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Memes as complex systems Report on interaction task Roger Bradbury.

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Presentation on theme: "Memes as complex systems Report on interaction task Roger Bradbury."— Presentation transcript:

1 Memes as complex systems Report on interaction task Roger Bradbury

2 The history of the interaction task July 2003 - Initial discussions at CABM meeting in Melbourne August 2003 - Further discussion at CSS conference in Sydney, and proposal developed August 2004 - Mini-workshop at CSS conference in Coffs Harbour August 2004 - Major international workshop in Canberra, 13 - 17 August

3 Workshop objectives Expose the complex systems researchers to the ideas of meme scientists (and vice versa) Examine possible research questions (particularly in the areas of using complex systems tools to model memetic phenomena and the interaction between meme worlds and the human social worlds) Propose a research agenda in the form of a Grand Challenge manifesto.

4 Who we were Memeticists and modellers Social and natural scientists Theoreticians and practitioners All with a Darwinian bias

5 The team Dave Batten Sue Blackmore Fabio Boschetti Roger Bradbury Shawn Callahan Ian Enting John Finnigan Anne-Marie Grisogono Steve Hatfield Dodds Nicky Grigg David Newth Andrew Rixon Rob Seymour Angela Wardell-Johnson Rachel Williams

6 What we did A series of discussions on memes and complexity - from each side - led by different experts A series of case studies Some experimental modelling A drafting exercise for a Policy Forum paper in Science

7 The discussions Memes – conceptual issues and theory (Sue Blackmore) Memes as real, Darwinian entities (Roger Bradbury) Complex systems – the state of the art (John Finnigan) Memes and emergence (Fabio Boschetti) Modelling strategies for complex systems (Ian Enting) Modelling memes as complex systems (David Newth and Nicky Grigg)

8 The discussions (cont.) Modelling evolutionary dynamics (Rob Seymour) Ecological principles and memes (Andrew Rixon) Policy development problems and memes (Steve Hatfield Dodds) Memes and agents (Dave Batten) Memes and organizations (Rachel Williams and Shawn Callahan) Memes and complexity – the view from sociology (Angela Wardell-Johnson)

9 The case studies Brainstormed 10, winnowed to 3 Focus on public policy issues as memes Development aid War on terror War on drugs

10 The modelling From genes to memes What would memespace look like? How might memeplexes behave? Memes as a network Are simple memes strong attractors?

11 The paper Public policy, memes and complex systems Policies are built from ideas, but ideas are memes that, like genes, interact in complex ways with humans and their culture Policy is constructed by and for often short-lived, often simple memes, each with their own selfish interests, within a complex framework of culture built by relatively longer-lived genes.

12 What changed? Memes are real As real as genes, information Memes are different Different labile dynamics to genes Memeplexes, simplicity We can handle them with CSS Networks surprisingly promising cf ABM We can make strong new predictions More powerful than socio-biological explanations

13 Development aid Memes encourage naïve intervention Regardless of the truth value of the meme Aid continues and will continue to fail while aid meme is satisfied

14 War on terror Terrorism emerges from a new memeplex associating simple killing memes with powerful religion memes The memeplex spreads from brain to brain in new ways internet Can be disrupted by selective pressure Independently of reforms such as democratisation or market reforms

15 War on drugs Drug policy creates harm out of all proportion to its cost Because simple drugs are bad meme reproduces well in all players Change wont come until we can encourage new memeplexes There are some in memespace but far away

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