Von Neumann Machine

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A Von Neumann Machine, named for Hungarian physicist John von Neumann, is a type of robot proposed as a method for interstellar exploration. Such a robot is equipped and programmed to gather and process raw materials and use them to build exact duplicates of itself. Such machines will attempt to replicate themselves exponentially, to the limits of available raw materials and energy.

Von Neumann Machines in science fiction

Von Neumann Machines are usually depicted as antagonists in science fiction. Self-replicating robots are by their very nature compelled to consume everything they can to make additional robots, a fact which inevitably brings them into conflict with other entities. Intelligent Von Neumann machines are particularly dangerous.

  • Replicators from Stargate
  • The Titular Berzerkers from Fred Saberhagen's Berzerkers series
  • Slylandro Probes from Star Control-II
  • The Dark Heart (DCAU)
  • The Goo from Grey Goo