-> ''[[IHaveManyNames Von Neumann probes, self-replicating machines, terraformers]], Xenon, even [[EnemyToAllLivingThings the enemy of god]]. But at its core, it was really only one thing; artificial general intelligence, mechanical minds capable of making themselves even more intelligent, and then again, and again, recursively forever.''
-->--''[[Videogame/{{X}} X3: Terran Conflict]]''

Life makes life, [[PregnancyTropes as we all know]]. In other cases, [[CreatingLife life makes artificial life]]. This trope, however, continues that cycle as those artificial lifeforms make their own artificial lifeforms.

There's a variation where the artificial lifeform ([[OrganicTechnology usually]] a machine) is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Self-replicating_machine self-replicating]], a... SelfReplicatingMachine, if you will. It's usually the domain of {{Nanobots}} everywhere, [[GreyGoo which is what makes them so dangerous]].

And just when you thought TurnedAgainstTheirMasters was an exclusive Human/Robot trope, this may also lead too RobotsEnslavingRobots.

May show MechanicalEvolution or CloneDegeneration. See also, CreatingLife.

Has nothing to do with a RecursiveReality or RecursiveFanfiction.


[[AC:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* [[MadScientist Doctor]] [[BigBad Jail Scaglietti]] of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'', creator of the various [[SuperSoldier Artificial Mages]] and Combat {{Cyborg}}s in the series, is eventually revealed to be an ArtificialHuman himself [[spoiler:[[GovernmentConspiracy who was created by the very founders of the]] [[TheFederation Time-Space Administration Bureau]]]]

* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', the plane of Mirrodin and its inhabitants were created by the [[PhysicalGod Planeswalker]] [[{{Golem}} Karn]], who in turn was created by the [[PhysicalGod Planeswalker]] Urza.

* In the ''MarvelUniverse'', the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Celestials]] created the Kree, who in turn created TheInhumans.

* ''{{Multiplicity}}'': Overworked guy creates clone to do his work for him. Overworked clone creates clone...
* The android girl (called synthetics) in ''Film/AlienResurrection'' is from a line of synthetics designed by synthetics rather than humans.
* ''{{Film/Screamers}}'': See ''Second Variety'' below.
* ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'': Skynet builds and designs new Terminators and other war machines.

* The plot of ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' revolves around golems creating [[spoiler: a "king" golem. It doesn't go so well.]]
* The eponymous (and autonomous) spaceships of Creator/FredSaberhagen's ''Literature/{{Berserker}}'' series.
* The Hypotheticals from Creator/RobertCharlesWilson's novels ''Spin'' and ''Axis'' are of the Von Neumann type seen below
* The short story ''Second Variety'' by Creator/PhilipKDick has a handful of US Marines find out what has been happening since they gave the deadly robots built to fight off the new URSS the capability to reproduce simply because they were so dangerous nobody wanted to work on them anymore. It's not pleasant.
** The story was adapted into the movie ''{{Film/Screamers}}''
* The plot of ''Von Neumann's War'', a military SF novel by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor, Earth is attacked by Von Neumann devices, which are self replicating robots.
* A later story arc in ''TheHistoryOfTheGalaxy'' series involves an invasion of known space by self-replicating machines created long ago by a race only starting to explore the galaxy as automated explorers and colony creators. Unfortunately, when the machines returned centuries later, the found newer machines. Since their programming included adaptability to external threats, they proceeded to destroy the newer machines and their creators. They made many copies of themselves and continue their primary task of exploration. However, if they meet an unknown race, they automatically treat it as an enemy.
* UrExample: Long before the VonNeumannMachine concept appeared in fiction, William Paley's ''Natural Theology'' (1802) posited a hypothetical 'watch' that could make copies of itself, as part of a lengthy theological argument claiming proof of God.
* Madeline Ashby's ''Machine Dynasty'' series has von Neumann androids who eat plastics, metals, and e-waste to grow and give birth to robot babies. Some of them marry humans and raise children together.

* There's a ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' example, when the android Data creates its own android offspring, Lal.
* Cylons in ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Classic}}.'' It didn't turn out well for them, either.
* The imaginatively-named Replicators of ''Series/StargateSG1''.

* In ''CalvinAndHobbes'', Calvin's duplicate begins making his own duplicates. HilarityEnsues.

* In StarControl2, the Slylandro Probe is a faultily-programmed self-replicating robot spaceship which will first greet your ship in a friendly manner... then try to break it up for parts to make more probes.
* In the backstory of the ''VideoGame/{{X}}-Universe'' series Earth built several fleets of self-replicating, artificially intelligent terraforming drones (sometimes described as "Von Neumann machines" in the literature and the opening cinematic of ''X3: Terran Conflict''). [[AIIsACrapshoot Things went pear-shaped]] due to a faulty (or deliberately sabotaged; [[DependingOnTheWriter reports vary]]) software update, most of Earth's colonies were destroyed, and Earth nearly so. The surviving bugged drones evolved into the games' Xenon, which seek to "[[ColonyDrop terraform]]" all biological life out of existence.

* A ''SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal'' strip shows a couple of scientists coming to the conclusion that we are in a simulated reality. The last panel has a pair of alien scientists celebrating that our universe broke the record for how long it took a simulated reality to moon them.
* ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'s'' Mozart Boids (robot birds) were made by a group of sapient robots. And [[spoiler: we now know that Dr. Bowman, the creator of the sentient robot's brain design, is an uplifted chimp]]
* Creator/StanislawLem's "constructors" (Mortal Engines ([[MortalEngines not that one]]), ''Literature/TheCyberiad'').
* The Dingbots from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' can create other Dingbots, but each successive generation is stupider and weaker. There are only about three originals ("Queenie Dingbot", "Prime A", and "Prime B") from which the best can be made directly.
* Similarly, in ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' the {{golem}}s and then robots continued manufacturing more of themselves after their creator's death. Because many of his [[SuperPrototype initial designs]] were beyond their understanding, subsequent generations were greatly simplified.
* Acibek in ''DominicDeegan: Oracle For Hire'' created his replacement before his HeroicSacrifice.
* In ''{{Spacetrawler}}'', this is how the Mihrrgoots mastered [[{{Nanomachines}} nanotechnology]].
-->'''King:''' For technology we simply build robots which build smaller robots which build smaller robots... and on until they can build machinery as tiny as we need.

* The ''Multiplicity'' example is [[{{Pun}} replicated]] in a ''[[TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' HalloweenEpisode, parodying the former.
* A good one from ''{{Transformers}}'' Generation One. Wheeljack creates the Dinobots from scratch. Years later Grimlock, leader of the Dinobots created the Technobots from scratch. Arguably all of the Transformers count since they were given life by Vector Sigma, a computer, and built by the Quintessons. Not sure if they're fully machine though.

* The entire idea behind TheSingularity is that a chain of self-replication among machines of super-human computational ability will render the world completely unrecognizable.
* The entire premise behind the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Von_Neumann_machine Von Neumann machines.]]
* It's not quite self-replication, but the [[http://reprap.org/wiki/RepRap RepRap]] is a 3D printer, which can construct (among other things) almost all the parts needed to build another [=RepRap=].