Have you ever watched that scrubs episode where someone starts to hum that stupid song, and the day after, everyone sings in the hospital ?
Cultural evolution resembles genetical evolution. Some genes mutate under external or random pressure. If they are well-suited, they tend to propagate easily and soon you find it everywhere. (e.g Bart Simpson brings an american frog in Austrlia. The frog makes friend with kangaroos. Kangaroos protect the frogs in its front pocket. The frog finds a great environment to reproduce. Australia is invaded by frogs.)
Meme is a unit of cultural information, just like DNA is a piece of genetical information. It will tend to survive, propagate, disappear, reappear, thrive in changing environments. There will be cross-overs, and memes are most of the time found in groups (memeplexes), forming more complex building blocks of cultural information.
Survival can be overwhelming and short. Look at “Pokemons”, “Pogs”, “Beanie Babies”, anything that’s supposed to be hype at a certain moment.
Genetic algorithm to find out what’s hype ?
Why not? It is true genetic algorithm are a bit magical. It can optimize anything, because all it does is try, select, try, select, try, select, until the user is bored.
I personally don’t think I am optimized. I hope next generation of Ly doesn’t have to wear glasses and that special headset you have to wear at night to have your teeth straightened and scare your girlfriend. I hope next generation doesn’t have to use two different annoying keyboards (a qwerty at wotk and an azerty at home) . But that’s another story.