Re: A brand new replicator in the making?

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Fri Jun 15 2001 - 15:58:58 BST

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    Subject: Re: A brand new replicator in the making?
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    Quoting Aaron Agassi <>:

    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Philip Jonkers" <>
    > To: <>
    > Sent: Friday, June 15, 2001 9:51 AM
    > Subject: A brand new replicator in the making?
    > > Has anybody from this group already ponder the question:
    > >
    > > Is there a new, third, kind of replicator in the making?
    > >
    > > Well, I contend it will be one with an electronic origin.
    > > The new replicator will emerge as soon as the new generation of
    > computers
    > > - based on neural networks - gain sufficient grounds to start
    > spawning
    > > their own self-sufficient software-programs, the primary goal of
    > artificial
    > > intelligence as far as I know. Unlike memes and genes which are only
    > > approximately independent of each other (I like to call this,
    > > quasi-independent), this replicator will have a truly independent
    > character.
    > > Analogous to the meme's eye view of memes `struggling' with fellow
    > memes
    > > to be adopted by brains, in this new breed of replicators
    > > auto-generated programs will compete with other programs
    > > of similar functionality to acquire residence within computer
    > > storage-facilities (`computer-brains').
    > >
    > > It is not that hard to show that AI programs easily qualify to be
    > > replicators. To do this the new replicator must satisfy the basic
    > criteria
    > > of Universal Darwinism: heredity, variability and selection.
    > > For brevity's sake, I will refer to the third replicator simply
    > > as the `thene' to carry the notion of a third replicator and to
    > honour
    > > our beloved first replicator, the `gene'. Through the near perfect
    > > robust storage facility inherent of computers, thenes satisfy
    > sufficient
    > > heredity. Thenes also feature variability as they can easily be
    > modified
    > > by the then automated process of reprogramming existing versions of
    > > thenes (quite analogous to the formative process of ever more new
    > versions
    > > of existing human-programmed software, such as is testified by the
    > sorry
    > > series of Windows: 95,98,2000). Selective competitive pressures also
    > come
    > > naturally since the number of hosts to accommodate thenes typically
    > are
    > > much lower in number than the number of competing thenes. Thenes thus
    > have
    > to
    > > compete with other memes for adoption.
    > >
    > > So does AI-technology promise a brand new breed of replicators, or
    > > did I make a glaring error in my line of argument?
    > The only essential change will be the degree to which thenes
    > will be dependant anymore upon humans, for reproduction.

    Well, the general idea is that thenes are to reproduced by
    their vehicles themselves, the smart AI-computers. Humans
    should have no part in that, in principle. Humans might initially
    install human-made programs so that smart computers increase
    comptetence by making use of them to process thenes. To use
    an analogy, smart computers do start at birth but at infancy.
    In other words, smart computers - initially made by humans -
    are rendered more able by providing them with auxiliary
    or operating software to implement basic operations such as
    copying software.
    This software too might nonetheless be subjected to
    artificial modification, and so acquire a thene-status.

    I forgot to mention in my original suggestion:
    Replication of thenes by other smart computers is mediated
    by transfer via electronic highways similar or identical
    to the present-day internet. Using the internet
    smart computers can link up with (or hack onto!) each other
    and perform imitation by copying (or stealing!) each other's

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