virus: Autocatalytic Idea System Examples

Dave Pape (
Wed, 28 May 1997 21:00:12 +0100 (BST)

Hello. Here's some more memes about autocatalytic things, if anyone's

Standards in industry (eg ASCII, SQL) are an example of self-tightening
feedback systems: different companies develop their own standards, and use
them in parallel, and the standards tend to be quite short-lived, and then
companies start talking and all of a sudden a committee or convention is
called and a lasting, global standard implemented. The talking and committee
forming is the system tightening itself, see?

Of course a global standard can emerge from a single (docking huge) company,
but guess what? A similar process took place WITHIN that company, between
project teams and departments.

Musical styles are another example. Typically, pop music genres begin with a
bunch of woolly, not-quite-there tunes which all contain elements of how the
well-formed genre will sound. As the genre develops the musical ideas
involved in the tune get more and more tightly associated, and there'll be
loads of selective basins-of-attraction shit mixed in there, meaning that
certain groups of closely-associated musical memes keep on getting
exercised... and they'll be the ones which produce loads of tunes, loads of
emergent metamemes...

La la la.

Dave Pape
I am ready.

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