Culture Blocks - Co-created memes that can be linked together to form complex cultures and social graphs

I’m building an app summed up in the title. Did you know that dopamine rewards for pro-social behavior are a biological feature over 500 million years old?

This post has two purposes. CB is up for a grant with a vote on Jokerace open to OP badgeholders until April 10. Each badgeholder gets four votes. That’s a lot of dopamine.

If you want another hit of the good stuff, you could provide feedback/criticism on the title of this post (I’m working on my “one line” pitch) or any of the larger picture laid out below. For either case I’m particularly interested in:

  • Do you understand what the project is?
  • Does it make sense as to why it’s worth building (or at least why I think it’s worth building)?
  • What would you add?
  • What would you remove?

Now then…

A meme was originally defined as the cultural equivalent of a gene - a unit of information within a social group that can replicate, evolve, and undergo natural selection. The theory gained some popularity in the 90’s but lost momentum due to the difficulty of agreeing on what actually constitutes a meme and how to measure cultural information.

Internet memes define a structure and are easily tracked. Know Your Memes has been doing so since 2008 in a format similar to wikipedia. Internet memes don’t represent complete cultures of course, but it’s a significant step for the theory.

It seems like the next logical step in this progression is to create an app that allows memes to:

  • Be created, mutated, and replicated by groups
  • Form links to incubate and grow into complex cultures
  • Undergo selection processes

We could probably stop here and see some interesting results, but I think we can go a step further to clean the cultural slate and initiate a Cambrian Explosion of memetic activity:

  • One human = one account at the gates to keep out bots and sybils
  • Anonymizing users at the gates removes the influence of previous cultural links (friends, family, etc) on that user’s input. They still hold that cultural information in their minds, but the social pressure of identity and conformity is removed while in the app, so they are free to try on new hats and express themselves authentically.
    • As memes are co-created and cultures are formed, anonymous users can offer to share (or revoke) pieces of information with those they have interacted with, creating high value social data. Example: two parties offer to share info with a group they just made a dope meme with; the exchange is made and a new social connection is formed, anchored within a culture.
  • Memes can be minted to allow individuals to build their own cultural narratives. This creates another opportunity for social connections to happen. Example: when ten people mint the same meme give them an option to form a new culture as a group with that meme as a genesis block.
  • Limiting how much time and data any individual can put into the system to about what the bottom 20% of active users would naturally contribute spreads the content more evenly, which means more diversely since every human has unique experiences and perspectives to throw in the blender.

If it works right, this could allow us to rapidly discover and develop new foundational layers of society that accurately represent the wants, needs, and desires of the population. And because everyone is working together to create these memes and cultures, they automatically start with a committed, decentralized, and aligned community.

So, that’s the basic premise. Here are some more details about what I’ve built the last month and plans for the future. Considering the idea is all about co-creation and shared perspectives, I’ll stop here and curiously await some novel perspective from the OP cultural mind to move the narrative forward.

Good luck on the Mission Request too!

1 Like

Thanks :slight_smile:

Would love to hear your thoughts on the limitations of decentralized governance.

Originally my idea was to make this a group decision making process (sociocracy/holocracy style) to build the structural pieces of organizations one piece at a time (name, purpose, roles, apps used, etc.). A group of us were playing with it as a discord bot when AI took off last March or so and we stumbled into the idea of summarizing our conversations.

On the one hand it gets a little more difficult to be precise about the output you want, but on the other it removes the need to propose and consent to final blocks. It also takes away ownership over that final block which makes it emergent and collectively owned. Very interesting.