13 votes

Memetics—a Growth Industry in Us Military Operations

13 comments

  1. Pilgrim Link
    Oh so this is fun and I've been curious what the military has been looking into regarding more modern information warfare. This looks to me like a 10-year-old paper written to complete a master's...

    Oh so this is fun and I've been curious what the military has been looking into regarding more modern information warfare. This looks to me like a 10-year-old paper written to complete a master's degree, so that's something to take into consideration. If I'm honest about it, this reads like countless graduate papers written since the introduction of reddit.

    A "meme warfare center" - so much fun. It's unfortunate this isn't a more serious paper written close to now. If so, I imagine we might see some strategies for using social networks to manipulate public opinion with hyper targeted ads/memes.

    Thanks OP for posting. I enjoy this stuff.

    12 votes
  2. Pilgrim Link
    So, if anyone is up for it, I'd love to talk more about the topics presented in this paper as I have long found them fascinating. Here is a well-written passage that deals with the core concept of...

    So, if anyone is up for it, I'd love to talk more about the topics presented in this paper as I have long found them fascinating.

    Here is a well-written passage that deals with the core concept of the "meme" as a vehicle of cultural transmission. Please keep in mind that "meme" in this case does not mean the funny pictures on reddit (although those image-macros contain memes) but rather the building blocks of thought.

    From the paper:

    The principle method of meme transmission is interpersonal and societal interaction. Richard Dawkins introduced the term ‘meme’ in 1976 and for context offered an analogy with genes to memes, positing they essentially have similar properties, one physical and one metaphysical. Where genes are tangible physical elements physiologically passed down and replicated through procreation, memes are metaphysical, intangible entities, transmitted from mind to mind, either verbally, with actions, music, or by repeated actions and/or imitation. Some argue memes operate by the strength of their meaning and their fitness is analogous to Darwinian theory, hence only the strongest and fittest memes survive.3 Others have argued memes transmit and replicate based on the social, economic and cognitive nature of the receiving host and not attributed to the memes inherent strength and fitness.4 The central concept simply stated is memes are metaphysical, express ideas and replicate for any number of reasons. A suggested logic progression is as follows: Memes influence ideas, ideas influence and form beliefs. Beliefs generate and influence political positions combined with feelings and emotions, eventually producing actions, which inform and influence behavior.

    My atheist friends may recall the name Richard Dawkins, and also those familiar with evolutionary science. He tends to be a polarizing figure.

    My unscientific hunch is that written language is what separates us from other species as it allows for the transfer of knowledge across generations, that language operates in a way similar to a virus, and that it's origin may be otherworldly. But I digress. My hope is that in the near future we'll better understand the transmission of knowledge and I think the next step of memetic research is to take it out of the metaphysical and into the realm of true science, i.e. physical space. That involves MRI scans IMO; an expensive research proposition.

    EDIT: Thank you @diode for posting this. It's been a niche research topic that I tend to come back to again and again.

    5 votes
  3. [11]
    Pilgrim Link
    Also, just throwing it out there...this should probably me over in ~humanities and not ~comp...just my .02.

    Also, just throwing it out there...this should probably me over in ~humanities and not ~comp...just my .02.

    3 votes
    1. [10]
      diode Link Parent
      You're right, my bad.

      You're right, my bad.

      1 vote
      1. [3]
        cfabbro Link Parent
        Moved it for you... also fixed the tags, which needed commas in between them.

        Moved it for you... also fixed the tags, which needed commas in between them.

        3 votes
        1. [2]
          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          Oops. I just moved it to ~science with tags for "~socialscience.sociology" and "~socialscience.anthropology", because it's not related to any of the humanities: philosophy, theology, linguistics,...

          Oops. I just moved it to ~science with tags for "~socialscience.sociology" and "~socialscience.anthropology", because it's not related to any of the humanities: philosophy, theology, linguistics, history, or the arts.

          2 votes
          1. cfabbro Link Parent
            No worries. I haven't actually read the paper and was merely going off what others here said about where it belonged, so your decision to move it to ~science is probably the more correct one.

            No worries. I haven't actually read the paper and was merely going off what others here said about where it belonged, so your decision to move it to ~science is probably the more correct one.

      2. [6]
        Pilgrim Link Parent
        Hey OP, how'd you end up finding this paper? Is this an area of interest for you?

        Hey OP, how'd you end up finding this paper? Is this an area of interest for you?

        1 vote
        1. [5]
          diode Link Parent
          I honestly don't remember when I first came across this.

          I honestly don't remember when I first came across this.

          1 vote
          1. [4]
            Pilgrim Link Parent
            If the research behind the paper interests you I can try to dig up some things I have saved. Let me know (maybe I'll make it's own post).

            If the research behind the paper interests you I can try to dig up some things I have saved. Let me know (maybe I'll make it's own post).

            2 votes
            1. [3]
              diode Link Parent
              Yeah, that would be great.

              Yeah, that would be great.

              2 votes
              1. [2]
                Pilgrim Link Parent
                Here's something pretty directly related. For a minute, I thought it actually referenced the paper you posted, but I don't believe it does but it also covers the idea of a Meme Control Center:...

                Here's something pretty directly related. For a minute, I thought it actually referenced the paper you posted, but I don't believe it does but it also covers the idea of a Meme Control Center:

                https://www.cbinsights.com/research/future-of-information-warfare/

                It's very interesting to me how all of this is so very relevant given the information warfare that Russia has been lobbying so effectively against the U.S. I'm curious what sort of memetic response we've secretly launched against their own social media.

                I have more but it's all very esoteric.

                1 vote
                1. [2]
                  Comment deleted by author
                  Link Parent
                  1. Pilgrim Link Parent
                    I’m glad there is interest. I’ve had very few people to discuss these concepts with. I’ll dig up something meaty soon-ish and post it.

                    I’m glad there is interest. I’ve had very few people to discuss these concepts with. I’ll dig up something meaty soon-ish and post it.

                    1 vote