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"I realized there was a heavy-duty change coming in biology, and I could write a really compelling novel about catastrophic evolution, punctuated equilibrium."
- Greg Bear

Autonomic Plow  
  A set of farm implements able to combine and perform as a weapon.  

On the miniature TV screen Bunny Hentman was doing an act in which he played a German industrialist; wearing a blue, double-breasted suit, he was explaining to his board of directors how the new autonomic plows which their cartels were producing could be used for war. Four plows would guide themselves, upon news of hostilities, into a single unit; the single unit was not a larger plow, but a missile-launcher.
From Clans of the Alphane Moon, by Philip K. Dick.
Published by Ace Books in 1964
Additional resources -

Delicious sarcasm from PKD; it derives from a passage in Isaiah:

They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

In this case, peaceful plows become weapons.

The United States government promoted Operation Plowshare starting in 1962, which was an attempt to use nuclear explosives for excavation. Take a look at the Operation Plowshare video shown below; 12 million tons of earth were displaced, creating a crater 320 feet deep by 1280 feet wide.

Dick himself wrote about a world in which competing nations maintained a balance of power by thinking of an offensive weapon and then immediately "plowshare" them into consumer goods (see The Zap Gun).

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Clans of the Alphane Moon
  More Ideas and Technology by Philip K. Dick
  Tech news articles related to Clans of the Alphane Moon
  Tech news articles related to works by Philip K. Dick

Autonomic Plow-related news articles:
  - Grapevine Pruning Robot

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