I have a story I'm working on where a robot is in a meditative state for thousands of years. However, I realize that with the current technologies we have today I'm not sure if a robot's physical body could even last that long. The setting of this story does take place in the future so there could be a development of sturdy new materials, but I just want to make sure that this concept is still plausible with today's tech. I'm interested to hear people's take on this... note that in this story, the robot is isolated in a cave (maybe that helps?).

EDIT: The robot will have a humanoid body, which means it will be made from materials that look like flesh. I'm not married to any particular materials, but since the robot will have "true" AI, I figure its mechanics will be rather complex.

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    $\begingroup$ I be vouching that this question is too broad... You might want to ask for... maybe a build for you robot, or mech, to last for a thousand years rather than asking if a robot can make it to a thousand years, I may also suggest that you might use current technologies that are available today rather than saying "the story takes place in the future" because we all know that the best material to build anything in a story that takes place in the future is 'handwavium' $\endgroup$
    – Mr.J
    Feb 8, 2019 at 23:44
  • $\begingroup$ You may want to question the term robot. When you start talking about things that persist for thousands of years while meditating, you may find that it's more accurate to think of it as a living thing which repairs itself as our bodies do, but roughly 100x better. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Feb 9, 2019 at 1:15
  • $\begingroup$ Your question also asks us to determine something about this robot. You don't give us any criteria for making the determination. In order to determine, we'd need to know many things about the robot (what it's made of, how it's being powered, etc.) Right now it's in the VTC queue: this makes it a splendid opportunity for you to edit, clarify, rework and in general come up with a better written question! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Feb 9, 2019 at 2:58
  • $\begingroup$ Well ... if Marvin is your benchmark, brain the size of a planet etc, he lasted for three times the lifespan of the universe (got lost twice at the big bang burger bar and retrieved for more improbable adventures), and all of his parts were replaced except the diodes in his left side. $\endgroup$
    – pojo-guy
    Feb 10, 2019 at 21:14

1 Answer 1


This has a lot to do with how smart your robot — or those who stored the robot — are.

the Dead Sea Scrolls, made of leather and papyrus, survived nearly 2,000 years in clay jars because (basically) they were in a dry, non-reactive location. The jars kept the critters out and the desert kept the humidity out. But there was decay...

... But you're dealing with an automaton. Your technology is better. Your circumstances can be better.

My point is, how you've packaged the robot for storage determines whether or not your robot will stand the test of time. Are you using something like magnetic floppy or hard drives? They won't last. Solid state? That might last. Optical? It might last (the plastic used in optical disks would need to be stored very flat or gravity over that period of time might deform them).

This, of course, assumes that we have no better tech to deal with than what we have today — which is unlikely since we don't have independent automatons today. So I'm voting that if the robot could intrinsically last 1,000 years in normal operation, it'll last 1,000 years in storage.

So, pack him in an hermetically-sealed box with humidity control and you can story him beneath Niagra Falls for a millennium. Or wrap him in plastic wrap in a cave in the Sonoran Desert. Either one would be believable.

However! If your robot can't last 1,000 years in normal operation, then what is it about the robot that will need to be replaced to make it operational again? The power source? Motors/pneumatics/hydraulics? A lube job? One basic rule of engineering is the more complex the design the more complex the maintenance (generally speaking). Your story can always declare the robot's survival to be so and who would we be to say you're wrong? But if you want something with a taste of realism, you'll need whomever finds the robot to fix something.


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