W. Arthur, Wolfgang Polak

Paper #: 04-12-042

New technologies are constructed from technologies that previously exist, and in turn these new technologies offer themselves as possible components---building blocks---for the construction of further new technologies. Thus in 1912 the amplifier circuit was constructed from the already existing triode vacuum tube in combination with other circuit components. It in turn made possible the oscillator and the heterodyne mixer; which together with other standard components made possible continuous-wave radio transmission. The collective of technology in this way forms a network of elements where novel elements are created from existing ones and where more complicated elements evolve from simpler ones. We model this phenomenon of technology creating itself by setting up an artificial system in which new elements (logic circuits) build themselves from simpler existing elements, and we study the properties of the resulting build-out.