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This a theoretical game in which we use our creative powers to think of something REALLY interesting. Our topic for discussion today is... AI Viri.

Think of this. A virus/worm, that is a piece of code that infests a host machine, attaches itself to an application, and starts learning.

Let's talk about this virus. First, like virus protection programs that have heuristic signatures of thousands of viri, this virus has signatures of dozens of these virus protection programs. We don't need more than a few because the market is controlled by maybe 3 or 4 companies, thus, we only need the signatures of those 3 or 4 applications PLUS signatures of the same applications 2 or 3 versions back (just so we get our backs when the person hasn't updated in a while). So, with this knowledge of the environment, the virus could potentially edit the protection program's CRC signature(s) of the program(s) it's attached to, and by doing that, prolong its life.

Now, this virus is attached to a few applications, the next step is AI. the virus needs to learn more about the environment, it needs to learn what programs are installed, which are used the most, which files get transferred most often. Why, you may ask... well, let's say you are in a strange town. And say you want to go to the next strange town. Wouldn't you first find out stuff about this town, stuff like - what means of transportation exist in this town, how do common constituents get from one place to another, how to get to another town. Remember, a virus' only goal is to propagate. It is NOT to cause harm. The harm, at least in biological viri, is a side effect of the propagation and the chemical make-up of the virus.

So, now, the virus is finding out how to make copies of itself. Knowing which programs are used the most will help it reproduce in the most effective manner. Knowing which files are transferred the most will help the virus move on to another host, in order to gather more information.

This is where it gets cool. What good would it do if the virus, after doing extensive research on the system, simply produced another version of its pre-research self, and let it do its own research? This would make the new virus an ineffective part in this scheme. For this reason, this virus will need to communicate with the mothership, with the generator of the virus. If that happens, the generator will generate viri that are as smart as all of the generations before them COMBINED! These viri would know which programs to infest, which files to track, what things to learn. These viri will be intelligent - they will be able to best fight the virus protection programs, for they will have those programs figured out BETTER than the programs have the viri figured out.

How is this interesting/useful? Well, how about this... if a virus is let to do this, this virus will potentially, eventually become a ... digital life form, having absolute knowledge of the system, making decisions based on its knowledge and practice. This would be VERY cool indeed.

The following was simply a lunch conversation between some people who had nothing better to do than hypothesize about the potential power of a system like this. Please comment, write more, think. This IS interesting.

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