Re: Thesis: Memes are DNA-Slaves

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Sat Sep 29 2001 - 16:09:38 BST

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    Subject: Re: Thesis: Memes are DNA-Slaves
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    > > Just for completeness' sake: what if memes move house from
    > > the human brain to a meme-processing medium which can warrant
    > > higher fecundity, frequency and fidelity. If such a medium
    > > would emerge, memetic evolution would be faster and more profound
    > > with this medium. Consequently, evolutionary pressures would
    > > favor the latter medium. That is, the human brain would be
    > > outclassed by this better meme-juggling entity.

    > it's not the question of the medium. the point is, who selects memes?
    > if a machine would be developed which allowed fast spreading of memes
    > how should it select which ones should survive and which not? this
    > machine would need some rule to decide which memes are 'fit'. if this
    > rule wouldn't affect the machine itself okay. if there would be
    > another machine which has a rule so that the memes which survive help
    > the machine to survive or even help the machine to get rid of the
    > other machine which follows other rules it would win over the other
    > machine and finally there would be only the type of machine who has
    > the rule to select memes which help its kind to survive.

    Hi Salice,

    Exactly! You and I seem to be on the same level here...
    The medium not only has to have some criterion on which memes to
    adopt but also it should be motivated, in general, to adopt
    memes in the first place!
    I believe that in biological `machines' this behavior is governed
    by the reward path-way in the brain. The RP emits feelings of
    satisfaction after the organism has taken actions to increase
    the biological fitness it stands for. Copulation, feeding and
    fleeing for danger are such actions aiming to increase either
    fitness of its genes directly or its own personal fitness
    If such behaviors were not rewarded the organism would not be
    propelled to engage in the mentioned activities and
    repetition of them would be absent (reinforcement).
    In humans things are a little more complicated as we have
    culture to deal with as well. Cultural activities were
    rewarded ever since they proved to increase survival. That is,
    hunting skills, agricultural memes, food processing memes
    all originally served to increase personal fitness.
    Hence the reward center had an
    interest to reward cultural activities as well. Ever since
    memetic activity was rewarded, culture took off.
    It even follows logically that the RP carries
    both biological evolution and cultural evolution.

    To have some sort of cultural evolution in machines, they have
    to be equiped with a similar kind of reward mechanism too.
    If not, the machines would remain inactive as there is no impetus
    to do anything let alone use their valuable resources
    on spawning memes.

    > now let's assume 1000 different types of meme-handling machines
    > survived. together they form a set of rules. they create a culture.
    > in this culture each single machine is allowed to follow his personal
    > rules but the less accepted a personal rule is in the cultural
    > rule-set the less he will be allowed to follow this and the harder it
    > will be for this machine to function and to survive. some machine's
    > personal rules will be close to the cultural set of rules and they
    > can perform on their full potential. most won't. if too many machines
    > can't use a high enough percentage of their rules they will group
    > together and will try to change the set of rules, so that they can
    > use their personal rules in this new culture to survive.

    If resources to machines (e.g. electrical power, band-width)
    are scarce, analogous to biological
    evolution competition for it will be inevitable as the most
    eager and powerful machines will try to grab hold of them.
    Memetic evolution in machines will be kicked off then. The
    possibility of machines forming alliances to obtain more
    resources is not unthinkable indeed, as formation of social
    groups is quite common in the animal kingdom.


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