< Life

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Assuming we get arount to designing a machine that is somehow able to make a copy of itself, allowing for imperfections, would we consider it to be alive? --Seb P.S. I think there's going to be quite some action in this area...

Oh yes, there will be...
As to the question, since molecular biology effectively reduced cells to machines, I think we should not become carbon-chauvinists over the idea of self-replicating machines. Mentioning that, we should probably mention this "Life simulation" (you know the one, you can look at it for hours building patterns;). --Magnus Manske
Think it would be reasonable for me to insert a link to nanotechnology and clanking replicator? I consider those to be alive (well, nanotech isn't by _definition_ a self-replicating system, but it's usually assumed as such), but I wouldn't want to go too far out on the fringe before the more conventional parts of life's article get filled in first :) -BD

I know reproduction is usually at the forefront in textbooks, but mules are definitely alive in my book, and some comment on that short-coming might be made. On the original wiki we settled on homeostasis the most likely defining characteristic, since it doesn't have any real counter-examples, but is somewhat vague.