The Photocopier meme

Dr I Price (
Sat, 7 Jun 1997 12:34:14 -0400

Date: Sat, 7 Jun 1997 12:34:14 -0400
From: Dr I Price <>
Subject: The Photocopier meme
To: "" <>

Nick Rose writes

>"Is a photocopier a replicator?"; after all it *appears* to copy
things. The answer is obviously no, in my opinion. <

For the photo-copier in its functional role 'copying' then I agree it is
not a meme. But consider the replicative proliferation of photocopiers
since their invention. They have created organisational and individual
habits of copying and storing which encourage the further spread of
photocopiers. I am not saying this is good or bad, simply that from the
photocopier meme's perspective it has been highly successful at
replicating. I suspect in fact that we have to acknowledge the existence =
' technological memes' or technomemes which replicate indepenently of oth=
memetic 'phyla' such as language memes [linguomemes] or belief memes and
would be interested to know if anyone else has pursued this distinction.

Incidentally there are statistics, first compiled I believe by MITs
'management in the 90s project and published in Harvard Business Review
sometime in - I think - 1992 that compare productivity. measures as outpu=
per worker hour in manufacturing and non-manufacturing industry in the US=
from 1950 to 1990. The manufacturing curve is exponential. The
non-manufacturing curve tracks it until about 1975 then turns flat. It ha=
always struck me that the change coincides with the widespread
proliferation of photocopiers and other office systems technology.

If Price
Active Personal Learning, Guildford UK

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