Meme machine


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Synopsis of MEME Machine by Dr Susan Blackmore. A study of new replicator bringing about changes in human behaviour. Behavioural Science.

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Meme machine

  1. 1. By Dr. Susan BlackmoreSynopsis of the book by M G Hariharan
  2. 2. INDEX-IForward by Richard Dawkins• Human beings are the only species that transfer knowledge Go To by imitations. This book talks about this subject MemeticsStrange Creatures• Why are humans so special. It cannot be explained by our Go To Genetic . Development at all.Selfish Gene so also Meme• The Gene specializes in duplicating itself and also in Go To changing to more advantageous position. But they are selfishMeme Vs Gene• How Meme affects Gene Go ToHow Meme spreads Go T0• Understanding about the spread of Memes
  3. 3. INDEX-IIWhat is not a Meme• All copying are not memes Go ToUnderstanding Copying• Lamarckism effect where acquired characteristics Go To and genetic characteristics are separatedMeme on Gene• The meme starts designing the gene to facilitate Go To itselfTalking- Language• All ideas ( Meme) are dead unless spoken Go ToMeme unleashed Go To• Understanding about the spread of Memes
  4. 4. Go Back to IndexForward by Richard DawkinsWe all imitate othersespecially our parents. Butsurprisingly the imitationcould become a basis for major theoryof evolution of human mind andexplosive inflation of human braineven of what it means to be a consciousself.Imitation is how child learns itsparticular language rather than someother language. Follow the religion ofour parents than some other religion.This entity which is givingconsciousness and taking control overus is called Meme. The subject of studyof this meme is called Memetics.These memes travel horizontallythrough genes and also laterally likeviruses in an epidemic.
  5. 5. Go Back to Index The study of Genetics is a long standing subject of study. But surprisingly the study of memes is also turning out in same line and has many similarities. It may not be one to one cogent. But it can give many indications of the line of growth. Whereas Gene is digital in nature and can replicate itselfSuccessfully Memes also have in many situation near clearduplication capability and also mutate and form different verities ofmutants of the original meme. Dr. Blackmore in this books comesout with many daring theories that are difficult to be challenged andexplains many anomalies in life that are otherwise in explicable.Dawkins suggests that meme theory will give a better insight into theworking of BrainDawkins appreciates the courage skill and dedication with which Dr.Susan has put the subject of Memetics into this book And stronglyrecommends this book for one and all.
  6. 6. Go Back to IndexStrange Creatures 1. Humans are evolved due to genetics selection process 2. But differ in many ways from others. 3. We speak 4. We wage war 5. Extraordinarily widespread. 6. We have religion 7. We are embarrassed about sex 8. We cremate/burry our Dead 9. We make technological progress. 10. Watch TV 11. Drive cars 12. We seem to ruin the ecosystem on which we depend 13. Biologically we are very near to other animals but behave very differently. 14. What is the reason for this changes behavior? Our language, Intelligence, or consciousness
  7. 7. We are strange because we are intelligent! Research in Artificial Intelligence has shown that Intelligence does not explain our behavior. Super intelligent computer Deep blue bet the world champion and proved that Intelligence does not explain our behavior. Simple house cleaning devices could not be made with artificial intelligence Our consciousness was presumed to make us what we were. But science could not explain Consciousness The answer was Clear No
  8. 8. First to understand ReplicatorsCarbon + Hydrogen + Oxygen from Atmosphere form DNAThe carbon Hydrogen and oxygen combine for form DNA. Which are initial formaof living organisms . These organisms can replicate themselves. Thus they arecalled living organisms. Though they are replicating themselves they sometimesundergo change and then replicate. This is called mutations.. Some of themutants due to environment or external conditions become extinct. All livingorganisms that we see are Replicators that have mutates from unicellular tomulticellular like animals and ultimately as Humans From UniCellular to Humans
  9. 9. Go Back to Index1. Tall Trees get more 2. The trees will compete withsunlight. So Tall trees each other and no tree will getgrow over short trees. the benefit. Each one will be soGenetically tall trees are close by that all trees will be atbenefiting.? Correct? No! disadvantage. But what ifGene of tall trees are ………………befitted but trees itself 3. We put a rule that only onecannot get the benefit, tree should exist within limited space. Then that tree which breaks this rule will benefit over others. 4. That is why men who break the rule will rule over us
  10. 10. Natural Selection? These genes are not evolving in any preordained direction. So also Memes are also not evolving in pre ordained pattern. No specific meme has any advantage over the other such as no gene has any advantage over the other. Extinction of particular Gene is a random possibility aided by external nature. A simple coffee wending machine follows algorithm. but Chaos theory states the end result of these algorithm is complex chaotic and unpredictable.
  11. 11. What IsMeme? Learn by imitation The word meme comes from mimicking . Man is the only animal that can imitate and learn and pass on this information from generation to generation. The information are ideas and are called memes. These memes are replicators and act as virus and replicate itself and have a life of their own
  12. 12. Progress? Why ?Hunting: is just 15Hrs per week with plenty of leisure time.Farming : Did not make life easier nor did it improve nutrition nor reduce disease. Itis called the end of Eden. Early days (during agriculture era) skeletons show toes andback are deformed. They show signs of rickets and abscesses in their jaw. There was no genetic advantage Memetics saysMemes can spread because they appear to be of advantage even though theyare not. Because they are easily Immitatable. What we are calling as progressfrom hammer to Xerox machine is directionless incremental imitations
  13. 13. For 3000 million years this was the only replicator Only replicator Meme is the next level of replicatorWe shall study the effect of this on Gene
  14. 14. TheseMemeshad a As the gene went on developing it reached a stage where Brainslife of could replicate ideas. Thus their another set of Replicators were on produced which started interacting with Genes and created complex situation.
  15. 15. Go Back to IndexRelation between Gene andMeme! The relation between Gene and Meme could be through leash But in the end Dog has a life of its own and leash has limited control
  16. 16. Meme a Brain Virus Though we may feel that Our brain is well developed its performance is like early computer & is highly susceptible to Viruses
  17. 17. Go Back to IndexHow Meme spread- Vehicle All thoughts are Memes But unless spoken they Die
  18. 18. Radio Meme Carriers Films TargetBooks PicturesTV Drama
  19. 19. Go Back to Index These are not memes .Parents shaping the child’s behavior
  20. 20. coughing Contagious BehaviorsThese are not memes. These are behaviors.
  21. 21. All imitations are not memes Garden bird was once seen pecking at milk bottles kept outside with mil Soon it was noticed many such birds started pecking at milk bottles. This is not case of imitation as pecking is their habit and only they noticed some fat available on the bottle. There is not imitation and learning in the process. Such examples cannot be given for imitation What about somebirds copying the door bell. Yes this is imitation but birdshave very limited such ability
  22. 22. Bird migration and learning to Nest from their parents etc are not imitation because no new things are learned and they just follow their instinct.Monkeys learnto fear snakefrom theirparents
  23. 23. Go Back to IndexBiological characteristics are not Lamarckian butsocial behaviors are.Though Lamarckian process of transferringacquired characteristics is not justified someexamples such as cutting the tail of the mice formany generations is partially transferable to newergenerations.So what exactly is Social characteristics transferredbut through meme.Se the slide next where acquired characteristics andgenetic characteristics are compared to transfer ofsoup making process through observations andthrough written recipe.
  24. 24. Transfer of soup preparation throughRecipe or through observation Observed process are not like genetic transfer Recipe transfer are like Once the Genetic process is transfercaptured inRecipe then it is notchangeable
  25. 25. Memes keep travellingbetween media and the brainand replicating itself in the process
  26. 26. Go Back to Index Huge Human Brain Due to natural selection? Ape If so the selection pressure must be identified. We seem to have brain surplus to requirements. Primitive hunters did not need this surplus brain but they still had it. 3 times Although our body was a product of continuous stages of developmentthe size of sudden change in Brain size is not explicable. Our Brain size is too large for Ape’s our body. Growth of fetus of primates (monkeys) in Brain early stages is same as human but later only the head/brain of human fetus keeps growing
  27. 27. The head size started increasing 2and half million years ago when stone tools started being discovered NeanderthalsIn last 5 million years there were many types of Extinct 35000 years back humanoids but today there are only 1 type. In last 100000 years all humanoids had same size brain.It is said that though Brain consists of 2% of Modernbody weight but consumes 20% of energy. This Humanoids.figure is misleading. When we are runningafter train with luggage the energy consumedis very highBut our muscles rest but brain doesnot
  28. 28. Fatty sheath The impulses consists of wave of Conducts depolarization Impulses which sweeps along HOW along the Axon as charged ions across Axons the membrane. The brain uses energy to maintain Axons chemical differences so that neurons are ready to fire.The Body’s energy budget must include the neurons firing atlow frequency all the time. So why should we have a big sizebrain wasting energy like this. The building of brain is alsoexpensive. Fatty sheath along Axon increases the speed ofimpulse. These sheaths are produced during fetal development.The homo erectus began eating more meat thanaustralopithecines- and started making tools to cut it up.
  29. 29. prefrontal cortex Because of the Heavy Head the childbirth is very dangerous for both mother and the child. Also erect biped status of Homosapians is also against The prefrontal cortex child birth is a very enlargedThe child born is also not fully portion and itsformed. The main head is still function is unknownunder developed and the skull isnot formed. Whereas many all This raises aapes give birth to fully formed Question thatchild humans alone give birth to Memes arechild which needs tending for forcing thesemany years to come. changes for its own benefit
  30. 30. Talking is energy consuming . You will know it when you are sick So Why has evolution produced such creatures consuming energy to speak.Memes produce this pressure to keep Talking
  31. 31. Selection for Imitation Better toolshelp in eating Biggeranimals so Some people quickly pick up the technology of Tool making . So better better imitators will rule the roost. food.
  32. 32. Selection for imitating the imitatorsMan or Woman better imitators have better selection Now that dress has been invented you better get dressed Now that basket has been invented better carry it in Basket Now that computers have come better be a SW engineer. And so o. Initially the best memes are that which is good for Gene. People who copy survival relevant memes have better chance than who carry irrelevant memes
  33. 33. Go Back to IndexLanguageOne of the most important evidence of Meme is language. Human beingsare the only animals which has such wide communication skills which arenot only verbose but involves complicated grammar. Such complicatedgrammar has no genetic advantage . Such skills are not actually taught butacquired without much efforts by children. By the time they are taughtABCD.. Etc they can communicate fluently and effortlessly. Even deaf anddumb people use very complicated sign language which is very friendly.Same time teaching to chimpanzees is very difficult and takes years forjust 3 word sentences.
  34. 34. Brain has not been modified for speaking Then what are the differences that make us speakTo override the mechanism of breathing while speaking cortical control mechanism is required; Base of the skull is different shape and Larynx is lower than other apes Cortical control and larynx do not leave fossils. The base of the skull is different only in Humanoids.
  35. 35. Successful Replicator ……by Dawkins Fidelity • Accuracy • Accuracy ensures the success of spreading Fecundity • How many copies • More copies More survival chances Longevity • How long Life • Longer the life longer the spread
  36. 36. Language ensures all the threeaspects of Meme spreading Fidelity • Accuracy of language like Sanskrit can spread cultural dominance better Fecundity • More educated society can spread Memes better Longevity • Dominant Culture can spread its meme for longer time period and dominate.Thus High fidelity languages are born. In India English becomes dominant due its high fidelity and longevity. The comparative life of regional languages will become low
  37. 37. Gene Gene Interactions Compete When genes compete their special advantage will win over the other. White wins over Brown Compete Butter flies that have better camouflage compete with Birds with better eyesight. Microbes inside body Ivy and tree Ants and Aphids Co habit and compliment
  38. 38. Selfish GenesBeavers Dams, Spiders Webs and Snails shells are examples of how genes effect each other related or not related. In the case oh Snails and parasitic Flukes the relation is only mutually beneficial. There is no other relation and each is governed by its own requirements.
  39. 39. Gene vs Meme As long as meme is under thecontrol of Gene the dog is on leash Genes have biological advantage.Liking for sex, sweets fear of snakes etc are in place. These are stuff of biology, ethology, sociology, and evolutionary psychology When the Dog is not on leash the situation cannot be predicted based on Biological advantage This subject is called mematics. The two examples discussed till now are Big Brain and Languages.
  40. 40. Go Back to Index Three Steps to Memes spreading Mimetic DrivingSELECTIONSurvival of GENETIC MATINGsome Ability tomemes at imitate the With bestthe cost of new Memes imitatorsothers
  41. 41. Mimetic SelectionTools• Tools compete with better toolsPots• Pot making improves with better and better Pot makingDancing• Good dancers are imitated and dancing improvesSpeech• Good communication and better Languages developArt• Better Arts are appreciated and develops
  42. 42. Genetic Selection & Mating Men • Men with better imitating ability prosper and genes of such men Prosper Women • Women prefer to mate with better imitating men and thus propagate mimetic progress
  43. 43. Baldwin Effect James Baldwin Salamander Intelligence, Imitation & Learning affect Selection Salamanders catch flies by jumping. The one Salamander that jumps the highest will catch maximum flies and has better chance of survival. Salamander withstrong legs and the one s that jump high are better in the gene pool and they slowly tend to become like frogs. Perfectly Darwinian effect. Now imagine there are two types of flies One spotted (edible)and one stripped. ( Inedible)The frog lings that can know the difference are inbetter genetic pool. But if Flies change faster that the froglings can then those froglings that learn to choose are better off than others. This advantage of learning is Baldwin Effect Frogling
  44. 44. Gregorian Creatures • Memes are Intelligence Enhancers .Humans are the only creatures in this floor. Popperian • They can not only learn but imagine the outcome and solve the problems in their head. Skinnerian • These are animals that learn by Trial and Error. These animals can Learn Darwinian • Ground Floor is occupied by Darwinian Creatures built on the natural selection of GenesTower of generate and test
  45. 45. Till now we saw the Gene Meme effect enhancing the Gene Co evolution Baldwin Effect Meme is the next level of replicator We shall study the effect of this on Gene When the dog is not in Leash
  46. 46. Slaves in Rebellion We are going to see that it was not just dog From the fourth unleashed but Elephant floor of Dennett’s run amok Tower the Memes are unleashed on its own course The Genes had no Foresight that Theywere Cohabiting with another replicator It was Spartacus in Control
  47. 47. Super fast Brain growth that no wayhelps the Genes and in fact caused Death to child and Mother is one such example Huge Energy Consumption Normally in all animals its close relations are existing in parallel But in the case of Humans all hominids have been destroyed and only one that is we are existing Probably designed by the memes
  48. 48. Continued in Meme machine II Still under development
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