Saturday, 30 November 2013

The internet: the drosophila of memetics

Daniel Dennett described the internet as the drosophila of memetics in a 2009 Harvard lecture. It's so true.

It's not that we didn't have data before, but now we have a huge mountain of it, on every topic, complete with search engines, frequency analysis, cross-referencing and APIs for querying the mountain. There are good archiving facilities and high-fidelity copying is ubiquitous. Practically every aspect of human culture has been digitized and put on the internet. We have audio, video, pictures, words and all kinds of new machine-readable data. The 2011 internet meme explosion highlights some popular areas. Plus there's a bunch of other researchers working in the field.

Additionally, the internet promises to accelerate research in all scientific fields - by facilitating the sharing of data, making criticism easier and generally making it easier for researchers to communicate and collaborate with each other. I look forwards to more rapid progress in my own field - as well as in other ones.

The internet is pretty-much a paradise for meme researchers. Thank ARPA for the internet.

No comments:

Post a comment