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"If we're going to be consistent and advocate freedom of speech we have to advocate freedom of encrypted speech too. The genie is out of the bottle, cryptologically."
- Neal Stephenson

Conscious Farm Machines  
  Farm machinery that worked on their own.  

In front of me, everything seemed alive; the huge plow, which had been standing near by the house without my having observed it in the night, seemed to shake itself, turn around, swung its arms, creaked - and began to move back southward whence it and we came, tearing up the vegetation, ploughing the ground beneath the wrenched-out plants and shrubs.

All around me were machines, busily at work, machines that threshed and winnowed grain... A picture of machines and no man to control or watch them!

Machines that seemingly with full consciousness walked out into the fields to do their daily work. And even now there was no living being among them save myself... Had these machines in some incredible fashion been provided with brains?

From The Hidden Colony, by Otfrid von Hanstein.
Published by Thrilling Wonder Stories in 1935
Additional resources -

Here's a quick picture, as shown in the original magazine story:


(Conscious autonomous farm robot)

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Hidden Colony
  More Ideas and Technology by Otfrid von Hanstein
  Tech news articles related to The Hidden Colony
  Tech news articles related to works by Otfrid von Hanstein

Conscious Farm Machines-related news articles:
  - Fully Automated Farm Iron Ox Hydroponics

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