viruses are not always malicious, but they are certainly intelligent.
ai (artificial intelligence) is the idea of making code guess, or make decisions. video games use it to make things more difficult. ai allows a virus to hide, delete all traces of itself, reproduce, learn, and be self-modifying (polymorphic); it can remember, and attack first that which is designed to destroy it. you may never even know that it is there. viruses can be simple, but are by far the most complex compilations of code in existence; they can even be good (imagine a virus that destroys other viruses). writing a virus is no easy task: it requires time, patience, and an in-depth knowledge of your target environment. just as with any other code, it is possible to get your hands on existing viruses and improve or modify them.
the names given to viruses follow a specific convention and can tell you a lot about them, for example the operating systems they affect, what specific aspect of the system they target, what they do, etc. more information about this can be found at your favorite anti-virus website. in regard to tabloids: viruses will not make your computer explode or shoot sparks.
there is nothing illegal about writing a virus if it is contained on your personal computer with no risk of infecting anything else (like, it's not hooked up to the internet). as seen in the previous section, anti-virus software can be pretty picky about things that may not be malicious at all, and it may completely ignore things that are. what a lot of malicious people tend to do is to wait until a company like microsoft puts out a security patch to plug a certain vulnerability, then they find out what that vulnerability is and start infecting everyone who failed to install the patch. the vendor may have found the flaws before the crackers did, but that certainly didn't stop the crackers from taking advantage of it.
the overall point that i am trying to make here is that it doesn't really matter how up to date your anti-virus software is, the only sure way of protecting yourself from all possible danger is to completely unplug your computer from the wall and never touch it again. there is no such thing as a hack-proof computer. it has even been proven possible to insert malicious code within an image, and anyone who loads or views that image becomes infected (once thought to be an impossible, even laughable task). the best you can do is to keep yourself updated on what is out there; bookmark the technology section of your favorite news website.
an important thing to note is that there is a significant difference between a virus and a worm (or any other malicious code). just because you can write a batch file that shuts down someone's computer every 5 seconds does not make it a virus. viruses are much more complex.
the ability to create your own robot is becoming easier every day. you can buy voice recognition software, webcams with built-motion detectors or face tracking software, etc. it doesn't have to be anything extreme: some people enjoy just making a hobby out of it; check out www.battlebots.com for one of the coolest shows on the face of the planet. also, check your favorite electronics store for gadgets to help you build your dream machine.
microsoft's xp pro has built-in speech recognition software which can be accessed by opening the word program. on the tools menu, click speech. speech recognition is now enabled for all "office" programs. if you don't have a microphone then stop talking to yourself; it won't work without one.
there are a lot of good resources for hobbyists. you can find robotics kits for lego's, hehee! for 1337 equipment and gadgets checkout
oh em effing jeez.
when i was younger i used the parts from a remote control car to build a cooling fan on hot summer day; not that there is anything robotic about that but it was still cool. what's to stop you from disabling the light on your webcam so that nobody realizes it's on, and then configuring it to record all motion? i know what you're thinking, perv.