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I was reading Star Wars: The Old Republic: Fatal Alliance and there is a capsule which builds droids, taking materials from the area around it. I was wondering, is it truly possible to make a self-replicating droid? This capsule is not truly self-replicating because the droids it builds (hexes) are different to the capsule.

To clone itself, the droid would need to have a copy of its own physical components, how to make them, how to assemble them, and copies of all the code. Surely though, the code in the new droid would need a copy of its own code. Therefore, wouldn't the copy of the code also need a copy of the code inside it? with a copy of the code inside that? It's an endless paradox...

Is it therefore actually possible to make a truly self-replicating droid? is there a way around this problem, where you can copy all code from one droid over to the other, including copying whatever does the copying?

closed as off-topic by user14111, Chenmunka, Aegon, Skooba, Valorum Aug 1 '16 at 11:58

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  • Humans seem to manage it pretty well. – Adamant Aug 1 '16 at 11:02
  • my point is, there is an endless paradox of copied code. is there a way to avoid this? I know with organisms the Genes simply clone themselves. but this process itself is self-replicating. So how does that happen? – Aric Aug 1 '16 at 11:03
  • this article shows it is possible to build a copy, but it does not mention code. My question is whether you can run the copied machine, not just build it. – Aric Aug 1 '16 at 11:07
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To address the 'copy of a copy of a copy of the code' apparent paradox - the droid building a copy of itself doesn't have to contain a copy of its own code that also contains a copy of its own code; it can simply duplicate the code it is currently running in its entirety, including the code that does the duplicating.

EDIT: (for clarity)

When the droid attempts to duplicate a physical part of itself (e.g. a leg), it needs to either contain within itself a new leg or have access to enough materials to construct a leg, which is why the OP might think it needs a copy of its code to put into the new droid it has built, and why that code would need a copy if the new droid copy were to be capable of replicating itself. However, with code, it's possible to just duplicate its own existing, running code (from nothing and with no raw material consumed) and load it into the new droid.

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