Neumanns are sophont self-replicating autonomous machines, usually residents of interplanetary or even interstellar space.
Though most varieties of vec in the Current Era have onboard neumann capability and may also be called neumanns, the term 'neumann' has more typically been used to refer to neumann-capable vecs who work in space. Often these space-borne vecs are employed for exploration or military service in regions far removed from the nearest stargate. Under the right conditions, a neumann is able to build a working copy of itself using materials in its environment. In the case of neumanns active in interplanetary space these resources are typically asteroids, comets, or small moonlets. Use of Neumanns is often discouraged by centralists because of their tendency to become self-sentient and act in unpredictable ways, even on occasion founding entire clades and empires. However neumanns are too valuable in opening up the frontier and in the occasional war so they continue to be used. It is impossible to estimate accurately the number of turingrade or superturing neumanns, motherships, daughterships, turingrade and higher drones, and macroscale self-replicators of various kinds, but given their fecundity and the fact that they are concentrated in regions of the Periphery that often lack census data they account for a larger proportion of the sophonts in the Terragen Sphere than most residents of the Civilized Galaxy realize.
In certain cases the self-replicating devices in a swarm are not individually sentient, but become sentient or sophont when they reach a certain critical population by the formation of a hive mind. This process of toposophic growth may continue until the swarm becomes transapient.
Most transapient entities are capable of self-replication, although the largest archailects are too large and distributed too widely to replicate readily.
- Artificials - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
generic term for any sophont of a non-biological nature [noun]
- Early Vec and Neumann Development - Text by Steve Bowers
Intelligent robots in the Interplanetary Age.
- Golden Submersibles, The - Text by Steve Bowers
Submersible neumanns of Guanche.
- M-Life - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Machinic non-biological life as seen in neumanns, hylonanecologies, and other inorganic organisms or ecologies. In practise M-life, B-life and A-Life tend to merge, especially because of the ubiquity of biotech and bionanotech.
- Nauri - Text by M. Alan Kazlev, amended slightly by Steve Bowers
Centauri neumann clade.
- PackRat Spores, AKA '____' Spores - Text by Daniel Eliot Boese
A multi-instance clade of aioid dividuals who attempt to spread themselves by launching "spore" copies to other star-systems.
- Von Neumann Probe - Text by Anders Sandberg in his Transhuman Terminology
A Von Neumann Machine able to move over interstellar or interplanetary distances and to utilize local materials to build new copies of itself. Such probes are used to set up new colonies, perform megascale engineering or explore the universe (see the Far Edge Party).
- von Neumann Self-Replicating Systems - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Self-replicating autonomous machines, mainly referring to those working in space, especially exploring regions too remote to be easily reached by organics.