Re: Artificial Societies and memetics

Bill Benzon (
Mon, 23 Jun 1997 07:27:16 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 07:27:16 -0500
From: (Bill Benzon)
Subject: Re: Artificial Societies and memetics

Shai Ophir asks:

>Thanks for Mark Mills and Bill Benzon for their replies on 'Memetics and
>the History of Ideas". I wonder what are the relations between memetics and
>complex systems theory. Especially computer simulations of complex systems.
>We can see the evolutionary development of social relations in computerized
>simulations (such as "Sugarscape"). Do uou suggest to consider such an
>emergance as a meme? The emergent cooperation for example, is not an idea
>which resides somewhere.In fact, it is not located within any of the
>entities simulated in a computer. But the cooperation among the virtual
>creatures is evolutionary self-developing. Can we consider this cooperation
>a meme?

I haven't got the foggiest idea & I'm not sure it much matters now,
especially since the concept of the meme is so much up in the air. I'm not
familiar with any of the computer simulations having to do either with
biological or cultural evolution. Computer simulation is obviously an
important tool & if it interests you, study it. At this point it may be
more important to understand the relationship between the algorithms and
data entities driving the simulation on the one hand and the emergent
behavior on the other. Figuring out whether this or that is a meme can
come later.

But, if you want to think about it now, whatever they are, memes should
reproduce themselves and they should combine with other memes. Do you see
that going on in Sugarscape?

William L. Benzon 201.217.1010
708 Jersey Ave. Apt. 2A
Jersey City, NJ 07302 USA

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