Big Data will destroy you: Techno-jitters

Once self-copying memes had arisen, their own, much faster, kind of evolution took off. – Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

Dominic Basulto imagines that digital devices are a kind of primordial soup in which “digital bits” of Big Data will propagate to the point where “they don’t need us anymore.”  He speculates upon Richard Dawkins’ theory of memes:

Where things become both exciting and creepy is if the data replicators (data memes) become truly “selfish” and start to challenge the classic genetic replicators (genes). It’s not just that Big Data wants to become Bigger, it’s that it may eventually want to out-compete our genetic material.

Techno-memes or temes

Basulto didn’t mention Susan Blackmore’s theory of temes.  Temes are “digital information stored, copied, varied and selected by machines.”  She writes:

We are still needed, not least to run the power stations, but as the temes proliferate, using ever more energy and resources, our own role becomes ever less significant, even though we set the whole new evolutionary process in motion in the first place.

More immediate fears: Less jobs
Erik Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have argued that automated technologies are reducing the demand for many types of human workers, causing “dismal prospects” for professions such as law, financial services, education, and medicine.

#AnticipateChange   #BigData   #DNA   #technologicalunemployment

Embedded Link

How Technology Is Destroying Jobs – MIT Technology Review
Given his calm and reasoned academic demeanor, it is easy to miss just how provocative Erik Brynjolfsson’s contention really is. Brynjolfsson, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, and his collaborator and coauthor Andrew McAfee have been arguing for the last year and a half that …

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Big Data will destroy you: Techno-jitters

5 thoughts on “Big Data will destroy you: Techno-jitters

  1. I think this analysis Is focused too narrowly and only looks at one side of the medal. Perhaps for the next 5 to 10 years, these arguments hold. Longer term, I am more inclined to follow the Technological Revolutions logic of Dr Carlota Perez which would imply that we are in the disruptive phase before the next Golden Age .

  2. Dawkins postulates that tat-for-tat is an optimal strategic balance. By his thesis, extended, there exists a new (non-trivial) optimum for human intervention and involvement in training algorithms to replace their prior fields of relevance.The question of jobs for 'workers' is ethical whilst the question of jobs for algorithms is 'efficiency'. When my work can no longer compete in delivering cost efficiencies to my employer, I must adapt by delivering innovative fringe benefits – such as promoting positive local impact on my community, and the market shifts. Such is change.These are complex issues and I'm keen to listen what others think.

  3. +David Pidsley I agree the hypothetical scenarios run by Dawkins and Blakemore postulate perfect conditions, i.e. elements falling into place that will make them happen without human intervention and without taking into account that technology develops in a complex dance of symmetrical advantage, it only evolves when it serves our needs and offers us gains.

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