The Culture of Computers

you i i i everything else . . . . . . . . . . . . . .” – Bob, Facebook Chatbot

Culture is a weird thing for humans and the few animals who exhibit it. As biologists have explored the animal kingdom for longer and more continuous periods, our understanding of what culture is and what culture isn’t is being pushed by our many case studies in creatures ranging from chimpanzees to chickadees. What progress has been made is in our understanding of culture as a far more mechanical, rigid, and adaptive process than we could have ever anticipated. Like in genetics, the transfer of information is the basis of culture, and the recapitulation of genetic patterns of transmission onto cultural ones only highlights that information theory, as applied in our understanding of dual inheritance, is a unifying theme between the two. An understanding of genetics can help us understand what culture is and what culture isn’t, as can an understanding of any other type of information transfer, especially in the realm of communication, especially in the realm of artificial intelligence. Continue reading “The Culture of Computers”

Sensory Drive and the Predictability of Natural Selection

I have been getting into a number of non-sense argumentative spats with people who otherwise will never change their mind about the process of natural selection, and I thought I might try and clear things up in long-form for my followers who might be confused.

One of the main criticisms of natural selection is that despite numerous observations that certain traits benefiting the fitness of individuals move into fixation in populations, it is impossible to predict which traits will do so. This is a main criticism by strict neutralists who usually respond to biologists’ real world examples of natural selection beautifully predicting functional traits by moving the goalpost deep into epistemological grounds. For this blogpost, I’m just going to run through three examples of natural selection being both predictable and real, and then after that I will permanently stop engaging with these actors online.

Continue reading “Sensory Drive and the Predictability of Natural Selection”