A Virus Story..

Understanding what a virus does..

When we look at the last five years or maybe more, before the Covid-19 era, most of the popular subjects (eg.: 3d printers, VR, AI, mobile technologies, AGI, electric cars, big data, a trip to Mars, etc.) have been on technology. While working on technology training, almost in every development or fancy news, I was able to relate myself in one way or another. I have been working excessively on software, robotics, and technology, but the recent pandemic made me realize that I didn’t even have a basic understanding of a biological virus. Now that it was so into our lives, I had this overwhelming feeling of the need to understand it.

In an effort to make up for my lack of knowledge, amidst all the Covid-19 flurry, I called one of my friends, to get some information. I wanted to get a clear idea about biological viruses. I knew he had done many studies on this matter.

For a starting point, I had in-depth information about computer viruses, so I thought it would be a good idea to start the conversation with them. I do it a lot when I am teaching, finding correlations between software coding and simple everyday items, like explaining software functions through the ingredients placed on the pizzas. I believed that I could understand the concept much easily by pointing out the similarities between computer viruses and biological ones, but only this time, I was wrong.

My friend told me that biological viruses are very different and intricate structures. He even went further to mention that calling them both a “virus” results in overseeing the necessary fundamental truths about biological viruses. So I stopped thinking about computer viruses, gave the subject a fresh state of mind, and start from a blank page.

As he described, I did try hard not to interrupt him, but I have to admit that I was still trying to relate it to technology in the back of my head. I needed to understand it by making references to technology.

After listening, it occurred to me that it can be a good idea to write a story where we can relate viruses to our everyday technology usage. As I have spent a lot of time forming curriculums on teaching kids how to code, I am used to coming up with stories. This story might have helped even to the people who have only a slight understanding of computers, in getting an idea about how viruses work. After some discussion with him and facing accusations like I am oversimplifying or not catching the biological point of view, I was able to come up with a story that at least partially satisfied him.

The story is about a lonely USB Memory stick. His name is “Usbv”.

Once upon a time, this lonely memory stick called Usbv was freely moving around by itself, and he was extremely bored. Also, there was a computer network that consisted of a computer and several 3d printers. The name of this cute network was “Nell”.

Inside Nell, the computer was sending print codes to the multi-talented 3d printers. These printers were so advanced that they could produce almost anything. They could even create new computer parts if needed.

Nell was spending quite a lot of time printing the parts needed for creating new networks. These parts were coming together and forming new networks.

As the story goes, one day, Usbv sees Nell. He is fascinated at first glance. It is so remarkable so charming, watching all these printers produce so many different materials. He wants to be a part of this marvelous structure. He decides to plug himself into a USB port of the network. He wants to have friends. He wants them so badly that once he plugs himself into Nell, he starts sending cloning codes to the 3d printers. Printers start producing new USB sticks exactly like Usbv. He is so happy that he continues to produce more and more clones of himself.

Usbv’s ambition for friends results in using all the resources of Nell, and finally, all the network collapses after producing hundreds of clones of Usbv. The computer and the 3d printers inside Nell are completely crashed down. All the cloned USB sticks are together now, but they think, “ why not produce more of ourselves”. Now that they cannot use Nell to produce more of themselves, they need to find and plug themselves into other networks. Each of them scatter around and start looking for new networks where they can plug themselves in and restart production.

And nobody lives happily ever after…

(P.S.: In the story;
Usbv is Coronavirus.
Nell is a human cell.
The computer is the nucleus of a cell.
3d printers are ribosomes inside a cell.)


Volkan Keskin
Makercodes Co-Founder Partner

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