It may not be a surprise that “Facebook Data Scientists Prove Memes Mutate And Adapt Like DNA”. For at least one of two reasons that I can think of at a glance. The first is that data is not unique from DNA. DNA is, after all, information. It is genetic information but still information.
This is the same reason that the game of life looks so familiar to us. Life is a complex chemical reaction but it is at its core a reaction. Our neurons fire in a specific way, we grow and decay in a specific way, we reproduce, eat, sleep, and exist all in a very specific way. All known life follows a very similar hunting style. Both solids and fluids act identical to one another if given enough energy (which itself is also information).
But Mike, surely sand does not act like water, oh yes. Solid objects act like liquids but at a phenomenally slower pace, or perhaps waters act like solids but at a phenomenally faster pace. Regardless they are both information at their most fundamental level they are built up from smaller components. Just like a cake, just like you, and just like a comet soaring through the sky.
It is this reason that I don’t find it surprising that DNA and Memes act similarly. The longer humans study the universe the more things start to connect in a single very familiar umbrella.
Perhaps that’s a bit too existential and you aren’t nearly high enough for it to sound reasonable. How about this instead? Memes adapt like DNA because they are created by an organic thing. Because this information is completely birthed and cultured by living creatures it shares the same traits that those creatures do. Memes and all thoughts are locked tightly at the macro level with our own mental limitations. The deep instinctual needs and commandments of millions of years of evolution have left us with very predictable and consistent personas.
These predictable and persistent personas only grow strong the larger the sampling size you get. This is in essence a premise for one my favorite book series of all time Isaac Asimov’s Foundation. Given how accurately he’s predicted other things, this particular theory might not be too far off.
It’s a really cool discovery and I’d rather people keep searching and keep dreaming, but the outcome shouldn’t be too surprising. Once we start finding human traits that don’t adhere strongly to nature is when I’m going to be really dumbfounded.