4. Cellular Automata and Fractal Evolution

4. A. The Paradox of Self-Replicating Machines

In the 1940s John von Neumann became interested in synthesizing artificial living creatures. In particular, he was interested in this question
    Is machine self-reproduction possible, or is there some ineffible spark of life forever separating living from non-living?
The core of the problem was the notion that a machine must be given complete instructions for every action. So how is a machine to reproduce itself?
Here is the original problem, by some viewed as a barrier separating us from machines.
Here is von Neumann's solution, anticipating the mechanism by which DNA replicates itself.
Here is a hint of some recent developments in the ideas of machine reproduction and evolution.