Cultural Evolution as Distributed Computation

  • Liane Gabora


The speed and transformative power of human cultural evolution is evident from the change it has wrought on our planet. This chapter proposes a human computation program aimed at (1) distinguishing algorithmic from non-algorithmic components of cultural evolution, (2) computationally modeling the algorithmic components, and amassing human solutions to the non-algorithmic (generally, creative) components, and (3) combining the two to develop human-machine hybrids with previously unforeseen computational power that can be used to solve real problems. Drawing on recent insights into the origins of evolutionary processes from biology and complexity theory, human minds are modeled as self-organizing, interacting, autopoietic networks that evolve through a Lamarckian (non-Darwinian) process of communal exchange. Existing computational models as well as directions for future research are discussed.


Reaction Network Communal Exchange Fitness Landscape Associative Network Cultural Algorithm 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This research was conducted with the assistance of grants from the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the Fund for Scientific Research of Flanders, Belgium.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of British ColumbiaKelownaCanada

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