logo Welcome, Guest. Please Login or Register.
2023-02-06 03:58:11 CoV Wiki
Learn more about the Church of Virus
Home Help Search Login Register
News: Do you want to know where you stand?

  Church of Virus BBS
  General
  Evolution and Memetics

  The Third Replicator
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
   Author  Topic: The Third Replicator  (Read 12796 times)
Walter Watts
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1571
Reputation: 8.92
Rate Walter Watts



Just when I thought I was out-they pull me back in

View Profile WWW E-Mail
The Third Replicator
« on: 2010-08-22 21:04:29 »
Reply with quote

Opinionator - A Gathering of Opinion From Around the Web
August 22, 2010, 5:30 pm

The Third Replicator

By SUSAN BLACKMORE

All around us information seems to be multiplying at an ever increasing pace. New books are published, new designs for toasters and i-gadgets appear, new music is composed or synthesized and, perhaps above all, new content is uploaded into cyberspace. This is rather strange. We know that matter and energy cannot increase but apparently information can.

It is perhaps rather obvious to attribute this to the evolutionary algorithm or Darwinian process, as I will do, but I wish to emphasize one part of this process — copying. The reason information can increase like this is that, if the necessary raw materials are available, copying creates more information. Of course it is not new information, but if the copies vary (which they will if only by virtue of copying errors), and if not all variants survive to be copied again (which is inevitable given limited resources), then we have the complete three-step process of natural selection  (Dennett, 1995). From here novel designs and truly new information emerge. None of this can happen without copying.

I want to make three arguments here.

The first is that humans are unique because they are so good at imitation. When our ancestors began to imitate they let loose a new evolutionary process based not on genes but on a second replicator, memes. Genes and memes then coevolved, transforming us into better and better meme machines.

The second is that one kind of copying can piggy-back on another: that is, one replicator (the information that is copied) can build on the products (vehicles or interactors) of another. This multilayered evolution has produced the amazing complexity of design we see all around us.

The third is that now, in the early 21st century, we are seeing the emergence of a third replicator. I call these temes (short for technological memes, though I have considered other names). They are digital information stored, copied, varied and selected by machines. We humans like to think we are the designers, creators and controllers of this newly emerging world but really we are stepping stones from one replicator to the next.

Imitation is not just some new minor ability. It changes everything. It enables a new kind of evolution.

As I try to explain this I shall make some assertions and assumptions that some readers may find outrageous, but I am deliberately putting my case in its strongest form so that we can debate the issues people find most interesting or most troublesome.

Some may entirely reject the notion of replicators, and will therefore dismiss the whole enterprise. Others will accept that genes are replicators but reject the idea of memes. For example, Eva Jablonka and Marion J. Lamb ( 2005) refer to “the dreaded memes” while Peter J. Richerson and Robert Boyd (2005), who have contributed so much to the study of cultural evolution, assert that “cultural variants are not replicators.” They use the phrase “selfish memes” but still firmly reject memetics (Blackmore 2006). Similarly, in a previous “On The Human” post, William Benzon explains why he does not like the term “meme,” yet he needs some term to refer to the things that evolve and so he still uses it. As John S. Wilkins points out in response, there are several more classic objections: memes are not discrete (I would say some are not discrete), they do not form lineages (some do), memetic evolution appears to be Lamarckian (but only appears so), memes are not replicated but re-created or reproduced, or are not copied with sufficient fidelity (see discussions in Aunger 2000, Sterelny 2006, Wimsatt 2010). I have tackled all these, and more, elsewhere and concluded that the notion is still valid (Blackmore 1999, 2010a).

So I will press on, using the concept of memes as originally defined by Dawkins who invented the term; that is, memes are “that which is imitated” or whatever it is that is copied when people imitate each other. Memes include songs, stories, habits, skills, technologies, scientific theories, bogus medical treatments, financial systems, organizations — everything that makes up human culture. I can now, briefly, tell the story of how I think we arrived where we are today.

Both memes and genes are vast competing sets of information, all selfishly getting copied whenever and however they can.

First there were genes. Perhaps we should not call genes the first replicator because there may have been precursors worthy of that name and possibly RNA-like replicators before the evolution of DNA (Maynard Smith and Szathmary 1995). However, Dawkins (1976), who coined the term “replicator,” refers to genes this way and I shall do the same.

We should note here an important distinction for living things based on DNA, that the genes are the replicators while the animals and plants themselves are vehicles, interactors, or phenotypes: ephemeral creatures constructed with the aid of genetic information coded in tiny strands of DNA packaged safely inside them. Whether single-celled bacteria, great oak trees, or dogs and cats, in the gene-centered view of evolution they are all gene machines or Dawkins’s “lumbering robots.” The important point here is that the genetic information is faithfully copied down the generations, while the vehicles or interactors live and die without actually being copied. Put another way, this system copies the instructions for making a product rather than the product itself, a process that has many advantages (Blackmore 1999, 2001). This interesting distinction becomes important when we move on to higher replicators.

So what happened next? Earth might have remained a one-replicator planet but it did not. One of these gene machines, a social and bipedal ape, began to imitate. We do not know why, although shifting climate may have favored stealing skills from others rather than learning them anew (Richerson and Boyd 2005). Whatever the reason, our ancestors began to copy sounds, skills and habits from one to another. They passed on lighting fires, making stone tools, wearing clothes, decorating their bodies and all sorts of skills to do with living together as hunters and gatherers. The critical point here is, of course, that they copied these sounds, skills and habits, and this, I suggest, is what makes humans unique. No other species (as far as we know) can do this. Song birds can copy some sounds, some of the other great apes can imitate some actions, and most notably whales and dolphins can imitate, but none is capable of the widespread, generalized imitation that comes so easily to us. Imitation is not just some new minor ability. It changes everything. It enables a new kind of evolution.

This is why I have called humans “Earth’s Pandoran species.” They let loose this second replicator and began the process of memetic evolution in which memes competed to be selected by humans to be copied again. The successful memes then influenced human genes by gene-meme co-evolution (Blackmore 1999, 2001). Note that I see this process as somewhat different from gene-culture co-evolution, partly because most theorists treat culture as an adaptation (e.g. Richerson and Boyd 2005), and agree with Wilson that genes “keep culture on a leash.” (Lumsden and Wilson 1981 p 13).

Benzon, in responding to Peter Railton’s post here at The Stone, points out the limits of this  metaphor and proposes the “chess board and game” instead. I prefer a simple host-parasite analogy. Once our ancestors could imitate they created lots of memes that competed to use their brains for their own propagation. This drove these hominids to become better meme machines and to carry the (potentially huge and even dangerous) burden of larger brain size and energy use, eventually becoming symbiotic. Neither memes nor genes are a dog or a dog-owner. Neither is on a leash. They are both vast competing sets of information, all selfishly getting copied whenever and however they can.

To help understand the next step we can think of this process as follows: one replicator (genes) built vehicles (plants and animals) for its own propagation. One of these then discovered a new way of copying and diverted much of its resources to doing this instead, creating a new replicator (memes) which then led to new replicating machinery (big-brained humans). Now we can ask whether the same thing could happen again and — aha — we can see that it can, and is.

As “temes” proliferate, using ever more energy and resources, our own role becomes ever less significant.

A sticking point concerns the equivalent of the meme-phenotype or vehicle. This has plagued memetics ever since its beginning: some arguing that memes must be inside human heads while words, technologies and all the rest are their phenotypes, or “phemotypes”; others arguing the opposite. I disagree with both (Blackmore 1999, 2001). By definition, whatever is copied is the meme and I suggest that, until very recently, there was no meme-phemotype distinction because memes were so new and so poorly replicated that they had not yet constructed stable vehicles. Now they have.

Think about songs, recipes, ways of building houses or clothes fashions. These can be copied and stored by voice, by gesture, in brains, or on paper with no clear replicator/vehicle distinction. But now consider a car factory or a printing press. Thousands of near-identical copies of cars, books, or newspapers are churned out. Those actual cars or books are not copied again but they compete for our attention and if they prove popular then more copies are made from the same template. This is much more like a replicator-vehicle system. It is “copy the instructions” not “copy the product.”

Of course cars and books are passive lumps of metal, paper and ink. They cannot copy, let alone vary and select information themselves. So could any of our modern meme products take the step our hominid ancestors did long ago and begin a new kind of copying? Yes. They could and they are. Our computers, all linked up through the Internet, are beginning to carry out all three of the critical processes required for a new evolutionary process to take off.

Computers handle vast quantities of information with extraordinarily high-fidelity copying and storage. Most variation and selection is still done by human beings, with their biologically evolved desires for stimulation, amusement, communication, sex and food. But this is changing. Already there are examples of computer programs recombining old texts to create new essays or poems, translating texts to create new versions, and selecting between vast quantities of text, images and data. Above all there are search engines. Each request to Google, Alta Vista or Yahoo! elicits a new set of pages — a new combination of items selected by that search engine according to its own clever algorithms and depending on myriad previous searches and link structures.

This is a radically new kind of copying, varying and selecting, and means that a new evolutionary process is starting up. This copying is quite different from the way cells copy strands of DNA or humans copy memes. The information itself is also different, consisting of highly stable digital information stored and processed by machines rather than living cells. This, I submit, signals the emergence of temes and teme machines, the third replicator.

What should we expect of this dramatic step? It might make as much difference as the advent of human imitation did. Just as human meme machines spread over the planet, using up its resources and altering its ecosystems to suit their own needs, so the new teme machines will do the same, only faster. Indeed we might see our current ecological troubles not as primarily our fault, but as the inevitable consequence of earth’s transition to being a three-replicator planet. We willingly provide ever more energy to power the Internet, and there is enormous scope for teme machines to grow, evolve and create ever more extraordinary digital worlds, some aided by humans and others independent of them. We are still needed, not least to run the power stations, but as the temes proliferate, using ever more energy and resources, our own role becomes ever less significant, even though we set the whole new evolutionary process in motion in the first place.

Whether you consider this a tragedy for the planet or a marvelous, beautiful story of creation, is up to you.

(Susan Blackmore’s essay is the subject of this week’s forum discussion among the humanists and scientists at On the Human, a project of the National Humanities Center.)

Susan Blackmore is a psychologist and writer researching consciousness, memes, and anomalous experiences, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Plymouth. She is the author of  several books, including “The Meme Machine” (1999), “Conversations on Consciousness” (2005) and Ten Zen Questions (2009).

References

Aunger, R.A. (Ed) (2000) “Darwinizing Culture: The Status of Memetics as a Science,” Oxford University Press

Benzon, W.L. (2010) “Cultural Evolution: A Vehicle for Cooperative Interaction Between the Sciences and the Humanities.” Post for On the Human.

Blackmore, S. 1999 “The Meme Machine,” Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press

Blackmore,S. 2001 “Evolution and memes: The human brain as a selective imitation device.” Cybernetics and Systems, 32, 225-255

Blackmore, S. (2006) “Memetics by another name?” Review of “Not by Genes Alone” by P.J. Richerson and R. Boyd. Bioscience, 56, 74-5

Blackmore, S. (2010a) Memetics does provide a useful way of understanding cultural evolution. In “Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology”, Ed. Francisco Ayala and Robert Arp, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell,  255-72.

Blackmore (2010b) “Dangerous Memes; or what the Pandorans let loose.” In “Cosmos and Culture: Cultural Evolution in a Cosmic Context,” Ed. Steven Dick and Mark Lupisella, NASA 297-318

Dawkins,R. (1976) “The Selfish Gene,” Oxford, Oxford University Press (new edition with additional material, 1989)

Dennett, D. (1995) “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea,” London, Penguin

Jablonka, E. and Lamb, M.J. (2005) “Evolution in Four Dimensions: Genetic, Epigenetic, Behavioral and Symbolic Variation in the History of Life.” Bradford Books

Lumsden,C.J. and Wilson,E.O. (1981) “Genes, Mind and Culture.” Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.

Maynard-Smith,J. and Szathmáry,E (1995) “The Major Transitions in Evolution.” Oxford, Freeman

Richerson, P.J. and Boyd, R. (2005) “Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution,” Chicago, University of Chicago Press

Sterelny, K. (2006). “Memes Revisited.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 57 (1)

Wimsatt, W. (2010) Memetics does not provide a useful way of understanding cultural evolution: A developmental perspective. In “Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Biology” Ed. Francisco Ayala and Robert Arp, Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell,  255-72.

Related

Watch Susan Blackmore’s TED Talk on memes and temes.

    * Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company
    * Privacy Policy
    * NYTimes.com 620 Eighth Avenue New York, NY 10018

Report to moderator   Logged

Walter Watts
Tulsa Network Solutions, Inc.


No one gets to see the Wizard! Not nobody! Not no how!
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1746
Reputation: 8.89
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #1 on: 2010-08-22 22:53:25 »
Reply with quote

Thx Walter ... interesting stuff .... wonder what happens to 'temes' when the energy reserves run out ?

This urban definition is a cute aside on a meaning for the word 'teme'


A Japanese word that is essentially a rude way of saying "YOU!" as in "You bastard!"
Usually it is simply translated to bastard or some other nasty name.
Dude 1: I slept with your girlfriend.
Dude 2: Teme!!!
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Bohandez
Magister
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 38
Reputation: 6.04
Rate Bohandez



REALITY CHECKS NEVER BOUNCE

View Profile
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #2 on: 2010-08-23 05:19:38 »
Reply with quote

Watch out!
Fourth replicators coming your way! (Gemes!)

( you read my mind today! see my 'teme' rant )
Report to moderator   Logged
Blunderov
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 3160
Reputation: 8.93
Rate Blunderov



"We think in generalities, we live in details"

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #3 on: 2010-08-24 17:04:51 »
Reply with quote

[Blunderov] Interesting post by Walter with much too ponder on. For instance Blackmore says that it is interesting that matter and energy cannot increase but that information can.  I'm not convinced that this is true. It seems possible that the information (a highly suspect "family resemblance word" in its own right) is already there and replication simply provides more access to the same thing  and does not result in more information as such.

Which leads to something Bohandez said: "A major problem in 'temes' is the simple fact that the 'copy', 'modify' & 'execute' semantics of temes is... well memetically controlled (by us, humans)". Yes indeed. Take for instance The Emerald Tablet of Hermes a picture of which can be seen at http://akorra.com/2010/03/03/top-10-mysterious-text-and-codes/

What meme is being replicated here exactly? The 'information' in the tablet is inscrutable to us and likely will remain so forever. Nonetheless, the meme is flourishing (to which fact all here present are witness) but this success is not because of its viability in the jungle of human culture. In fact, it's success is for the exact opposite reason. From this reductio ad absurdia it seems to me that memetics is likely a metaphorical notion and that it is a mistake to take it too literally, fascinating though it is.

(I'm open to persuasion though and I'll admit that I'm haunted by the notion that numbers might actually be real...)
Report to moderator   Logged
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1746
Reputation: 8.89
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #4 on: 2010-08-24 20:20:32 »
Reply with quote

"It MUST be .... she is very compelling ... worth the listen.

The 3 replicators:
Biology = GENES
Culture = MEMES = Information that is copied from someone else=humans are meme machines
Techology = TEMES =  Machine replicated intelligence

Cheers

Fritz


Talks TED
Susan Blackmore on memes and "temes"

Susan Blackmore studies memes: ideas that replicate themselves from brain to brain like a virus. She makes a bold new argument: Humanity has spawned a new kind of meme, the teme, which spreads itself via technology -- and invents ways to keep itself alive

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/susan_blackmore_on_memes_and_temes.html

.
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1746
Reputation: 8.89
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #5 on: 2010-08-24 20:38:36 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Blunderov on 2010-08-24 17:04:51   
[Blunderov] <snip>
Which leads to something Bohandez said: "A major problem in 'temes' is the simple fact that the 'copy', 'modify' & 'execute' semantics of temes is... well memetically controlled (by us, humans)". Yes indeed. Take for instance The Emerald Tablet of Hermes a picture of which can be seen at http://akorra.com/2010/03/03/top-10-mysterious-text-and-codes/

What meme is being replicated here exactly? The 'information' in the tablet is inscrutable to us and likely will remain so forever. Nonetheless, the meme is flourishing (to which fact all here present are witness) but this success is not because of its viability in the jungle of human culture. In fact, it's success is for the exact opposite reason. From this reductio ad absurdia it seems to me that memetics is likely a metaphorical notion and that it is a mistake to take it too literally, fascinating though it is.

(I'm open to persuasion though and I'll admit that I'm haunted by the notion that numbers might actually be real...)


I m not sure 'viability' is necessarily the term we are looking for here, as a good idea. Culture is a collection of memes that get dragged along in spite of thier value. Kind of how bills get past through the Senate in a packages of stuff not all in everyone's best interest. Why is the wind pipe and the digestive tract crossed in our throats, not the best solution for mammals but the genes keep replicating it that way.

I'm hanging on to the this new 3rd replicator for now as a concept ... digesting, cough ... swallow.

Cheers

Fritz
« Last Edit: 2010-08-25 11:45:40 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Walter Watts
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1571
Reputation: 8.92
Rate Walter Watts



Just when I thought I was out-they pull me back in

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #6 on: 2010-08-25 01:38:31 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Blunderov on 2010-08-24 17:04:51   

[Blunderov]

<snip>

From this reductio ad absurdia it seems to me that memetics is likely a metaphorical notion and that it is a mistake to take it too literally, fascinating though it is.

(I'm open to persuasion though and I'll admit that I'm haunted by the notion that numbers might actually be real...)

<snip>



Hey there Blunderov.....   

I tend to agree with you on that.

I've long suspected that memes are simply metaphors with a detailed "transmission" attribute attached.

As far as numbers being real, we can probably at least rest assured that they are quantifiers of "real" things.


Walter
Report to moderator   Logged

Walter Watts
Tulsa Network Solutions, Inc.


No one gets to see the Wizard! Not nobody! Not no how!
Walter Watts
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1571
Reputation: 8.92
Rate Walter Watts



Just when I thought I was out-they pull me back in

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #7 on: 2010-08-25 01:55:47 »
Reply with quote

Maybe we should hold these potential new replicators ("Memes" and "Temes")
to the same standard we hold "Genes", beginning with adherence to the evolutionary
process as described below:

"Let’s look again, for a moment, at what our knowledge of the
evolutionary process suggests may have occurred. First, it’s important
to remember that new structures do not arise for anything. They simply
come about spontaneously, as byproducts of copying errors that routinely
occur as genetic information is passed from one generation to the next.
Natural selection is most certainly not a generative force that calls
new structures into existence; it can only work on variations that are
presented to it, whether to eliminate unfavorable variants or to promote
successful ones. We like to speak in terms of adaptations, since this
helps us to make up stories about how and why particular innovations
have arisen, or have been successful, in the course of evolution; but in
reality, all new genetic variants must come into being as exaptations.
The difference is that while adaptations are features that fulfill
specific, identifiable functions (which they cannot do, of course, until
they are in place), exaptations are simply features that have arisen and
are potentially available to be coopted into some new function. This is
routine stuff, for many new structures stay around for no better reason
than that they just don’t get in the way."

Excerpted from the December, 2001 Scientific American
"How we came to be Human" by Ian Tattersall

This "evolutionary process" refresher from Mr. Tattersall has always been dear to me.

I read it whenever evolution and the endless how and why stories that seem to
accompany its discussion start confusing me.   


Walter
Report to moderator   Logged

Walter Watts
Tulsa Network Solutions, Inc.


No one gets to see the Wizard! Not nobody! Not no how!
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1746
Reputation: 8.89
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #8 on: 2010-08-25 11:43:07 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Walter Watts on 2010-08-25 01:55:47   
<snip> but in reality, all new genetic variants must come into being as exaptations.
The difference is that while adaptations are features that fulfill
specific, identifiable functions (which they cannot do, of course, until
they are in place), exaptations are simply features that have arisen and
are potentially available to be coopted into some new function. This is
routine stuff, for many new structures stay around for no better reason
than that they just don’t get in the way."

Excerpted from the December, 2001 Scientific American
"How we came to be Human" by Ian Tattersall

This "evolutionary process" refresher from Mr. Tattersall has always been dear to me.

I read it whenever evolution and the endless how and why stories that seem to
accompany its discussion start confusing me.   

Walter


[Fritz]Had to look that word up ...
Exaptation, cooption, and preadaptation are related terms referring to shifts in the function of a trait during evolution. For example, a trait can evolve because it served one particular function, but subsequently it may come to serve another. Exaptations are common in both anatomy and behavior. Bird feathers are a classic example: initially these evolved for temperature regulation, but later were adapted for flight. Interest in exaptation relates to both the process and product of evolution: the process that creates complex traits and the product that may be imperfectly designed.

I like that one Walter thx. .... with some unease I keep hearing my old boss in the civil service saying "that's good enough just move on.... no need for perfection", so it would seem we too are part of a process that regularly says "Okey beer break; that'll work; next ..."

Cheers

Fritz
« Last Edit: 2010-08-25 11:43:57 by Fritz » Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Walter Watts
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1571
Reputation: 8.92
Rate Walter Watts



Just when I thought I was out-they pull me back in

View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #9 on: 2010-08-25 14:38:37 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Fritz on 2010-08-25 11:43:07   


<snip>

I like that one Walter thx. .... with some unease I keep hearing my old boss in the civil service saying "that's good enough just move on.... no need for perfection", so it would seem we too are part of a process that regularly says "Okey beer break; that'll work; next ..."

<snip>

Cheers

Fritz



Agreed Fritz.

That's why I always thought Einstein was wrong when he said: "God doesn't play dice with the universe."

Not only does he play dice with it, but he's a compulsive gambler!

Just throwing shit up against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Guess what?

WE stuck Fritz!


Walter


PS---I'm using the term "God" very loosely above. As a stand in for nature/order/emergence/complexity theory, etc. 
Report to moderator   Logged

Walter Watts
Tulsa Network Solutions, Inc.


No one gets to see the Wizard! Not nobody! Not no how!
Fritz
Archon
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 1746
Reputation: 8.89
Rate Fritz





View Profile WWW E-Mail
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #10 on: 2010-08-25 18:38:12 »
Reply with quote


Quote from: Walter Watts on 2010-08-25 14:38:37   


Agreed Fritz.

That's why I always thought Einstein was wrong when he said: "God doesn't play dice with the universe."

Not only does he play dice with it, but he's a compulsive gambler!

Just throwing shit up against the wall and seeing what sticks.

Guess what?

WE stuck Fritz!


Walter


PS---I'm using the term "God" very loosely above. As a stand in for nature/order/emergence/complexity theory, etc. 


[Fritz] I like it !!!!!

WE Stuck !

[Fritz] At the very least a tee-shirt. I'm think'in an axiom to be inculcated into the CoV hall of fame. What a great meme, it works on so many levels.

Fritz goes down on one knee before Sir Walter !!! Just Perfect.


.
Report to moderator   Logged

Where there is the necessary technical skill to move mountains, there is no need for the faith that moves mountains -anon-
Bohandez
Magister
**

Gender: Male
Posts: 38
Reputation: 6.04
Rate Bohandez



REALITY CHECKS NEVER BOUNCE

View Profile
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #11 on: 2010-08-25 18:55:16 »
Reply with quote

From what I've read up till now, I don't know what to say...

Instead one burning question is looming over my mind: Is CoV dismantling itself?

(The pillars of this society are speaking positively of metaphors, regarding the Meta-Meme)

edit:
Ugh... About the metaphor thing:
Do I have to think of memes as part of the phenotype of genes?
As by-products of the genetic evolutionary processes?
« Last Edit: 2010-08-25 19:36:04 by Bohandez » Report to moderator   Logged
MoEnzyme
Acolyte
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 2256
Reputation: 4.76
Rate MoEnzyme



infidel lab animal

View Profile WWW
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #12 on: 2010-08-25 20:00:32 »
Reply with quote

I often seem to disagree with Susan Blackmore. I think she's intelligent, genuinely trying to work through the concepts of memes, and makes some interesting valid points along her course, so I always enjoy reading her. I just think its going to take some greater time perspective to sort some of this out. I think she's wrong, but she's wrong in interesting ways, and she's got publishers. That makes her an interesting philosopher, but not yet really a scientist.

As for the genes=memes metaphor, and more specifically genotype/phenotype to memotype/phemotype mapping . . .she seems to think its not a valid entailment of the metaphor for memes, whereas I do. The essence of the entailment and why it maps is a that-which-is-copied/that-which-does-the-copying conceptual distinction. What humans have done for thousands of years at an ever accelerating pace through our technology is outsourcing various aspects of our memories and mental tasks. This leaves us with more free brain capacity to innovate. In order to do this we replicate our technology ever more and hence our technology becomes that-which-is-copied whereas our individual and social mental lives becomes the place where the important copying decisions occur, in other words that-which-does-the-copying. We (phemotypes) get something out of it through greater potentials for efficient decision-making within our personal and social lives, the benefit of markets, greater possibilities for collective action, etc. The memotypes (pieces of media and technology) get replicated.

I think these memotypes are what Blackmore wants to call "temes". Taken as a whole, what she says about them sounds very singularitarian in concept ie. the idea that these "temes" have already taken responsibility for their own replication without us. For Blackmore the singularity isn't just in the near future, its already here. Its true that technology may seem autonomous that way at times, as we use technology to help us replicate other technology and even to aid in making decisions about that replication. However, if anything seems obvious from the latest economic downturns and various emerging energy issues, it is that our memotypes ("temes") are still very dependent on humans plugging in the power cord, paying the electric bills, and making economic decisions. Breakdowns in human economies still lead to breakdowns in media/technology replication. When that ceases to be the case, then perhaps we can have a more serious discussion about "temes", but until then I'm skeptical.

Memotypes (Blackmore's temes) are still "on a leash" with their phemotypes (that's us). Together we make the complete replicative structures for memes, much like the genotype/phenotype aspects of genes make them viable replicators in and of themselves unlike a naked genome or a sterile organism in isolation.
« Last Edit: 2010-08-25 22:34:05 by MoEnzyme » Report to moderator   Logged

I will fight your gods for food,
Mo Enzyme


(consolidation of handles: Jake Sapiens; memelab; logicnazi; Loki; Every1Hz; and Shadow)
MoEnzyme
Acolyte
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 2256
Reputation: 4.76
Rate MoEnzyme



infidel lab animal

View Profile WWW
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #13 on: 2010-08-25 20:24:18 »
Reply with quote

I responded to Bohandez's other thread @ http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=3;action=display;threadid=43532 and ran into him in chat which inspired a few more comments about the subject.
http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=3;action=chatlog2;channel=%23virus;date=2010-08-25;time=17:;start=0;max=30

17:10:56   Bohandez   
Bohandez (4e8e132a@[death to spam].ircip4.mibbit.com) has joined #virus

17:11:05   MoEnzyme   * MoEnzyme is catching up on BBS thread. http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=3;action=display;threadid=43531;start=0;boardseen=1
17:11:26   Bohandez   Hi Mo
18:03:39   MoEnzyme   heya Bohandez!
18:03:55   MoEnzyme   I just posted something to the "Third Replicator thread".
18:08:09   MoEnzyme   Yeah, I don't buy "temes" as a new replicator.
18:09:13   MoEnzyme   Something like that may yet happen someday, and I think that's what people interested in the "singuluarity" are talking about.
18:10:25   MoEnzyme   But most people interested in the singularity don't believe its already happened . . . whereas Blackmore seems to be suggesting that it already has occurred.
18:10:38   MoEnzyme   wikip: Singularity
18:10:39   googlebot   looking up Singularity
18:10:39   googlebot   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technological_singularity
18:11:33   MoEnzyme   "A technological singularity is a hypothetical event occuring when technological progress becomes very rapid due to positive feedback, making the future after the Singularity qualitatively different and hard to predict. It has been suggested that one will occur during the 21st century, and there are several mechanisms by which a singularity could occur."
18:12:47   MoEnzyme   "Vernor Vinge proposed that the creation of smarter-than-human intelligence would represent a breakdown in humans' ability to model their future. In the same way that a worse chess player cannot predict the next move of a better chess player, and less intelligent animals cannot predict the actions of humans, so too humans cannot predict the actions of more intelligent entities.
18:13:24   MoEnzyme   He compared it to the breakdown of physics so that it cannot be used to model the space-time singularity beyond the event horizon of a black hole."
18:15:10   MoEnzyme   I think that would be the kind of event(s) which would characterize the emergence of "temes", and I don't think we've arrived there yet in our evolution.
18:15:53   MoEnzyme   That would effectively be an artificial intelligence.
18:20:23   MoEnzyme   Bohandez, I also responded to your related thread http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=3;action=display;threadid=43532
Report to moderator   Logged

I will fight your gods for food,
Mo Enzyme


(consolidation of handles: Jake Sapiens; memelab; logicnazi; Loki; Every1Hz; and Shadow)
MoEnzyme
Acolyte
*****

Gender: Male
Posts: 2256
Reputation: 4.76
Rate MoEnzyme



infidel lab animal

View Profile WWW
Re:The Third Replicator
« Reply #14 on: 2010-08-25 20:33:52 »
Reply with quote

As this may relate to the singularity, Lucifer and myself have been following recent debates between PZ Myers and Ray Kurzweil on this thread in our Science & Technology BBS topic.

Singularity fail - 6 reasons why you won't upload yourself

http://www.churchofvirus.org/bbs/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=43495
While it seems that Myers and Kurzweil are busy arguing about if or how soon the singularity will occur, it seems that Blackmore is going even farther out than either of them by implying that it already has occurred. At least that's how I interpret her. If PZ Myers think Kurzweil is a bit kooky, he would probably think Blackmore is completely bonkers.
« Last Edit: 2010-08-25 22:38:16 by MoEnzyme » Report to moderator   Logged

I will fight your gods for food,
Mo Enzyme


(consolidation of handles: Jake Sapiens; memelab; logicnazi; Loki; Every1Hz; and Shadow)
Pages: [1] 2 Reply Notify of replies Send the topic Print 
Jump to:


Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Church of Virus BBS | Powered by YaBB SE
© 2001-2002, YaBB SE Dev Team. All Rights Reserved.

Please support the CoV.
Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS! RSS feed