Re: electric meme bombs

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Wed 23 Oct 2002 - 07:03:48 GMT

  • Next message: Philip Jonkers: "Re: electric meme bombs"

    Bruce: Your suggestion that AI generated memes might be of a higher order of purity is a very seductive concept, but I question the hypothesis. I can imagine that in the future, the ability to transmit memes might become part of the definition of "human". I have worked with computers constantly since 1980 and I do believe AI already exists (Deep Blue), but, there is not a case as yet to support the idea that AI is in any way analogous with human thought. Even a self-aware computer would not be susceptible to a meme infection. The basis for this asertion is that social behaviour is the outcome of a meme infection. I think Richard Dawkins identified the breakdown in the gene analogy as being the lack of fidelity of memes as replicators.

    Phil: Humans may be one day defined as meme-hosts processing memes with low fidelity (high rates of mutation). A kind of memes to found in AI machines: software programs in contrast do not mutate spontaneously. Mutation can only happen by explicit measures of reprogramming the software (guided/heuristic mutation).

    Isn't Deep Blue just a souped-up main-frame having a bunch of pentium IIIs as nodes together computing in parallel? Despite of its mindboggling computing power I fail to see why it can be smarter than a cockroach. I also can't see why a self-aware computer would not be susceptible to meme-infection if we humans with organic computing faculties of an ultimately inferior kind are susceptible to them already. We need memes in order to survive, well at least that was the original function. AI machines will be no different as they too will need resources (electricity) in order to stay operational and so they too will be needing (survival) memes.

    The lack of fidelity of memes as replicators fully depends on the meme-processing systems meme-hosts have at their disposal. Increase the quality of those systems, for instance as happened with the advent of printed paper or large-scale media (TV, radio, internet), and the fidelity increases too. Replace the host by a much more robust one (the AI machine) and the improvement of the fidelity of the meme undergoes a (dramatic) phase change.


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