Are Self-Replicating Computers the Future?

Computers have been at the forefront of our lives for decades now. While before they were mostly used in schools and offices, computers have welded themselves to the very core of our daily lives – think about smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, and all the other appliance or gadgets you have at home or even in your pocket or bag. You start wondering how can technology still push the limits and what is waiting for us in the years to come. Hard Drive Recovery Group engineers wonder the same thing!

We all know that nothing is impossible in this world. Many great inventions have been born out of a little innovation but with a lot of brains, talents, and support. Considering what the computing world has to offer now, we are pretty sure our minds will be blown away at what experts in the field can come up with. Oxford University’s Professor Nick Bostrom had something to say about computer superintelligence in an article published in the sputniknews.com.

“So think of all the crazy technologies that you could have imagined maybe humans could have developed in the fullness of time: cures for aging, space colonization, self-replicating nanobots or the uploading of minds into computers – all kinds of science fiction-y stuff that’s nevertheless consistent with the laws of physics. All of this superintelligence could develop, and possibly quite rapidly.”

And this is made possible with the use of DNA. Computers will be using DNA instead of traditional silicon for a number of reasons – it is small, stable and replicates quickly. It means that DNA-based computers can handle multiple calculations at the same time.

“Imagine a computer is searching a maze and comes to a choice point, one path leading left, the other right,” Professor Ross D. King told Popular Mechanics. “Electronic computers need to choose which path to follow first. But our new computer doesn’t need to choose, for it can replicate itself and follow both paths at the same time, thus finding the answer faster.”

University of Manchester researchers tested this and are the first to execute this concept, which is definitely pretty neat. The university is also connected with Alan Turing, the Father of Computer Science, and made it to the history books after their creation of the first ever stored memory electronic computer – and is noted in the story from wccftech.com.

“Scientists at the University of Manchester may have just provided an amazing breakthrough for computing technology. They have developed a computer which is makes use of DNA for its calculations. The DNA’s self-replicating ability is what will make computing a lot more efficient in the future. Yes, DNA is seen mostly as the code responsible for generating life. But it comes as no surprise, that it may be able to perform other tasks as well.”

 “The research team was led by Professor Ross D.King. The theory of DNA-programmed computers was proposed at first in 1994, as a way to solve problems a lot faster than normal computers. Imagine a computer is searching a maze and comes to a choice point, one path leading left, the other right,” Professor Ross D. King told Popular Mechanics.

 “Electronic computers need to choose which path to follow first. But our new computer doesn’t need to choose, for it can replicate itself and follow both paths at the same time, thus finding the answer faster.”

The Beginning of the End?

The use of DNA can possibly make this dream of a fully functioning, as well as amazingly fast quantum computer a reality. An article from sciencealert.com gives us an idea how it works.

“Called a nondeterministic universal Turing machine (NUTM), it’s predicted that the technology could execute all possible algorithms at once by taking advantage of DNA’s ability to replicate almost perfect copies of itself over billions of years.”

Just the thought of this artificial super-intelligence is mind boggling. It’s like a plot to a popular Hollywood movie that went wrong – machines vs. humans. Except the likelihood, as with any movie, is that the humans will lose. Whether or not this becomes a reality years from now, the question is, are we ready for something that could possibly wipe out our very existence on this planet? Are we also responsible for our own undoing? We may not know for now but with the rate things are going today, this can become our reality within our lifetime. For now, in case your hard drive breaks down because you do not have a super computer in your hands just yet, there are still data recovery tools you can use to salvage and retrieve lost and important files.

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