poly: Coevolving replicators

From: CurtAdams <CurtAdams@aol.com>
Date: Mon Dec 08 1997 - 15:22:05 PST

In a message dated 12/8/97 1:31:34 PM, asa@nada.kth.se wrote:

>This process could quite likely continue indefinitely, although the
>levels appear less and less clear. So it appears to me that there
>would be a complex web of replicators co-evolving with each other on
>many levels. Maybe it would be useful to look more at how ecosystems
>interact rather than simple replicators. Ecological succession might
>be the future of war.

I think this is already the case. As you mention, human already have
genes and memes co-evolving, but there are others involved in the
system as well. We co-evolve with our commensals and parasites; a good
example of complicated results there would be the path of polio, which
become more pathenogenic as increased cultural cleanliness altered the
timing of exposure and then less common as a separate memetic change
reduced transmission with vaccination. Sexual mores and VD
have been co-evolving for longer than human history and bioscience has
now joined that particular game.

There's also the issues of escaping replicators (e.g. your cells don't
have the same interests as you) and co-opted replicators. Ribosomal
proteins replicate themselves with the aid of DNA, just as DNA
replicates with the aid of proteins. DNA is obviously running the
show now but that probably wasn't always the case.

>This suggests to me that new selfish replicators can or have appeared
>in these systems; a simple example may be computer viruses and
>computer-meme viruses like "Good Times", but more advanced entities
>can doubless exist in the infrastructure for meme transmission,
>protection and development we have created.

"Good Times" is definitely a meme, although "meme" is already a pretty
broad tent. Computer viruses certainly qualify as a novel replicator.
Currently their modification requires a transformation to meme
information in a programmer's head so they are still memes in a way.
When genetic programming becomes widespread I'll wager we'll see a
true pure computer virus lacking a memetic phase. Virus/OS could
already be considered a co-evolution anyway.
Received on Mon Dec 8 23:45:24 1997

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Mar 07 2006 - 14:45:29 PST