“The big question is, most certainly, how can such evolvable habitats be created bottom-up without star architects? I think the answer to that question can be suggested by changing its context. For instance, how can a custom personal computer be built without the benefit of a bunch of computer engineers? Well, we know the answer to that because people commonly build custom PCs ever day; PC components are designed to a set of common interface standards such that, no matter who manufactures them or where, affords them interoperability and skill-less assembly. You don’t need to be an engineer to build a PC. A child can be taught to do it in an hour or so. The engineering has been compartmentalized and encoded in the topology of the components. They can go together in a great many ways offering an endless variety of options, combinations, and physical configurations, but are more-or-less precluded by their discrete design from going together in functionally ‘wrong’ ways. We see this works every day. The most amazing thing about the contemporary personal computer is not that we now have so much computing power so cheap in such small packages. It’s that a child can take a bunch of parts, each made by a completely different company in a completely different place in the world, put them together in minutes into what is arguably the most complex and sophisticated machine humans have ever devised, and 9 times out of 10 this thing will boot up and run the first time you turn it on. That is the single-most amazing feat in the entire history of human industry, the hallmark of a second industrial revolution, and we completely take it for granted.