Viruses as Self-Replicating Automata?
Decades ago John Von Neumann developed the concept of self-replicating automata as a likely evolution product of an advanced technological civilization. Once created and released into the cosmos, the S-RAs were expected to become ubiquitous. The idea got quite popular for a while as people wondered why the observable cosmos showed no evidence for such robotic devices.
Perhaps nature was way ahead of the game.