(I'm liveblogging from TED 2008, in Monterey, CA)
Presenter: Susan Blackmore, author of The Meme Machine.
History of life is a history of replicators.
Language is a parasite we've adapted to. It may have started out being harmful, but we've developed a symbiotic relationship with it.
First replicators were genes. Then memes. We now have temes (tech memes) are a third repliciator on our planet.
Don't think of intelligence, thinnk of replicators.
New Drake equation. Start with number of planets — what fraction of those get a first replicator, a 2nd replicator, a 3rd?
Getting a new replicator is dangerous. We need to pull through each time. The 2nd replicator (memes) was dangerous -= big brains are painful: kills a lot of mothers and babies. Brains uses 20% of body energy for 2% of body weight; it may have nearly killed us off.
temes are just information — they use humans to suck up planet's resources. Don't think we created the internet to benefit us; we are being being used by temes. It convenient for temes to piggyback on us because we replicate. But when temes can replicate without us, they will carry on without us.