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Computer Viruses: the Inevitability of Evolution?

Paul-Michael Agapow
First National Complexity Conference, Australian National University, Canberra, December 1992
December 1992

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In recent years computer viruses have received much attention although their theoretical aspects have been neglected. One such aspect is the possibility of viruses as life, with the attendant characteristics of terrestrial life forms including evolution. Where this particular idea has been previously considered, it has been judged highly improbable. The author disagrees and argues that viral evolution may not only be possible but inevitable. After an introduction to the biology of computer viruses evidence of viral evolution will be presented as well as examples of how current and future trends in computing could lead to the emergence of sophisticated and novel entities. Finally the author speculates on the consequences of this.

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