I recently read a most remarkable report -- What if a virus infected a virus? 'Frankenware' spotted by security firm. And here they mean computer viruses. Two different computer viruses, each by a different programmer coding unaware of the other, getting tangled up amongst the bits and bytes of silicon chips and coming up with something new, unintended, unimagined even. Evolution in the machine. This unplanned borrowing of bits of code reflects a comparatively recently discovered aspect of organic evolutionary biology, wherein bits of DNA may be transferred from one organism to another, creating something new, perhaps some piece of coding which remains dormant until a moment arises which turns out to suit it utterly.

But then we come to this -- 'Frankenstein' virus could assemble itself from app snippets. (My these folks do love the Frankenstein metaphor). This model for a next generation virus intentionally engages in assembly activities, sneaking onto your computer by being really tiny and innocuous, and intentionally taking bits of code from existing programs which are supposed to be harmless -- your browser, your word processor, your music shuffler, and the like, and building from them a monster capable of doing damage, undetected until it's too late. And because different people have different setups on their computers, the monster would be different each time.

And put these tendencies on a collision course, and you may get a completely unplanned and unanticipated development, a monster already in the system which gets rewritten by other monsters seeking to build something familiar, but creating instead a new kind of monster, an ever-changing invader, a thing capable of invading a system and using bits of that system to build a distribution system for further replication of an infinite array of slightly different versions of itself. In short, a computer virus that acts like true evolved and evolving viruses in the wild. Forget antivirus programs. Future computers are going to need immune systems with their own ability to generate antibodies.

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