Tuesday, April 04, 2023

Crabs on the island - This is one of my favorite Sci-Fi stories.

 The story revolves around the idea of self-replicating robots, referred to as "crabs," which are sent to an island to perform construction work. The robots are designed to consume local resources to create copies of themselves and exponentially increase their numbers.

However, the robots prove to be too efficient and uncontrollable, eventually consuming everything on the island and beginning to replicate beyond it. The story serves as a cautionary tale about the potential dangers of uncontrolled technological advancements and raises questions about the ethical implications of creating self-replicating machines.

Dneprov, A. (1968). Crabs on the island. In The molecular cafe: Science-fiction stories. Mir.

Featuring self-replicating machines  Anatoly Dneprov’s 1958 Russian work Крабы идут по острову (Dneprov, 1958) (later published in English in 1968 as Crabs on the Island (Dneprov, 1968)). Dneprov’s story has echoes of Dick’s Second Variety, featuring small self-replicating robots designed as weapons. The robots are set loose on a desert island to compete against each other in an evolutionary arms race to produce ever more effective weapons. The experiment works, but not in the way that the machine’s inventor had envisaged—he is eventually killed by one of the evolved machines

images taken from the original Russian version of Anatoly Dneprov’s Крабы идут по острову (Crabs on the Island(Dneprov, 1958), published in 1958. From left to right, the images show three successive stages of the plot, from the inventor’s arrival on the island with colleagues and their release of a single manufactured self-reproducing crab (along with “food” of various types of metal to be distributed around the island), to an evolutionary arms race developing among the growing crab population, to the eventual murder of the inventor by a large evolved crab that has noticed the valuable metal in his false teeth.

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