Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Attributes of the successfully copied

Long ago, Richard Dawkins famously described some common attributes typically posessed by successful replicators as being: "fidelity", "fecundity" and "longevity".

The list has stood up well over time, despite being misunderstood by confused critics. However, these aren't the only attributes which many successfully-copied entities tend to possess.

If adding to the list, "sociability" and "brevity" would be at the top of my list.

Most successfully-copied entities are sociable - meaning that they tend to associate with other genes or memes. Some use direct hitchhiking to spread - through being components of successful gene or meme complexes. Others use phenotypichitchhiking. Unsociable loners exist, but they are not the main players.

Lastly, brevity counts. Consider the following searches:

The shorter string is more common - simply because shorter strings tend to be more common as a statistical rule. This is true for most genes and memes - and can be expected to be true of other copied entities - provided they are sometimes divided.

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