NO. They can't. I'm going to tell you why.
As someone who does biology, I can tell you the 6 properties of living things
- Ability to maintain a stable internal state (temperature etc.).
- Being composed of one or more cells.
- Consuming energy, and decomposing matter
- They grow at some point in their life time
- Change, or evolution. In other words, living things evolve over time.
Now, I may be missing something but I'm pretty fucking sure that other than maintaining a semistable internal state (via fans and stuff) and consuming energy (and money for that matter) a computer has none of the other properties. A computer is not made of cells, living things are made out of cells. A computer is made out of atoms and molecules, not cells. It does not have DNA.
Neither does a computer grow. My computer is now the same exact size it was 2 years ago. I don't know what you're tripping on, sir, but unless you're on some serious drugs, shrinking, or in need of a shrink, computers do not grow.
Neither do they evolve. Yeah I know, my laptop now is better than that piece of crap they used in the 70's. That box however, did not make little computer babies that made more computer babies and more computer babies until you get my amazing stud of a computer. No. Wrong.
My computer does not need water, which is "essential to all living things". It doesn't poop. It doesn't die. And no, crashing does not mean dying- we can still fix it. Unless you blow that shit up it's fixable, and if nothing happened to it it wouldn't die. We get viruses sure, and so do they but seriously? Is that all we've got?
So yeah, maybe I'm thinking "inside a box" but at least I'm not fucking retarded.