Machines at the Edge

Below is figure 1 from the Macklem paper I just promoted in the previous entry:

Now, I’m just using my intuition to think out loud here, but when it comes to answering my first question from the last post, I’ve put a red X to designate where I would place man-made machines and a green X to designate life’s molecular machines.  It would seem to me that man-made machines would be a little further from the edge, more toward the ‘stable’ end of the continuum.  As we have seen, life’s machines self-assemble, which means they must readily access the range of “fluctuations” to carry this out while man-made machines must be assembled with hands (or their proxies).  Any thoughts?

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7 responses to “Machines at the Edge

  1. Would it be fair to say man-made machines have gradually approached the green X over time?

    (Mortar and pestle, sapling rabbit trap, cotton gin, steam locomotive, 747, modern computer.)

    Didn’t you once say living cells look like the future of our own designs?

  2. Impressive. You just stole the next blog entry topic! ;)

    Yeah, I would say that the red X has been slowly moving toward the right.

  3. “…must be assembled by hands (or their proxies)….”

    And the IF…oh never mind. Get those remodeling projects done, will ya’?

  4. Designed objects, even simple mechanical devices, could fit anywhere on this curve.
    Crystals? A cinch. Right?
    A computer program that simulates chaotic weather patterns? Not a cinch. But doable. Done deed, in fact.

    In any case, is anyone going to question the idea that “life’s machines self-assemble”?

    I realize that may be the “mainstream” view, so maybe I should shut-up and accept it.

    But I don’t.

  5. Rock: Designed objects, even simple mechanical devices, could fit anywhere on this curve.
    Crystals? A cinch. Right?
    A computer program that simulates chaotic weather patterns? Not a cinch. But doable. Done deed, in fact.

    Human designs approach the green X from both sides of the curve.

  6. Designs and life forms are fact. The curve is fiction. Neither converges upon any point in this graph.

    They cover the graph (curve).

  7. Rock: Neither converges upon any point in this graph.

    True, there is no time axis on this graph. But I can imagine one with a time axis upon which we could see a convergence of design approaching life. From both ends.

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