From: Chris Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed 25 Jan 2006 - 01:54:23 GMT
Okay this is where more is needed to flesh out the (~)memes-only
view, but it is there for the having, as exemplified by the Karl
Sims thing I mentioned. He had evolving rewiring in fish between
motor centres and muscle blocks where if a given change meant
that the fish moved in a more coordinated manner (which meant
swimming better) those links were reinforced and preserved.
Basically the resultant behaviour was only one of the very many
possible behaviours that network could encode, but by a trick
that essentially exploits the fish's genetically-heritable
hydrodynamic shape, it learns to swim. Nowhere did that swimming
motor program exist in the fish's inherited legacy of genes and
a bit of cytoplasm; it was truly emergent. A very compact way to
encode a very complex thing (sequential firing of muscle blocks
from front to back in two sets acting half a wavelength apart);
essentially seed the system (the rule that motion is good) and
let the fish rediscover its abilities.
Now how might that work for the most basic behaviours in humans,
like coordinating eyes at the same thing; perhaps as simple as a
rule that when the same stimuli create less complexity in part
of the visual cortex (two images compress to one stereo image)
remember the muscle settings? (Bear in mind that the muscles
controlling your eye movement are far from being three servo
motors for the three axes, its a bit of a mess frankly and a
real challenge to use as well as we do).
Now how about learning to communicate? Is it possible that at a
higher level the same rule applies? Getting a reaction to a
prompt is one of the first really complex things babies do for
fun; then there's the copying and being copied game. Again I can
see generic rules that could control that without complex
behaviours to be social being programmed in.
I could go on but I think you see the principle; get for free
what would otherwise be a bugger to encode (remember, more genes
for your liver than your brain, by several thousand). And let us
not forget that evolution is above all lazy. Why are our noses
small and useless? Possibly because as soon as dogs started
doing the sniffing for us, selection to maintain them relaxed.
Now how about any genetically coded behaviour that could
potentially be maintained via the meme pool, or by designing for
the accidental discovery of the behaviour, wouldn't evolution
jump at it and let those genes drift away?
To my mind there are two important meme sources for this, which
are (1) memes modelled from experience of the world ('proper'
memes) and (2) memes that pop into existence as a result of
experience alone, whether of the world, or of your sensory
experience of yourself. I imagine low-level (pre)motor programs
that are in essence (i.e. in 'substance') the equivalent of the
memes in your forebrain, but they live elsewhere and differ
somehow; memes that involve imagined action are somehow picked
up by premotor resident patterns (some sort of resonance is the
best I can offer) and passed on to become motor instructions.
Why couldn't the way to touch thumb to forefinger be a 'motor
meme' (abusing the meme name cos these things wold never be
copied -- like comparing email ('proper' memes) to machine code
(or maybe assembler actually)).
I'm a fanatic...
Kate Distin wrote:
> Chris Taylor wrote:
>>> As a slight aside, this is one of the key reasons why I don't go for
>>> the mind-as-a-memeplex view. Philosophers talk about "propositional
>>> attitudes" - i.e. the fact that we can take a variety of different
>>> attitudes to any given proposition: we can
>>> wish/fear/believe/disbelieve that "it's going to rain today" or "the
>>> earth is flat" or whatever. We respond to incoming memes - we are
>>> not identical with them.
>> This is not incompatible, in fact the memes-only thing provides the
>> most compact explanation. The diversity of responses is purely a
>> result of the diversity of memes in there, and the difference between
>> awareness and acceptance relates to previous discussions about having
>> the 'same' idea.
> I don't think it can be *purely* a result of the diversity of existing
> memes, or how could this account explain what goes on in newborn (or,
> going back in time, newly evolving) brains which have not yet got any
> memes? And where would memes have come from in the first place?
> A more likely explanation, for my money, is that the human brain has a
> certain innate potential, which can vary like any other innate potential
> (e.g. height) and develops as a result of interaction with incoming
> memes. Kind of like a muscle, which develops with exercise. Obviously
> I'd agree with you that as we acquire more and more memes, our existing
> stock must influence our reaction to incomers; but I think it's also
> important to acknowledge the influence of our innate mental capacities -
> which will vary from person to person. And once you do this, there's a
> gap between people and their memes.
> To put this in non-memetic terms, would you say that we are purely
> cultural creatures? Blank slate at birth? That *seems* to be implied
> by what you're saying (possibly only to me!). What, though, of
> genetically-related people who meet late in life and discover many
> freakish similarities in personality and habit?
> This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
> Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
> For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
> see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
-- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ email@example.com http://psidev.sf.net/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see: http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/jom-emit
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