Storyboard for "An Evolutionary Hypothesis for the Origins of Socio-Technical Humans and their Organizations"


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The slide set forms a draft storyboard explaining the co-evolution of human technology, cognition, culture and organizations forming Episode 5 of my hypertext book, "Application Holy Wars or a New Reformation - A Fugue on the Theory of Knowledge".

The book is a fugal hypertext exploring the evolution of human cognition, technology and knowledge over the last 5 million years, considering revolutionary technologies of material tools, mnemonics, books, libraries, computer memories, the World Wide Web, etc.

The structure of the book is based on one of the greatest cognitive artifacts of the Renaissance - the fugue. The fugue here consists of a Subject, Counter Subject, 5 Episodes with an Interlude, and concludes with a Cadenza and Coda.
• Subject explores theoretical foundations of knowledge and its growth.
• Counter subject discusses how show how recursive evolutionary processes cybernetically transform data into knowledge and power.
• Episode 1 discusses how the inventions of counting, writing, books and the printing press enabled and enhanced the major conceptual revolutions of the Renaissance, Reformation, Scientific and Industrial Revolutions.
• Episode 2 follows the invention of and revolutionary growth of digital computer technology within my lifetime.
• Episode 3 considers the inventions and revolutions in computer-based "productivity" applications for individual use and their roles in on-going cognitive revolutions in the way people generate and use knowledge.
• Interlude introduces deep theory regarding the co-emergence and co-evolution of knowledge and life based on unification of evolutionary epistemology and autopoiesis.
• Episode 4 explores early impacts of social and cloud computing technologies that have come to prominence since around 2008 to fuel the emergence of what may be called humano-technical individuals and socio-technical organizations.
• Episode 5 (this slide set) looks at the five million year history of humanity from an evolutionary point of view to explore how co-evolution and revolutions in technology and cognition enabled our ancestors, simple tool-using apes stranded by climate change on the African savanna, to completely dominate the biosphere of Planet Earth.
• Cadenza explores how issues arising from the episodes affect the nature of knowledge and its impacts on individuals, organizations and society who need to use knowledge in a competitive environment.
• Coda considers the future. Is there a sting in the tale? Are the current revolutions a point of inflection in a logistic growth (sigmoid) curve or are we rising along a true evolutionary singularity (or spike) as some would claim?

These slides cover 5 million years of human evolution to explain how straight-forward evolutionary processes turned groups of tool-using forest apes with minor tendencies towards cooperation into socio-technical organizations of humano-technical individuals controlling the entire Earth.

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Storyboard for "An Evolutionary Hypothesis for the Origins of Socio-Technical Humans and their Organizations"

  1. 1. Understanding the origins of socio-technical humans and their organizations (~Episode 5) — Coevolution of technology, cognition, culture and organizations: working hypothesis William P. Hall President Kororoit Institute Proponents and Supporters Assoc., Inc. - Access my research papers supporting the work from Google Citations
  2. 2. Application Holy Wars or a New Reformation a fugue on the theory of knowledge  Hypertext book explores coevolution and revolutions in human cognition and cognitive technologies leading to the emergence of modern knowledge-based socio- technical organizations as living entities  Last episode explains how coevolution of cognition and technologies enabled forest-dwelling apes to become “human” and dominate the entire planet in something like 5 my.  Key discoveries over the last 2-3 years allow construction of a complete evolutionary hypothesis – Genomics – Paleontology – Paleoarchaeology 2 – Comparative biology – Comparative ethology – Cognitive science
  3. 3. 3 Book theme: Revolutions in material technology cause grade shifts in the ecological nature of the human species  M = millions, K = thousands, C = centuries, D = decades, Y = years, (A = ago)  Accelerating change in our material technologies: – > 5 mya - Tool Making: sticks and stone tools plus fire (~ 1 mya) extend human reach, diet and digestion – ~ 11 kya- Agricultural Revolution: Ropes and digging implements control and manage non–human organic metabolism – ~ 3.5 ca - Industrial Revolution: extends/replaces human and animal muscle power with inorganic mechanical power – ~ 5 da - Microelectronics Revolution: extends human cognitive capabilities with computers – > 10 ya - Cyborg Revolution: convergence of human and machine cognition with smartphones (today) and neural prosthetics (tomorrow)
  4. 4. 4 Grade shifting revolutions in human technologies repeatedly reinvent the nature of individual cognition  Accelerating change in extending human cognition – > 5 mya – Tacit transfer of tool-using/making knowledge begins to add cultural inheritance to genetic inheritance – ~ 1 mya - Emergence of speech for the direct transfer of cultural knowledge between individuals – ~ 11 kya – Invention of physical counters (11 K), writing and reading (5 K) to record and transmit knowledge external to human memory (technology to transfer culture) – ~ 5.6 ca - printing and universal literacy transmit knowledge to the masses (cultural use of technology) – ~ 32 ya - computing tools actively manage corporate data/ knowledge externally to the human brain (32 Y) and personal knowledge (World Wide Web - 18 Y) – ~ 10 ya- smartphones merge human and technological cognition (human & technological convergence) – ~ Now: Emergence of human-machine cyborgs (wearable and implanted technology becoming part of the human body)
  5. 5. Cognitive advances enable grade shifting revolutions in cultural and organizational cognition  Accelerating change in extending human cognition – > 5 mya – social hunting/defence  cooperative foraging & hunting – ~ 1.0 mya - linguistically coordinated activities around campfires form cohesive groups (mime, dancing, singing, story- telling, myth, ritual) – ~ 200 kya – mnemonic songlines apply ritual & method of loci to landscapes to build & retain cultural memories – ~ 12 kya – mnemonic guilds enable husbandry, settlement, farming & economic specialization – ~ 7 kya – tokens & writing enable bureaucratic cities & states – ~ 6 ca – communications, coordination & rise of chartered companies – ~ 100 ya – instant communication & rise of transnationals – ~ Now – emergence of global brains & global cognition5
  6. 6. Some recent milestone publications constraining the development of an evolutionary hypothesis explaining how this happened
  7. 7. Critically informative species of Homo  Dmanisi Georgia (Lordkipanidze et al. e.g., 2013) - Variation in H. georgicus shows H. erectus, ergaster, & probably also rudolfensis and habilis form one chronospecies persisting through time  erectus longest lived Homo, spread widely through Africa and (via Dmanisi) Eurasia  floresiensis (Hobbit) lived a few thousand years ago on Flores (Indonesia) probably derived from erectus (Kubo et al. 2013).  Modern sibling species: analysis of highly accurate genomes from modern sapiens and Denisovans (Meyer et al. 2012) & Neanderthals (Prüfer et al 2014) from Denisova Cave, Altai Mountains, Siberia show – Evolutionary divergence ~ 300 kya, – Limited interbreeding with introgression – Hybrid infertility sufficient for effective isolation 7 Wood, B. 2012. Facing up to complexity. Nature 488, 162- 163 -
  8. 8. Fossils (1.8 my) first hominins out of Africa – ancestor/early Homo erectus 8 Lordkipanidze, D., et al. 2013. A complete skull from Dmanisi, Georgia, and the evolutionary biology of early Homo. Science 342, 326-331 Lordkipanidze, D., et al. 2005. The earliest toothless hominin skull. Nature 434, 717-718. (Oct. 2013) 1.8 mya ~550-730 cc cranial capacity, fully bipedal, scavanged or hunted large game with Oldowan grade butchering tools; first hominins out of Africa (Hertler et al. 2013) Individual had been toothless for years before death, implying strong social support network?
  9. 9. Latest genomics (5 my) establishes accurate genealogy, showing bifurcations and interspecific hybridization 9 Prüfer, K., et al., Pääbo, S. 2014. The complete genome sequence of a Neanderthal from the Altai Mountains. Nature 505, 43–49 – Meyer, M., et al., Pääbo, S. 2014. A mitochondrial genome sequence of a hominin from Sima de los Huesos. Nature 505, 403–406 - From 300-400 kya fossil Homo Red arrows show inter- specific hybridization with introgression of genes and proportion of genome introgressed (Dec. 2013) 4500 kya Shows stepwise genealogical derivation based on sequence of single nucleotide mutations (Dec, 2013)
  10. 10. Eriksson A et al. PNAS 2012;109:16089-16094  Genomic analysis shows all living humans descended from people living in the E or S Africa some 70 kya. Eurasian mDNA six steps derived from oldest African  Neanderthal/Denisovan ancestor (anticessor / heidelbergensis?) entered Eurasia before sapiens emigrants from Africa  Except for genes surviving from limited introgressive hybridization where they met Neanderthals & Denisovans, African emigrants to Eurasia replaced all pre-existing hominins including the wide-spread H. erectus that entered Eurasia by 1.8 mya. Hominins exiting the East African homeland 10 Behar 2008; Cruciani et al. 2011; Rasmussen et al. 2011; Oppenheimer 2012; Henn et al. 2012; Sankararaman et al. 2012; Pugach et al. 2012; Boivin et al. 2013; Mellars 2013; Fu et al. 2013; Rohling et al. 2013; Sankararaman et al. 2014; Vernot & Akey 2014;
  11. 11. Thinking about hominid evolution
  12. 12. Paleoclimatology over 7 my describes a framework of fluctuating ecological change driving hominin evolution 12 Potts, R. 2013. Hominin evolution in settings of strong environmental variability. Quaternary Science Reviews 73, 1-13  Hominin evolution and environmental variability over the past 7 million years.  Alternative responses to variability – Genetic adaptation (change) – Cultural change – Cultural accumulation
  13. 13. Genes & memes – genetic vs cultural adaptation  Genes – Determine individual anatomical, physiological and neurological capacities – Mutation: physical change to one or more DNA nucleotides on a chromosome  Change is slow multi-generational process depending on natural selection  Movement rather than increased versatility  Meme = unit of culture (an idea or value or pattern of behavior or knowledge) that may be passed between individuals or from one generation to another by non-genetic means – Change often intra-generational depending on innovation, social relationships and processes – Transmission limited by genetic capacity to communicate detailed information – Essential information easily lost or corrupted over generations. – Rate and extent of cultural accumulation depend on genetic capacity, group size, (culturally transmitted) cultural practices13
  14. 14. Adaptation = application of genetic or cultural knowledge to solve problems of life  Natural selection on genes works at the level of individual genetic variation depending on successes of carriers of particular genes in the population  Selection on cultural knowledge works at the level of culturally variant groups, depending on successes of the different groups. – A group whose shared cultural knowledge allows it to solve problems other groups can’t solve grows at the expense of those other groups – Successful items of cultural knowledge may be carried by individuals between groups to speed the evolutionary arms race  Rate of cultural evolution depends on individuals’ genetically determined capacities to understand, remember, and transmit cultural knowledge14
  15. 15. Niche shifts (left) vs niche expansions (right). Vertical axis represents survival probability of particular phenotypes.  Niche shift – Mutation is blind – Natural selection tracks current requirements, generally with continuing specialization  Niche expansion – Retain original adaptation together with adding new capabilities, i.e., accumulation or (very rare) cases of gene duplication and functional divergence – New mutation crosses adaptive threshold opening new adaptive landscape (i.e., grade shift)15
  16. 16. Evolutionary hypothesis ― How tool-using savanna apes came to dominate Planet Earth
  17. 17. Socially foraging, tool-using forest apes in East African Rift Valley 5 mya 17 Chimps using probes to collect ants. Probe is inserted almost to full length into earth. Child watching mother crack otherwise inedible palm nuts using stone hammer & anvil. Adaptive plateaus achieved in the Pliocene as our ancestors became more bipedal and better adapted to open and arid environments (White et al. 2009) (click pictures below to view videos)
  18. 18. Comparative anatomy and biology: rapidly varying ecology during climatic pulses selects for increasing brain capacity  Brain capacities correlate with cognitive capacities (many works over many years).  Major climatic pulse (expansion/contraction E African Rift lakes) causes rapid ecological variation ~1.8 mya – Proliferation hominin species – Initial colonization of Eurasia (Dmanisi) – Rapid increase in brain capacity in H. erectus (broadly defined) – Acheulean hand axes begin to appear around 1.7 mya. 18 (Dmanisi) Shultz, S., Maslin, M. 2013. Early human speciation, brain expansion and dispersal influenced by African climate pulses. PLoS ONE 8(10): e76750. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076750 - Pink bars indicate pulses of climate change in E Africa.
  19. 19. Impacts of environmental change and variability in E African Rift (Olduvai, etc.) between 3.0 and 1.5 mya  Long periods (lasting ∼130–330 ky each) of magnified moist-arid variability occurred between 3.0 and 1.5 mya.  Possible modes of adaptation – Fail to track (= extinction) – Track with adaptive change (shift niche) – Become more versatile (expand niche)  Limits to genetic adaptation – Slow & ponderous (intergenerational) – Do one thing or the other not both  Cultural adaptation – Fast (intragenerational) – Group-based phenomenon – cultural knowledge pertains to group not particular individuals – Group knowledge easily lost (dependent on intergenerational knowledge transfer, in turn dependent on genetically determined capacities, group size, structure, and dynamics) – Culturally transmitted knowledge relating to tool-making and use was grade-shifting  Savanna ape inherited limited capacity to transmit cultural knowledge and existing culture of simple tool-making and use from CLCA 19 Potts, R. 2013. Environmental and behavioral evidence pertaining to the evolution of early Homo. Current Anthropology 53(S6), S229-S317.
  20. 20.  Forest-dwelling chimpanzee-human last common ancestor (CLCA) – Primarily frugivorous with some tool-based extractive foraging – Fission-fusion social structure, some transfer of cultural knowledge – High selfishness, limited cooperation in defense and hunting  Savanna ape as extractive foragers – Edible plant resources more widely scattered and harder to find – New kinds of resources needed  Roots, tubers and nuts  Meats – New dangers  Big cats  Hyenas  Wild dogs  Bears  Selection pressures – Retain & transfer cultural knowledge – Increase memory & cognitive capacity Climatic deterioration in E African Rift Valley expelled forest apes from the Garden of Eden ~5 mya 20 (Tattersall 2012)
  21. 21. Hominins using haak en steek branches as tools (Guthrie 2007): a. for driving big cats away from their prey. b. for hunting - given the simple conversion of a thorn branch into a "megathorn" lance. Cooperative defense and scavenging of carnivore kills cached in trees gave early hominins increased access to meat on the savanna  Simple requisites for grade shift to aggressive scavenging on the ground – Coordinated & cooperative defense and offense using effective deterrence – Oldowan butchering tools for cutting skin & ligaments 21  Savanna offers limited resource of edible plant foods but a rich supply of grass-eating herbivore meat  Chimpanzee social defence against leopards is uncoordi- nated mobbing with clubs as per video (click to view) - Might deter leopard from returning to tree cache - Not a pride of lions or mob of hyenas on ground
  22. 22. 22 With thorn branches, spears and stone butchering tools, hominins became top carnivores on the savanna  Oldowan tools made & used from 2.6 to 1.7 mya – Hominin teeth can’t tear skin and flesh of large prey – Anvils & hammer stones used to access marrow from scavenged carcasses – Kanzi the bonobo learned to break stones & use flakes as cutting tools – Early hominin culture assimilates knowledge that broken hammer stones can be used to cut skin & ligaments for butchering large prey before lost to competing carnivores and scavengers  More sophisticated Acheulean hand choppers & other tools made & used from 1.7 mya to 0.1 mya facilitated butchering but required greater knowledge & dexterity to make  Note exceedingly slow rate of technological change – Suggests neural/social/linguistic capacity to accumulate knowledge of complex technologies was stringently limited for most of hominin history
  23. 23.  3 mya cooperative and aggressive scavenging of kills reduced food supply for some species of carnivores causing local extinctions.  1.8 mya tool-using hominins in Olduvai Gorge were top carnivores selectively hunting prime quality bovid prey.  By 1.77 mya carnivorous hominins extended to Dmanisi, Georgia, and soon spread across Asia and into Europe (as H. erectus) By 3 to 2 mya hominin competition and dominance of other carnivores begins to reduce overall carnivore diversity in E. Africa 23 Werdelin & Lewis 2013.
  24. 24.  Genetic enhancements to meet increasing cognitive needs – Capacity for geographical (mental map) and natural history knowledge – Understand time & process to plan & coordinate hunting – Better neuromuscular control and knowledge of resources & planning for tool making & use – Increased capacity for teaching & learning  Facilitate master-apprentice and other social relationships  Share and direct attention to critical aspects of process & technique  Use gesture, mime and acting-out (dance)  Cultural accumulation of knowledge begins to replace genetic change as most important adaptive mechanism – Knowledge accumulation still limited  Capacity to remember  Slow genetic evolution of more memory capacity – Technological innovations may be lost & reinvented several times & may take hundreds of thousands of years to be consolidated 2 – 1.5 mya selective environment for hominin carnivores affecting genetic & cultural changes 24
  25. 25. Theoretical interlude: ― Unification of Karl Popper’s evolutionary theory of knowledge and Maturana and Varela’s autopoiesis Hall, W.P. 2011. Physical basis for the emergence of autopoiesis, cognition and knowledge. Kororoit Institute Working Papers No. 2: 1-63.
  26. 26. Popper’s evolutionary theory of knowledge Natural selection builds knowledge (= solutions to problems) 26 Pn a real-world problem faced by a living entity TS a tentative solution/theory. Tentative solutions are varied through serial/parallel iteration EE a test or process of error elimination Pn+1 changed problem as faced by an entity incorporating a surviving solution The whole process is iterated  All knowledge claims are constructed, cannot be proven to be true  TSs may be embodied as “structure” in the “knowing” entity, or  TSs may be expressed in words as hypotheses, subject to objective criticism; or as genetic codes in DNA, subject to natural selection  Objective expression and criticism lets our theories die in our stead  Through cyclic iteration, sources of errors are found and eliminated  Solutions/theories become more reliable as they survive repetitive testing  Surviving TSs are the source of all knowledge! Karl Popper, Objective Knowledge – An Evolutionary Approach (1972), pp. 241-244
  27. 27. Knowledge-based autopoietic groups as higher-order evolutionary entities  Accumulated knowledge determines system’s structural adaptations to ensure survival and (re)production  An entity is defined to be autopoietic if it exhibits all the criteria – Bounded (groups geographically and socially separated with culturally regulated and limited mixing) – Complex (groups formed of several to many individuals playing various different roles in group) – Mechanistic (energetically/economically driven interactions of group individuals determine group functions) – Self-referential (group identity and boundaries determined by culturally transmitted knowledge) – Self-producing (group retains its continuity beyond the lifetimes of single individuals through individual reproduction and recruitment combined with indoctrination in and transmission of accumulated cultural knowledge from one generation to the next) – Autonomous (the group manages its own survival and continuity through knowledge-based interactions of its individual members)  Hierarchically nested systems possible – Cells  Organisms  Social organizations  Communities 27
  28. 28. Popper’s “three worlds” ontology Energy flow Thermodynamics Physics Chemistry Biochemistry Cybernetic self-regulation Cognition Consciousness Tacit knowledge Genetic heredity Recorded thought Computer memory Logical artifacts Explicit knowledge Reproduce/Produce Develop/Recall World 1 External Reality World 2 Organismic/personal/ situational/subjective/tacit knowledge in world 2 emerges from world 1 World 3 The world of “objective” knowledge produced in world 2 “living knowledge” “codified knowledge” The real world 28
  29. 29. 29 Popper’s knowledge in an autopoietic entity 29 Material Reality WORLD 1 AUTOPOIETIC SYSTEM Embodied cybernetic knowledge WORLD 2 Recall ITERATION/SELECTION THROUGH TIME Produce Symbolically encoded knowledge/ memory WORLD 3 The physical system and its dynamics The impact of history (and introspective feedback) on current structure and dynamics Codified heritage Epistemic cuts
  30. 30. Knowledge-based autopoietic groups as higher-order evolutionary entities 30
  31. 31. Emergence of the knowledge-based socio- technical organization Socio-technical ecological entity = group + tools
  32. 32. Language and the emergence of hominin groups as higher order autopoietic systems  Drivers for the evolution of a faculty of language – Coordination of individuals’ involvement in group activities and society – Facilitates transfer of the body of essential cultural (i.e. survival) knowledge/heritage  Survival knowledge shared and propagated via language among the group and across generations determines success on the adaptive landscape – group selection  Language - Phenomenon of groups not individuals  Probably evolved > 500kya in common ancestor to Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans  Common language, cultural norms & xenophobia determine and help to maintain boundaries of knowledge-based groups 32
  33. 33. 33 Cognitive skills needed to accumulate knowledge for niche expansion (Vaesen 2012; Sterelny 2011, 2012a, b)  Hand-eye coordination - fine motor control needs more neurons  Causal reasoning - time-binding; understand goals, actions, and consequences  Function representation - associate particular tools with particular jobs  Natural history intelligence - conscious attention to understanding the behaviors of predators, prey, fire, other changing aspects of environment  Executive control – anticipating, deciding & planning; not just reacting  Social intelligence - extended childhood, social learning (imitation not emulation), understanding of intentions of others (mirror neurons?), focused teaching & learning, apprenticeship  Intragroup coordination  Intergroup collaboration  Language
  34. 34. Red oval = Broca’s Area Stout, D., Chaminade, T. 2012. Stone tools, language and the brain in human evolution. Philosophical Transactions Royal Society B 367, 75-87 -  Triadic niche construction: neural/cognitive/ecological (Iriki & Taoka 2012)  Brocas’ Area – Expanded area of brain involved in speech and fine motor control – Identifiable in hominin endocasts – H. habilis like modern humans compared to apes. – Mirror System Hypothesis (MSH) proposes primitive action-matching system evolved to support imitation, pantomime, manual ‘protosign’ and ultimately vocal language  FOXP2 and other speech related genetic changes affected Broca’s area in our common ancestors with Neanderthals and Denisovans  Food processing technologies make food more digestible enabling natural selection to divert metabolic resources from the digestive system to development of larger brains  Larger brains support increased cognitive capacity: memory, mental maps, greater social complexity, better neuromuscular coordination Genetic & physiological enhancements facilitating the emergence of language 34
  35. 35. Language and the emergence of hominin groups as higher order autopoietic systems  Language - phenomenon of groups not individuals (one hand clapping = nonsense)  Drivers for the evolution of a faculty of language – Coordinates individuals’ involvement in group activities and society – Transmits essential cultural knowledge (heritage)  Common language, cultural norms & xenophobia determine group boundaries  Cultural knowledge propagated among individuals between generations by language determines group success on the adaptive landscape  An entity is autopoietic if it exhibits all the criteria (Varela et al. 1974) – Bounded (groups separated socially by cultural differences and breeding systems) – Complex (groups formed by multiple individuals playing different roles in group) – Mechanistic (interactions of group individuals determine group functions & activities) – Self-referential (group identity determined by culturally transmitted knowledge) – Self-producing (group retains its continuity beyond the lifetimes of single individuals through individual reproduction and recruitment combined with indoctrination in and transmission of accumulated cultural knowledge from one generation to the next) – Autonomous (group manages its own survival and continuity through knowledge-based interactions of its individual members)  Autopoietic entities represent units of selection  Pre-linguistic groups probably qualified as autopoietic – but group identity and adaptive variation greatly strengthened by language-assisted cultural accumulation 35
  36. 36. 36 Fire users, keepers, & makers  Opportunistic users > 3 mya ? – Savanna burns naturally every 2-5 years – Knowing that just burnt savanna is a good source of high cuisine  roast meat much more digestible than raw  Roasting makes inedible/indigestible nuts, roots & tubers edible  Fire keepers > 1 mya (Rolland 2004; Twomey 2011) – Keepers much better off (cooking, warmth, deter predators) – Loss of fire potentially catastrophic to group – Maintaining fire requires social coordination  Know how to feed and keep a fire (process knowledge)  Know how to move fire to a new place before fuel resource used up (anticipation, planning, techniques) – Keeping the fire is a driver to increase cognitive capacity  Fire makers ~ 0.5 – 0.4 mya – Knowing how to start a fire without a natural source  Striking a spark (what rocks, what tinder?)  Using a fire stick to create friction embers
  37. 37. 37 Fire makers (~500 kya)  Schöningen ~ 400 - 380 kya (See next slide)  Bilzingsleben 370 kya (single occupation period for an open-air hunting camp – Mania & Mania 2005) – Acheulian stone tools – 3 huts with internal hearths – four separate “activity areas” identified by different tool kits & other artefacts  tool making  stone paved area for spit roasting  skin and bone processing area  another well paved area with a single hearth & suggestion of ritual alter – Fossil remains of elephants, rhinoceros, horses, bison, red deer, fallow deer, roe deer, pigs, cave lions, cave bears, grey wolves, spotted hyenas, red foxes, badgers, and martens
  38. 38. Schöningen – Complex toolkit (400 – 380 kya) 38 Thieme, H. 2005. The Lower Palaeolithic art of hunting: the case of Schöningen 13 II-4, Lower Saxony, Germany. (in) Gamble, C., Porr. M. (eds), The Hominid Individual in Context: Archaeological investigations of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic landscapes, locales and artifacts. Routledge, Oxford, pp. 115-132 • Pre Neanderthal • Seasonal hunting camp • Level I (the older) – flint artifacts, – more than a thousand bones of ten mammalian taxa, – 4 worked silver fir branches with diagonal grooves cut into one end – probably for holding sharp flakes (oldest known compound tools) • Level II single season’s hunting camp containing more than 25,000 well preserved bones, (>90% horses showing signs of butchery. Four separate hearths were also identified. All stone artifacts were flint brought the site ready made. The only flint debris is from retouching, and bone retouching tools were also found. Wooden tools included a double pointed throwing stick and nine wooden spears or throwing javelins with flame hardened tips ranging in length between 1.8 and 2.5 m left (ritually?) with prey remains • Organization & capacity suggests language
  39. 39. 39 How much knowledge does it take to make & use tools? Killing prey with stone-tipped spears  Understanding cognitive demands of technologies  Thinking a stone-tipped spear – sequence of steps to make a spear used to bring down prey (chains of operation/cognigram) – making a bow and arrow set is at least 3x more difficult – each arrow indicates ordered application of specific knowledge (Lombard 2012; Lombard & Haidle 2012)
  40. 40.  Development of increasingly complex stone tools (Stout 2011) correlates with larger brain capacity and language development.  Even with language, knowledge is limited by what can be learned, remembered, and passed on by single individuals.  By < 500 kya, pace of change in the capacity to deal with multiple complexities is too fast for genetic adaptation  < 50 kya increasing rate of change suggests major innovation to support accumulation of much larger volumes of knowledge. What enabled increasing tool complexity? 40 Acheulian Oldowan Introduction & exponential growth of new technologies
  41. 41. Modified from Krubitzer & Stolzenberg (2014)  “All modern human populations have language, and there is no difference in language capacity between living human populations. Parsimony implies that the most recent common ancestor of all modern humans had language, and had all the biological prerequisites for language” (Johansson 2013).  The common distribution of language proxies across human and neanderthals in genomic, paleoanthropological, and paleoarcheological contexts show that human, Denisovan and Neanderthal common ancestor had a capacity for modern language, speech and culture (Dediu & Levinson 2013, etc.)41 Krubitzer, L., Stolzenberg, D.S. 2014. The evolutionary masquerade: genetic and epigenetic contributions to the neocortex. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 24, 157-165. Dediu, D., Levinson, S.C. 2013. On the antiquity of language: the reinterpretation of Neandertal linguistic capacities and its consequences. Frontiers in Language Science DOI=10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00397/ Johansson, S. 2013. The talking neanderthals: what do fossils, genetics, and archeology say? Biolinguistics 7, 35-74. Schöningen & Bilzingsleben Indicators for the emergence of modern cognition in Neanderthals & H. sapiens
  42. 42. Two extraordinary snapshots imply that linguistic capabilities already existed 400 kya in LCA Neanderthal / H. sapiens  Schöningen II (single-use hunting camp 380 kya – Thieme 2005) – Captured, butchered and processed at least 20 horses – Tools made elsewhere include 9 wood lances left (ritually?) with herd remains – 4 hearths, associated tools & evidence for spit-roasting, smoking and drying – Earliest evidence for compound tools  Bilzingsleben (base camp 370 kya - Mania & Mainia 2005) – 3 x 3-4 m dia. huts with hearths all oriented against wind – Prey included fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, elephants, rhinoceros, horses, bison, deer, pigs, lions, bears, wolves, hyenas, foxes, badgers, and martens – Spit roasting & smoking for preservation – Evidence for making & use of wide variety of stone and bone tools – Paved area with artifacts suggestive of ritual activities.  Implications – Long-range planning (harvesting and preserving; anticipating the need) – Planning and coordinating cooperative hunting of large, dangerous animals – Wide range of natural history, tool-making and food-processing knowledge – Ritual activities/thinking  Diversity and complexity of cultural knowledge for inferred activities beyond the capacity to communicate without language. 42
  43. 43. The Middle Stone Age (Africa) / Middle Paleolithic (Europe) was a post Acheulian technological plateau (~ 300 → ~ 50 kya)  Primary references: Current Anthropology, Vol. 54, No. S8, Wenner-Gren Symposium: Alternative Pathways to Complexity: Evolutionary Trajectories in the Middle Paleolithic and Middle Stone Age (December 2013 – free to the Web)  Acheulian tools continued to be used by other hominins (e.g., H. erectus)  Technology variable through MSA / MP but no clear temporal trends – Sporadic development and loss of complex technologies – Operational chains of limited length  Despite major ecological shifts between glacial and inter-glacial there is no evidence for permanent settlements or cultural shifts from nomadic hunting and gathering. – Little technological difference between Neanderthal/Denisovan/archaic H. sapiens in Europe, anatomically modern sapiens in South Africa, and AM sapiens in the Levant (eastern Med.) early colonization ~ 100 kya, and permanent colonization and spread to Eurasia ~ 70 kya – Populations limited in size to small bands, with evidence that Neanderthals & Denisovans passed through more severe genetic bottlenecks than sapiens  Even with language, the capacity for cultural memory was limited43
  44. 44. Slowly increasing pace of hominin technological innovation in the East African homeland  Even given the existence of a faculty of language, the pace of technological innovation was very slow before 100 kya.  Use of fire in making fine blades and points, or use of ochre and beads may have been developed & lost several times before being fixed in culture  Even where ideas can be expressed in words, an individual’s ability to remember detail is limited.  Where population is divided into small groups any knowledge not securely acquired by the next generation is lost 44 McBrearty & Brooks 2000
  45. 45. Something changed ~ 70-50 kya that enabled H. sapiens to increase its cultural capacity to store & transmit knowledge  Mnemonics – increasing capacity for accumulating knowledge in primary oral culture differs from typographically based culture – Primary sources for understanding mental techniques used in primary oral cultures to accurately memorize and recall large and complex bodies of information: – Ong, W.J. 1982. Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Routledge, London [eBook free download from] – Kelly, L. 2012. When Knowledge Was Power. PhD Thesis, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Vic., Australia [embargoed until Cambridge University Press book is published – see] – Techniques - think memorably: express knowledge in rhythm and rhyme with common formulas and phrases, link breathing and gesture, act out, associate with song and dance, organize by intrinsic logic, etc.  Master technique: the method of loci (see next slide) – May increase individual memory capacity by 10 to 100-fold or more – Use at group level to preserve and transmit cultural knowledge – Cultural capacity depends on group size – larger groups allow formation of subgroups (i.e., “guilds”) to manage specialized bodies of knowledge 45
  46. 46. Method of Loci builds on the natural rhythms and progression of life  Memorable events happen in time and space (specific locus in 3D space) – Innate way to organize memory probably common to all “intelligent” animals – Focus on the space-time locus to retrieve memories of circumstances and events that happened at that locus  Songlines: – hunter gatherers learned to consciously index geographic, resource & natural history knowledge against tracks in the existing landscape where it is relevant. – Other knowledge may be indexed against loci on other shared lines (e.g., stars in the night sky) or with stories associated with landscape features, etc  Method of loci uses an ordered sequence of memorable loci as indexing points along existing or imagined space-time lines – Associates memorably expressed snippets of knowledge with particular loci in the line – Other mnemonic techniques make snippets memorable (e.g., imagery, rhythm, rhyme, oration, song, dance) – Group rehearsal and repetition strengthens memory traces – Group sharing adds redundancy and corrects errors in individual memory – In larger populations subgroups can maintain specialized knowledge 46
  47. 47. Becoming settled – surmounting the knowledge capacity of nomadic life in the post-glacial era  Nomads limited to technology they can carry or fabricate on demand  Accumulating technological knowledge enables more effective use of smaller geographic areas – growing populations manage more knowledge  Can establish core living areas with permanent goods & structures  Reduced contact with tracks in the broad landscape combined with need to manage more and more specialized knowledge of technology drives development of new mnemonic systems  Solution: When songlines no longer suffice, build compact monumental landscapes that can be traversed sequentially (Kelly 2012 - e.g., Stonehenge, Poverty Point, Chaco Canyon Kivas, etc.) – Early site: Göbekli Tepe ~ 11 kya southern Turkey 3 ky before the agricultural revolution – Many other sites from primary oral cultures moving from nomadic hunting and gathering to settled life have similar monumental structures 47
  48. 48. Mnemonics, settlement, the agricultural revolution and increasing cultural complexity  Current Anthropology 52(S4), Wenner-Gren Symposium: “The Origins of Agriculture: New Data, New Ideas” (October 2011) reviews in detail the archeological record of cultural & demographic transitions from nomadic hunting & gathering to formation of agricultural towns  With settlement, nomadic groups become territorial villages – The autopoietic entity becomes a socio-technical construct comprised of people, their linguistically mediated communication networks, their knowledge, their technologies and their built environment  Positive feedback drives ever-increasing growth rate of cultural knowledge accumulation for ever-increasing ecological hegemony over environmental resources – Accumulating cultural knowledge enables more efficient/effective control of local resources – Surplus resources enables population growth in turn providing more capacity for cultural memory – Development of ever more sophisticated mnemonic devices – Population growth enables more specialization of crafts, trades and guilds able to accumulate still more varied and detailed knowledge of the world 48
  49. 49. Ecological grade shifts result in demographic transitions & increasing socio-cultural/economic complexity  Mobile hunter-gatherers (~15 – 20 adults in group – say 2-4 families) – Part-time tool-makers & apprentices (realm of specific tool-making resources and processes knowledge) – Organized hunting parties – Gatherers (also need specialized geographic & natural history knowledge) – Temporary shelter construction, child-minding, fire tending, food processing & preparation – Extended social and knowledge networks around annual/seasonal meeting places to access additional mating opportunities, exchange of knowledge & barter limited trade goods  Settled foragers (~ 40 adults in community – say 8 families) require more knowledge – Knowledge & skill to make specialized tools kept for occasional use  full-time tool-making – Widely ranging hunting parties still need to transport butchered products back to home-base – Gathering and harvesting known seasonal resources becomes locally more intensive – Building permanent shelters (i.e., houses) & other more specialized structures – Need to guard and protect increasingly valuable “capital” (community / personal ”property”) – Establishment of formal trading networks & mnemonic systems for formally preserving, sharing and exchanging knowledge at a “tribal” level  Production of specialized goods and surplus resources  development of formal barter economy   Social norms and knowledge specialties common to the “tribe” of interrelated communities   Sspecialized “cultic” sites on neutral territory away from existing community settlements enabling the controlled rehearsal, standardization, and sharing of various bodies of knowledge 49
  50. 50. Agricultural Revolution extends human control over animal and plant metabolism  Major techno-ecological transitions – Hunting  herding & corralling  husbandry, dairying, cheese-making, tanning, animal power & transport – Harvesting, storage, milling, baking & brewing  planting  tilling & irrigating – Stone & mud construction  brick making & firing  pottery & metallurgy  Demographic revolution – egalitarian communities become hierarchically organized towns (dozens to hundreds of families), tribal regions, & guilds  Revolutionary emergence of new mnemonic and knowledge management technologies replace demands for memorization for thinking and doing – Indexing living memory vs representing knowledge with objective symbols – Reducing the monumental landscape onto tracks fabricated into hand-held objects – Representing reality with symbolic tokens:   Increasing socio-economic complexity, economic speciation, and emergence of knowledge-based autopoietic entities at intermediate levels – Religious orders, trades, guilds, factories, chartered companies, societies 50
  51. 51. Printing and the Industrial Revolution, replacing human/animal motive power, and externalizing storage of knowledge  (560 ya) Rise of printing for recording, replicating and transmitting knowledge – Technologies: papermaking, type founding & setting, printing, post- press, distributing, indexing, book making, curating, etc. – Scholarly access to large volumes of recorded, knowledge encouraging testing, accumulating & disseminating more knowledge  Increased literacy and access to tech knowledge fuels innovation  (~ 300 ya) technology replaces animal and human motive power with inorganic sources – Mass production of many things, including books – General literacy, social upheaval, dislocation and rising affluence – Ecological hegemony over land and sea – Exponential knowledge growth   Emergence of knowledge-based economic organizations as autopoietic entities – personal knowledge vs organizational knowledge51
  52. 52. The Microelectronics Revolution and the increasing externalization and convergence of individual and social cognition  ~ 150 ya mechanical and electro/mechanical technologies for corporate/scientific number crunching & data processing  ~ 50 ya birth of electronic digital processing – invention of transistorized logic circuits – ~ 43 ya invention of integrated circuit microprocessors and automatic fabrication (Intel 4004 1971)  Moore’s Law & the still continuing hyperexponential growth of processing power  Extending and replacing more and more human cognition  ~ 35 ya automated processing, storage, distribution and retrieval of personal and corporate knowledge. (Wordstar 1979)  ~ 22 ya networking knowledge with the World Wide Web (Tim Berners-Lee 1992)  Universal access to the world knowledge base – ~ 20 ya Mosaic Netscape Navigator 1994 – ~ 16 ya free open-source browsers Mozilla Firefox 1998 – Indexing knowledge for retrieval  ~ 14 ya one billion web pages indexed, more than two billion by end of 2000  Last decade provides instant web search, access & retrieval of virtually the entire scientific & technical literature via Google Scholar/research library subscriptions  Majority of all English language book titles scanned, indexed, and available (if out of copyright), with smaller fractions non-English books processed.  Networking brains directly – towards a singularity or global mind? 52
  53. 53. Convergence of Technology and Cognition to Produce the humano- technical individual biological entity = person + tools
  54. 54. Interconnecting minds and cognitive processes via the cloud “social computing” and convergent technology  Technological convergence – mobile phone becomes a cognitive prosthesis – Email: ARPANET (1971), TCP/IP (1982), SMS text (2002),Gmail (2005) – Internet browsing & Search: MOSAIC/Netscape (1994),Google (!997) – Internet telephony: Voice over IP (1994), Skype (2003) – Media: iTunes (2000), Amazon Kindle (2007), Google Play (2008) – Still and video imaging: Picassa/iPhoto (2002); YouTube (2005); – Cloud storage: Napster (1999), BitTorrent (2001), Amazon S3 (2006), DropBox (2008) – Business/Office tools: Google Docs/Drive (2007) – Geospatial: Google Earth/Maps 2005; Panoramio (geolocated photos converging with Google Earth/Google Maps – 2005) – Social: chat rooms (1980); Groups/Listservers (1992), LinkedIn (2003), Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006) – Knowledge construction/sharing/broadcasting: Wikis (1994), Wikipedia (2002), Blogs/Wordpress (2003)  Human-computer interfacing – Head-mounted displays (1960’s) – Google Project Glass (2013)  Implanted/embodied human-machine interfaces – Cochlear implants/Bionic Ears – Retinal implants/Bionic Eyes – Direct brain stimulation 54
  55. 55. Sensory integration: Count on Moore’s Law to drive the price down 55 Direct stimulation of the cochlea (Graeme Clark Foundation, How the cochlear implant (bionic ear) functions.) Direct stimulation of the retina (Bionic Eye. DOE Artificial Retina Project)
  56. 56. Brain simulation and emulation Blue Brain Project / Human Brain Project  Human Connectome Project – US NIH funded 2010-2015 – Map of neural connections in the brain – Broadly, a connectome includes mapping of all neural connections in an organism's nervous system  Simulation & emulation – Modelling of synapses & neurons – Neurons on chips (Moore’s Law) – EU Blue Brain/Human Brain Projects  Single cell: 2005  Neocortical column: 2008 – 10,000 cells  Mesocircuit: 2011 – 100 columns  Rodent brain: ~2014 – 100 mesocircuits  Human brain: ~2023 – 1000 x rodent brains 56
  57. 57. The Challenge to be met by Moore’s Law (Blue Brain Project) 57
  58. 58. Emergence of the socio- technical organization Organizational entity = individual members + technology + organizational knowledge
  59. 59. A reminder  Socio-technical organizational system = individual members + technology + organizational knowledge – Organizational knowledge  What individual members know about the org.  Explicit knowledge held, managed in and accessed via technology owned by the organization  Knowledge embodied in organizational structure and operating routines  Individuals may belong to more than one organization at a time  More knowledge supports more complexity and adaptive capacity  Selective processes also work at organizational level – Competition and survival – Lateral and temporal transfer of cultural knowledge59
  60. 60. Emergence of a complex organizational entity (Nousala & Hall 2008) 60
  61. 61. Many aspects of organizational structure defined explicitly independently from memory of any individual 61
  62. 62. organisational revolution evolutionary growth L. Greiner 1998. Evolution and revolution as organizations grow. Harvard Business Review May-June 1998 62 Revolutions involve changes in cognitive structure of organization often supported by technological change and innovation, e.g., new information & knowledge mgmt systems
  63. 63. CODA What kind of singularity do we face?