Received: by alpheratz.cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk id AAA13672 (8.6.9/5.3[ref email@example.com] for cpm.aca.mmu.ac.uk from firstname.lastname@example.org); Mon, 29 Apr 2002 00:42:09 +0100 X-Originating-IP: [22.214.171.124] From: "Scott Chase" <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1031 Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002 19:36:12 -0400 Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed Message-ID: <F172BwTXPx8XVccxXzL000024ce@hotmail.com> X-OriginalArrivalTime: 28 Apr 2002 23:36:13.0236 (UTC) FILETIME=[7BB81740:01C1EF0D] Sender: email@example.com Precedence: bulk Reply-To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <email@example.com>
>Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1031
>Date: Sun, 28 Apr 2002 17:14:11 -0400
>Thanks for your thoughts on Pandora's box.
>On the whole, I think the human species has demonstrated its net ability to
>make great strides forward, some of that in the form of new ideas and
>technologies, and some of that through the simple accumulation of resources
>over the generations.
>I do view memetics as a potentially important technology, on a par in terms
>of importance with nuclear weaponry.
Excuse me while my side splits. Now you *seriously* think memetics is a
technology comparable to that which led to development of nuclear weapons?
Are you implicitly thinking of yourself as working on some sort of
"Manhattan Project" wondering what the casuistric implications will be if
your work is unleashed upon the world? At least you've got more scruples
than Dr. Strangelove I must say as we all know there exists a "meme gap" and
we must strive to preserve the sanctity of our precious body fluids (sorry
for the obscure Jack Ripper reference) ;-)
Now I'm trying to compare nuclear technology (which has definite tangible
and palpable consequences in our world with a multitude of warheads out
there and the definite impact of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the subsequent
Cold War) with memetics technology with dubious tangible or palpable
consequences unless you are merely renaming marketing, advertizing, sales,
propaganda and all the various fields of endeavor that have been used for
manipulative purposes long before Dawkins made his little humble analogy in
_The Selfish Gene_. An obvious consequence of Dawkins little analogy is that
eventually people would be contemplating whether to unleash the fruits of
his conceptual scheme upon a susceptible world. I wonder if he has lost any
Must we now fear a memes race that will rival the arms race of the cold war?
Too bad Kubrick isn't around anymore to make a movie lampooning the extremes
of this eventuality.
>So while the generality may be true
>that useful tools become disseminate themselves, it is still worth it to
>slow the dissemination down if there is concern for its abuse. The
>against nuclear weapons was a combination of public disgust with their
>destructiveness and offsetting threats (MAD). I'm not sure memetics has
>equivalent defenses, and I would like to know what the defense(s) are going
>to be before contributing to the dissemination.
Ever here of PsyOps? That IIRC is a propagandist psychological warfare ploy
utilized by the armed forces for quite some time. I'm trying to picture how
one could improve upon the playing of Wagner's Valkyries song when the
helicopters are storming the beach head on _Apocalypse Now_. I mean is
"memetics technology" that revolutionary that its going to potentially make
things that much worse than they already are? If it's possible the CIA has
probably already thought of it.
>I say all this not out of a sense of pessimism about our human society, but
>out of a sense that an ethic is at work now around the globe, an ethic that
>asserts that the pursuit of short-term selfish advantage is an acceptable
>primary value. There are too many folks out there to whom lots of money
>power are the goal, and give short shrift to a shared societal well-being
>and progress. With these folks, cleverness has replaced wisdom, and what
>can get away with has become the ethical standard. These folks have proven
>themselves adept at taking advantage of the new 'tools' of globalization
>IT systems. I have no desire to hand them additional tools, and would
>use those tools that we have to impose accountability on them, and to
>require their due consideration for the needs of a beneficial human
I really have no idea how "memetics technology" is that big a step beyond
what has come before. This is your vaguely stated premise, but you have not
convinced me. Doesn't sound like much of a Pandora's box (especially when
compared to the actual nukes and arms race of the Cold War) from where I'm
sitting, your platitudes haven't sunk in I suppose.
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf
> > Of Steve Drew
> > Sent: Sunday, April 28, 2002 4:11 PM
> > To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > Subject: Re: memetics-digest V1 #1031
> > Hi Lawrence
> > > Date: Fri, 26 Apr 2002 01:24:20 -0400
> > > From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <email@example.com>
> > > Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1023
> > >
> > > Greetings, Steve,
> > > If I follow the metaphor accurately, I think it is possible to
> > open the box
> > > without letting an out-of-control capability leap out and follow its
> > > head in spreading beyond. Thus, I think, tools may be available
> > to those who
> > > develop them for themselves, without the tools being replicated or
> > > disseminated.
> > I disagree here. A technology or tool may be developed by one person or
> > group with one application in mind, but can be taken and used in a way
> > envisaged by it's creator(s). Davy invented the safety lamp to help save
> > explosions and deaths in the pits. The result was the pits went deeper
> > people died of roof fall etc instead.
> > Once a tool is created it is available for anyone to copy or steal
> > >
> > > But this has an enormous downside: we don't get the progress we
> > could had we
> > > open technical discussions, nor do we see the tools
> > disseminated to others
> > > who might accomplish good with them.
> > >
> > > I wrestle with these questions quite a bit, as it is one of the stated
> > > objectives of my organization to develop and disseminate tools
> > > management and cognitive tools) as widely as possible. I have
> > a personal
> > > position on this that I am maintaining for now, which I explain
> > from time to
> > > time on this list for what it is worth, but it provides no long-term
> > > solution. Of course, people have wrestled with this issue throughout
> > > history, I imagine. Generally, the stuff that works gets out.
> > And then we
> > > have a few counter-examples, that leave us wondering at what benefits
> > > humankind have been 'protected' only to be lost when their
> > 'owners' died,
> > > e.g. Tesla.
> > >
> > > I would be very interested in your own ruminations on this.
> > >
> > > Best regards,
> > > Lawrence
> > Not withstanding my disagreement with Wade about our levels of
> > bloodlust in
> > humanity, I do think as a species we do tend to screw up everything we
> > with the best of intentions, mostly. Once something has been created it
> > takes a life of its own in a way. Like memes, technology and
> > theories change
> > as different people encounter them.
> > Each new Pandora's box we open (and we will!) brings with it
> > things we could
> > not envisage. What works may not always be beneficial.
> > Regards
> > Steve
> > >
> > >> -----Original Message-----
> > >> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On
> > >> Of Steve Drew
> > >> Sent: Thursday, April 25, 2002 5:18 PM
> > >> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> > >> Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1023
> > >>
> > >>
> > >> Hi Lawrence
> > >>
> > >>> Date: Fri, 19 Apr 2002 09:57:57 -0400
> > >>> From: "Lawrence DeBivort" <email@example.com>
> > >>> Subject: RE: memetics-digest V1 #1023
> > >>>
> > >>>> Steve Drew:
> > >>>> I think [advertisers] have learned the 'cruder' techniques
> > such as the
> > >>> 'sex sells'
> > >>>> example you mentioned. I don't think it is because they are
> > >> that good, but
> > >>>> that they stick to ones that have been useful in the past. The
> > >>>> problem they
> > >>>> face is that everyone's responses are different, and IMO
> > they have not
> > >>>> developed enough ideas on how to overcome this yet, but if
> > >> they do then I
> > >>>> agree that things could get rough.
> > >>>
> > >>>
> > >>> And that is one of the reasons we should be wary of turning
> > >> memetics into a
> > >>> technology and releasing it publicly. I consider this list a
> > >> public forum.
> > >>>
> > >>> Lawrence
> > >>
> > >> It is indeed. Unfortunately Pandora is still around, and so
> > are the people
> > >> who would open the box, including me and thee?
> > >>
> > >> Regards
> > >> Steve
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