A Vision of a Computer Virus

What Would a Computer Virus Look Like?

Alex Dragulescu, who is an artist, created a vision of what he believes a trojan virus embedded in a Word document would look like. A Vision of a Computer Virus.

Using Art to Envision

This last fall I spent some time considering what an artificial intelligence would look like. I dismissed the obvious idea of creating a human image from 0 and 1’s– a kind of “Max Headroom” sculpted via a type of pointillism.

I spent some time thinking about how data might layer and what this type of being would look like. Would it be a chimera of images shifting and changing as it processed information? Would the information merge like a transporter accident? In the end I never decided on what the image should look like. But I was sure that it could not be represented in a fashion similar to that of a biological entity. Further, I concluded the world/reality of an electronic being that thought and traveled in nano seconds within coded packets would be vastly different than anything in the physical world.

The idea of a vision of a computer virus became a philosophical construct for me.  While only a thought exercise, I came to the conclusion a visual representation of a virus is translatable into an artistic medium, but it might be the kind of thing that I’ll know when I see it. And it would take a certain genius to capture the essence of a computer virus.


While they are very interesting and generate further thinking in regards to what a computer virus might look like, Dragulescu’s representations don’t quite represent coded viruses for me. He made a good attempt. They look too much like the biological, microscopic world that the ‘viruses’ derive their name comparison from for me. This strikes me as less than the complex things these viruses really are.

The question that I’ll pose is this: What do you think a computer virus would look like? Do you have any sketches or poems or whatever that you think would represent such a virus?

The link at the BBC News service for more of Alex Dragulescu’s visions of what computer malware and viruses would look like is:


Further, there are general written descriptions of what all the images represent.