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"SF is a controlled way to think and dream about the future."
- Gregory Benford

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)

Compare to the automatic cultivators from Piracy Preferred (1930) by John W. Campbell, the robot farmer from The Turning Wheel (1954) by Philip K. Dick, the field minder from Who Can Replace A Man (1963) by Brian Aldiss, the Robomule from Bill the Galactic Hero (1965) by Harry Harrison, the self-guided tractor from At the Bottom of a Hole (1966) by Larry Niven, the robot crab from Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson and the agricultural robot pest controller from Runaway (1985) by Michael Crichton.

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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
  - John Deere Self-Driving Tractor
  - Self-Driving Tractors From China Plan Ahead

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Microscopic Robots On The March!
MOFLIN AI Robot - Yes You Can Have A Tribble

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