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Context: This takes place in a soft science, post apocalyptic world. The actual time is a WIP, but technology would be advanced, post nuclear age but not quite interstellar travel. The world itself has fantasy elements stemming from a form of Gaia's revenge: giant mushrooms, conductive crystal caverns, dire beasts, etc.

The androids themselves are near indistinguishable from humans, fueling themselves by creating their own biofuel and covered using an artificially grown cellulose for skin.

The inciting incident would be when the androids break away from their human handlers, but without humans to fix them, any injuries or damages would need to be repaired using whatever is on hand in this case: pre-apocalypse scrap and the natural world.

My question is: Can an android repair any broken limbs, joints, or wires using natural materials such as wood or conductive fluids?

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    $\begingroup$ Please clarify your specific problem or provide additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it's hard to tell exactly what you're asking. $\endgroup$
    – Community Bot
    Sep 16, 2023 at 3:24
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    $\begingroup$ What are androids made of, and what damage are they trying to repair? There's a considerable difference between, say, a steel frame, a hydraulic piston, and a 7nm printed circuit board... $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Sep 16, 2023 at 3:31
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence The specifics arent very clear, since im taking liberties with science, but the skeleton is a tungsten alloy, skin is a cellulose from plants, and the blood is used as a coolant to combat the internal structure using heat and preassure to turn organics into biofuel for a power source. The damage is mostly for limbs and stripped skin revealing wires, more serious damage would be to the circuits and fine motor skills. Damage to the head or internal press would be likely irreparable. $\endgroup$
    – Saxionkin
    Sep 16, 2023 at 5:12
  • $\begingroup$ Superglue works for 90% of the issues $\endgroup$
    – Kilisi
    Sep 16, 2023 at 11:12
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    $\begingroup$ How much can these androids repair themselves? And is there a reason that they can only live in natural areas? Have those nasty humans in this post-apocalyptic age again taken over anything they could possibly use to their advantage, and all former urban and industrial areas are once again occupied, leaving no ruins for androids? (Not really important for this question, as your story can be about a small 'tribe' of androids, right after their segregation, but still something to think about :) $\endgroup$
    – Joachim
    Sep 16, 2023 at 11:55

2 Answers 2

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What you call an 'android' seems to be a robot with biological components.

  • Your androids can be damaged. That almost goes without saying. They can also be repaired. That is not 'of course' -- a microchip does not get repaired, it gets replaced.
  • Repairing a machine takes skills, tools, and parts. In the end, skills and tools can recreate missing parts, even if that makes the tools rather complicated. If you need to 'repair' a microchip, you need a chip fab and ultimately an industrial base including millions of workers.
  • People in the real world are really excited about AI right now, but looking at the details, AI are very clever parrots. They babble without a true understanding of the question and answer. Your androids must be better than that if they are to 'rebel' effectively. So they might have the skills.

Can they repair themselves with 'pre-apocalyptic scrap?' Probably not. Unless they can rework the scrap to modern specs. Then it is not 'pre-apocalyptic scrap' any more.

For comparison, think of people repairing a car with post-apocalyptic resources. If the window gets broken, they can probably weld of screw a grating in place. Diminished function, better than nothing. If a tire gets damaged, they may be able to patch it, but ultimately rubber gets brittle and there is nothing they can do. A wooden wheel just won't work properly. And a cylinder head? That needs to fit, or nothing goes.

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If the androids are collectively a Von Neumann machine, they ought to be able to generate and fit their own spare parts. Maybe only a large community of androids would be able to make all their parts; a smaller group might have a small cache of their harder-to-build parts.

We can repair ourselves to some extent because we have evolved to do this. If someone sets a broken bone, the parts will grow back together in a month or so. However, imagine how much easier it would be if we could swap out the broken leg for a good one; and then mend the broken leg or cannibalise it for scraps.

I think anything that was originally designed rather than evolved would inherit a strategy for repair and replacement of interchangeable parts, and it would prefer this to our healing mechanisms.

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