professor and robotics expert at the University of Vermont and a co-leader of the study.
He said that scientists are still figuring out exactly what the Xenobots could be used for in the near future, but the potential of these robot blobs is enormous.
“Most people think of robots as made of metals and ceramics, but it’s not so much what a robot is made from but what it does, which is act on its own on behalf of people,” he added.