Is a computer virus a form of life? | INFJ Forum

Is a computer virus a form of life?

Discussion in 'Computer Science' started by Satya, Sep 7, 2008.

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  1. Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    It replicates, it evolves, and it can even think, so can a computer virus be considered a form of life?
     
    #1 Satya, Sep 7, 2008
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2008
  2. Cognisant

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    Lacking any physical structure you could argue that it is both alive and doesn’t exist.

    However the mathematical algorithms used to make it "evolve" are limited and so are probably considered an active defence mechanism. They change its appearance to avoid being detected; the virus itself however is still programmed to follow the same actions.

    It's kinda sad that the closest thing to life that has been created is a malicious entity; does anyone else see this foreshadowing something?
     
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    Satya

    Satya C'est la vie
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    The day that monkeys rule is coming.Flashlight Monkey.gif
     
  4. Silently Honest

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    If they are I'm a horrible murderer.
     
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    Satya

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    There will be stories of the horrible atrocities that occurred in the quarantine camps of Norton, McAfee, and AVG. The genocide has been great, and much life has been lost, but the killers will be brought to justice!
     
  6. Shai Gar

    Shai Gar Guest

    Someone ought to start a pressure group on the behalf of the virus's
     
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    Satya

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    I hereby found PETV which stands for "People for the Ethical Treatment of Viruses". I will also being taking donations now.
     
  8. nonlinear

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    Generally normal viruses aren´t considered life, as they don´t have metabolism of their own. The same goes for computer viruses I think. There is no clear definition of life that everyone could agree on, but most do require more than just the code.

    I might agrue though that computer viruses do have a physical structure in the sense that no information exists without a physical representation. Or what do you think?
     
  9. Duty

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    A computer virus does not require the consumption of nutrients. It may "consume," but does not require such to survive.

    No, not a form of life. :)
     
  10. IndigoSensor

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    A virus does not tenically meet all of the criteria for life. You could even say that a virus is just a REALLY complex protein.

    A computer virus has even less of the criterias needed to meet the "life standard", so from a scientific point of view, no.

    This goes into the discussion of artifical intelligence, and weather you concider that type of thing "alive" or not, which falls under the realm of philosphy.

    Personally? I would not call a computer virus alive.
     
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  11. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    Philosophically, how do you even know that you, yourself are alive?
     
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  12. FC3S

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    A lifeform doesn't need necessarily be able to reproduce - as many lifeforms equipped for it are actually sterile. Now, a regular virus isn't a true cellular lifeform, it's based on a (protein?) that attacks the cellular structure of other lifeforms. I say it's a knockoff variant.

    A computer virus, is a program that exists within a program within a machine. That isn't a lifeform, it's a set of instructions that mimics a lifeform.
     
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  13. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    Scientificallt I would say that what is able to attain energy and has a role of some sort is alive. Through photosynthesis or feeding on the environment.

    Computerviruses can spread and replicate when in a computer, just like viruses in humans.
     
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  14. Duty

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    I think that can be rephrased to be more accurate:

    A lifeform is something that, as a species, can not conceivably survive without reproduction.


    This holds true of any living thing, and some non-living things (hence why there are other criteria). I'd say this holds true of a virus as well (while some other criteria may not). I'd say it is not true of a computer virus, as a computer virus can just sit on a harddrive in a confined area and won't die...it does not require reproduction to survive.
     
  15. Shai Gar

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    Because we ourselves give out the definition for life.
    http://www.una.edu/faculty/pgdavison/BI 101/Overview Fall 2004.htm

    1. Living Organisms Reproduce.
    2. Living Organisms are Composed of Chemicals.
    3. Living Organisms Acquire Materials and Energy.
    4. Living Organisms Sense & Respond to Environmental Stimuli.
    5. Living Organisms Have the Capacity to Mutate and genetic mutations are the fundamental basis of evolutionary change as driven by natural selection.
    6. Life exhibits organization at many levels.

    Given that even though we're unable to prove our own existence, we need to rely on the possible fantasy that we do. Given this possibility, we need to rely on the scientific definition for life. Which we fulfill.
     
  16. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    That is the problem right there, Words are solely expressions of ideas but are not real! For example: you can not touch the word 'flower' and you need the experience of the word in order to understand it. E.g Try to explain the colour red to a blind man.

    Our thoughts are made up of words, that are divided into fragmented bits and pieces whereas justified reality is undivided. Therefore the complex of problems lies in putting reality back into a whole, using thought.

    :)
     
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  17. Duty

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    You're confusing word types with word tokens. Word tokens are the actual, physical words themselves (whether written or vocalized), and those are what are made up by people. However, word types are the idea that is expressed. The TYPES don't at all seem to be fake or made up, although they are experienced in different ways by different individuals. The types are just expressed by made up tokens.

    So it's generally by types we understand language, and why we give it a certain meaning. We can explain red to a blind man using tokens, but because he has never experienced the type, he does not understand exactly what we're trying to convey.
     
  18. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    I'm sorry to dissapoint you but a blind man will never be able to understand what the term red refers to no matter how good adjectives are used. The same way will he not know light or dark if he has always been blind.
    It's not about made up or fake when it comes to words, it is that they set limitations on what we percieve and even feel.
     
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  19. IndigoSensor

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    This has become an argument of semantics... *gags profusely*!

    BTW: I agree with Pristinegirl.
     
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  20. Pristinegirl

    Pristinegirl Well-known member

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    I'm sorry to misslead the conversation Indigo I didn't mean to. *with hopes to cheer you up*
     
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