Re: virus: Re: Inter-species memetic transfer
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 14:59:57 -0600 (CST)

On Wed, 12 Feb 1997, Wade T.Smith wrote:

> >Memetic transfers within non-human species are fairly well documented.
> >Seasonally-changing songs are transferred from whale to whale around the
> >planet. Gorillas trained in ASL will teach it to their children.
> >Chimpanzees teach each other simple technologies they've invented - such as
> >fishing for ants by poking sticks into ant-hills.
> I can only remain skeptical about all these statements. 'Memetic
> transfer' itself is a clanging term, hardly describable, certainly known
> only to a select few.
> _Mimetic behavior_ is certainly well documented. Some classification of
> learning is probable among chimps, although there is no proof it is not
> mimicry.
> Signing among laboratory gorillas is not transferred without
> experimental/human reinforcement. It is even controversial whether or not
> it is separate from mimicry and memorization behavior.
> (And it's termites the chimps go after.... Much tastier.)

Let's consider early 1980's autolearning software as a standard.

I have not heard of any reported learning by animals that was not
obviously possible using the above software [now, hardware's another

This software's competence is somewhere below a 1-year old's, if not an

Clearly, humans have hardware support for memetics that has yet to be
discerned in other animals. [Dolphins are fuzzy in terms of future
progress.] And was not duplicated in the above software.

/ Towards the conversion of data into information....
/ Kenneth Boyd