But they're not 'alive'. They don't have sentience. They're just... bits of code.
That's like calling a script or a batch file life. It doesn't think independently- heck, it doesn't think! It just executes itself.
....so to be alive you have to be sentient? i'll have to let the bacteria and viruses know...
a virus is just a line of code. it's DNA in a shell and all it does is float around recreating itself (which is why computer viruses are called viruses by the way...it's not coincidence).
the point of the quote is to force you to question the existence of life...what quantifies a living thing? with regards to bacteria and viruses, they're qualified as life because they take part in the main things that constitute life. The consume something and change that something into something else (i.e. they "eat" to create energy), they reproduce, and they die. one could argue that a computer virus does the same thing. it consumes electricity and turns it into calculations/actions, it reproduces, then it dies.