Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution.

Книга Computer Viruses, Artificial Life and Evolution. 2019-07-29

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Author: Mark A. Ludwig

Year: 1993
Pages: 383
File format: PDF
Language: English
ISBN: 0-929408-07-1

Computer viruses are autonomous self-reproducing agents. They infect other computers just like viruses and parasites in the biological world do. Computer viruses are a form of artificial life. Mark Ludwig claims computer viruses are the only artificial life forms in the wild of which one can claim that their environments (operating systems) are not specially constructed to let them work. Therefore, naturally occurring as well as specially constructed computer viruses are the ideal objects to study the feasibility of computer virus evolution without philosophical or religious bias. Above that, they are easier to study and with more exact methods than real life. He finds that computer viruses can exhibit Darwinian evolution.

He uses the results to evaluate real-life biological evolution and especially neo-Darwinism. Experimental and theoretical evolutionary biology are in a abysmal state because they are not predictive. The problem of the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution and the claims of the Artificial Life community is that both ignore the role of intelligence and information injection. Darwinian evolution is not a creative process: it does not create information; it only reacts to environmental selection, which is the origin of the information. So evolution is only a reactive force. Ludwig suspects that the environment (laws of nature) is engineered to make life and evolution possible. Ludwig is also interested in the origin of life question.

He organised a contest to write the smallest possible functional self-replicating computer virus and concluded there is an absolute minimum size. He concludes from the minimum size that random processes inside a computer cannot create the smallest virus; even then such a virus could be an evolutionary dead end. All viruses we know about cannot arise by random processes, so must be intelligently designed by people. The same improbabilities apply to the spontaneous origin of a self-replicating molecule capable of progressive evolution.