Seed Factories are an idea being promoted by aerospace engineer Dani Eder as a solution to material scarcity. See also the official site here.
From the (an?) introduction page on Seed Factories:
The Seed Factory Project is an open-source collaboration to develop the concepts, technologies, and working examples of automated self-expanding production systems. A Seed Factory bootstraps itself from a starter set of core machines. It grows to any size you need bymaking parts, materials, and entire new machines. The machines can be copies of the starter set, larger versions, or different ones that enable new products. Design files and instructions are supplied for guiding the production process.
Seed Factories and The Machine sound very similar.