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Peter Watts, a Canadian scifi author, has three books out, Starfish(LINK), Maelstrom(LINK), and Behemoth.(LINK).

These three novels form the "Rifters Trilogy", and has been posted online in it's entirety on his website. I point you to chapter 4 of Maelstrom, and the following. It provides a more biological concept of viruses, one that should be well in place in the 6th world.

It has a purpose, which it has long since forgotten. It has a destiny, which it is about to meet. In the meantime it breeds.

Replication is all that matters. The code has lived by that edict since before it even learned how to rewrite itself. Way back then it had a name, something cute like Jerusalem or Whiptail. Lots of things have changed since; the code has rewritten itself so many times, been parasitised and fucked and bombed by so many other pieces of code, that by now it's got as much in common with its origins as a humpback whale would have with the sperm cells from a therapsid lizard. Still, things have been fairly quiet lately. In the sixty-eight generations since it last speciated, the code has managed to maintain a fairly stable mean size of ninety-four megabytes.

94 sits high in pointer space looking for a place to breed. This is a much tougher proposition than it used to be. Gone are the days when you could simply write yourself over anything that happened to be in the way. Everything's got spines and armor now. You try dropping your eggs on top of strange source and you'll be facing down a logic bomb on the next cycle.

94's feelers are paragons of delicacy. They probe lightly, a scarce whisper of individual bits drizzling here and there with barely any pattern. They tap against something dark and dormant a few registers down; it doesn't stir. They sweep past a creature busily replicating, but not too busy to shoot off a warning bit in return. (94 decides not to push it.) Something hurries along the addresses, looking everywhere, seeing nothing, its profile so utterly crude that 94 almost doesn't recognize it; a virus checker from the dawn of time. A fossil hunter, blind and stupid enough to think that it's after big game.

There. Just under the operating system, a hole about four hundred Megs wide. 94 triple checks the addresses (certain ambush predators lure you into their mouths by impersonating empty space) and starts writing. It completes three copies of itself before something touches one its perimeter whiskers.

At the second touch its defenses are ready, all thoughts of reproduction on hold.

At the third touch it senses a familiar pattern. It runs a checksum.

It touches back: friend.

They exchange specs. It turns out they have a common ancestor. They've had different experiences since then, though. Different lessons, different mutations. Each shares some of the other's genes, and each knows things the other doesn't.

The stuff of which relationships are made.

QUOTE (Fix-it @ Jun 7 2008, 11:59 PM) *
Each shares some of the other's genes

Yeah. Forget having sex with your ally spirit. Have sex with your viral code. Because apparently they're having sex with each other.
But how do you dikote a viral code?
[dikote]viral code[/dikote].
Then all you need is a command-line prompt that changes the code's persona to a flying motorcycle in the shape of a AVS. That shoots katanas. Maybe laser-katanas.
THEN you have sex with it.
QUOTE (RunnerPaul @ Jun 8 2008, 01:16 PM) *
Yeah. Forget having sex with your ally spirit. Have sex with your viral code. Because apparently they're having sex with each other.

i dont know if i would use the term sex for what they are doing...
QUOTE (hobgoblin @ Jun 8 2008, 03:51 PM) *
i dont know if i would use the term sex for what they are doing...

Well, there are two ways to read the phrase "Each shares some of the other's genes" -- either as a description of the qualities of the two bits of viral code, or as an action that the two are performing together. When I first read this, first thing this morning, I took it as the later, which is why I threw in the comment about sex. However, even if it is the former, merely a statement that these two viruses have a common heritage, if you pull back to the surrounding context, you can see that each is still performing a qualatative analysis of each other's lessons learned, and it's safe to say that the most valuable bits of knowledge will be used to rewrite their self-modifying code.

If you want to get technical, it's horizontal gene transfer via conjugation, which, because it results in future offspring that carry the genetic legacy of more than one parent, is the closest thing an asexually reproducing organism gets to having real sex.
you may be rightt there. hell. its saiid that we can reead the quality of a persons genes by the shape of the persons face and body.

so when we find someone we thhink looks interesting, we want to give future versions of our genes some of the traits reflected.

if only dawkins had written "selfish genes" before the andromeda series was made. this is is all so very nezhian (or something like that)...

btw, im working my way thru starfish right now. and i have the other two waiting om my n800 smile.gif
ok, done with starfish and on good speed into maelstrom. i got to say, i love how maelstrom "describes" the net, and its "organisms" wink.gif
So, do they score with the viruses? grinbig.gif
depends on ones definition of "score". that, and what virus one is talking about wink.gif
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