Saturday, 8 September 2012

Cultural symbiosis in cybernetics

Memetics has been the number one theory of cultural symbiosis for several decades now. Symbiosis in cultural evolution has made relatively little progress in academia, which mostly seems to be in the "bean-counting" phase of its analysis - rather reminiscent of Fisher's "bean bag genetics" - from the 1930s.

However, there are a few specialized areas where cultural symbiosis has made some headway. One is in linguistics, with the concept of symbiosism. Of course marketing has embraced a range of metaphors derived from the idea of symbiosis - most notably "viral marketing". Lastly computer science and cybernetics routinely use symbiosis terminology - to describe computer viruses and the man-machine symbiosis.

This recent TED video showcases our understanding of the human-computer symbiosis:

However, the idea that all human culture has a symbiotic relationship with humans can only be described as progressing sluggishly. It really does seem to be a case of waiting for the rest of the world to catch up.

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