Re: Fwd: The adman is a PC

Bill Spight (
Tue, 07 Sep 1999 08:44:32 -0700

Date: Tue, 07 Sep 1999 08:44:32 -0700
From: Bill Spight <>
Subject: Re: Fwd: The adman is a PC

Dear Wade,

I think this story highlights an important point that memetics must address. In many optimizations, instruction beats variation and selection. The computer program followed an instructive approach, the unskilled, untutored humans followed a generate and select approach.

In the competion for survival, which is ultimately a question of selection, how is instruction incorporated? For genetic evolution we do not need instruction. But instruction seems to be intrinsic to memetic evolution, not just because we observe it, but because it succeeds.

Dr. Goldenberg and Dr. Mazursky, who are in
the school of business, and Dr. Solomon, of
the physics department, designed the program
to counter a hoary principle in creativity theory
that the most original ideas are born of utter
freedom, a shifting of paradigms, a circling of
the square, a streaming of consciousness, a
squelching of the internal editor.

Instead, they argue, their work on templates
indicates that constraining options and
focusing thought in a specific, rigorous and
discerning direction may yield comparatively
fresher results.

"To suspend criticism and think any idea is
possible or good may ultimately be destructive
to creativity," said Dr. Goldenberg.

I do not know if they characterized current creativity theory correctly, but in brainstorming the first phase is the production of ideas without criticism; then the best ideas are selected.

IMHO, one thing pertinent to memetics that this research shows is that the evolutionary approach to problem solving is a weak method in the area of advertising, something that is well known in general. (It also demonstrated the relevance of certain factors in advertising.)

How memetics meshes with problem solving is a very interesting question, I think. <s>



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