we can think of life as a self-replicating information-processing system

GoodTaste

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When I read "we can think of life as a self-replicating information-processing system", "computer virus is life" jumps out of my mind. I wonder whether you native English speakers have the same feeling when reading it.

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[FONT=Georgia, serif] [/FONT]The question of how to define life is notoriously controversial. Competing definitions abound, some of which include highly specific requirements such as being composed of cells, which might disqualify both future intelligent machines and extraterrestrial civilizations. Since we don’t want to limit our thinking about the future of life to the species we’ve encountered so far, let’s instead define life very broadly, simply as a process that can retain its complexity and replicate. What’s replicated isn’t matter (made of atoms) but information (made of bits) specifying how the atoms are arranged. When a bacterium makes a copy of its DNA, no new atoms are created, but a new set of atoms are arranged in the same pattern as the original, thereby copying the information. In other words, we can think of life as a self-replicating information-processing system whose information (software) determines both its behavior and the blueprints for its hardware.

Source (Scientific American)
 

Tdol

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The American writer William Burroughs argued that language was a virus long before we had computer viruses.
 

GoodTaste

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I don't.

Do you understand "self-replicating"? Do you understand "information processing system"? (I'll gamble and omit the hyphen and hope it doesn't cause an argument.)

"... we can think of life (if we wish to) as a self-replicating information-processing system." Information is not software. Software consists of sets of instructions to process information. "Garbage in -----Garbage out" as they say.

Have you read the report? In which the writer says "[FONT=Georgia, serif] [/FONT]In other words, we can think of life as a self-replicating information-processing system whose information (software) determines both its behavior and the blueprints for its hardware."

The author unequivocally pointed out that here information and software are interchangeable. The latter is well-organized information.

As of self-replicating, a computer virus can replicate itself (see virus in Wikipedia).
 

GoesStation

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The author is making a controversial assertion. Without having read the work, I surmise that he doesn't understand what software​ is.
 

GoodTaste

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The author is making a controversial assertion. Without having read the work, I surmise that he doesn't understand what software​ is.

The report is a headline article of renowned Scientific American, which would have gone through reviewing and editing before publishing. I would rather be more careful and not jump to a conclusion.
 
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