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Stephen Hawking on Viruses


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#1
Road Runner

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I think computer viruses should count as life. I think it says
something about human nature that the only form of life we have
created so far is purely destructive. We've created life in our own
image.
- Stephen Hawking


I hope this isn't too "political" for our terms of use.

I just found it an interesting quote.
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#2
FNP

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Interesting.

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.

Executes. Ironic.
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#3
Tripcode

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Hawking is doing it wrong.
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#4
dsenette

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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.
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#5
SupeR GeekiN CognitO

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I think it says something about human nature that the only form of life we have
created so far is purely destructive.

It isn't the only form of life we've created anymore...well,
sort of. Have a look for yourself.

If you want some more (totally stimulating :) ) information, watch this.



:) SGC :)
Hawking has mad ninja skills!!!
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#6
Troy

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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.

How do they die (apart from our great malware staff)?

Edited by Troy, 03 June 2010 - 10:19 PM.

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#7
dsenette

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well, people kill them, or they kill their host, or through the natural progression of software their code gets jacked up.
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#8
FNP

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i guess i was looking at it from a biological perspective. dsenette makes a very good point- if we assume that life does not necessarily have to be organic. but life- all life- as we know it is organic. biological. when man can create biological life... well, then we'll have a whole other series of problems on our hands.

Edited by FNP, 04 June 2010 - 11:32 AM.

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