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Cultural evolution @home

One more Distributed Human Project appeared on the internet. DarwinTunes models cultural evolution using music as an example. The project assumes that there is an analogy between darwinian evolution of species and cultural evolution inside human society, that all cultural diversity exists thanks to continuous copying and modifying of previous cultural artifacts and subsequent selection and preserving of good modifications. For the purpose DarwinTunes continuously produces new generations of music excerpts – loops by modifying the best ones from previous generations. Selection of good ones is entrusted to visitors of the site. Everyone, including you, can participate. You will be asked to express your attitude towards generated music excerpts choosing from “I love it!”, “I like it”, “It's OK”, “I don't like it”, “I can't stand it!”. At the moment more than 60 000 visitors took part in the experiment and we can see\hear music loops after 300 generations of evolution.

If you think the goal of the experiment is creation of some musical masterpiece, you are mistaken. DarwinTunes aimed to research the process of evolution itself, how it develops in time, what factors affect it. The music evolving inside the project is pretty interesting, though.

Besides the main goal of the project there is another one, may be even more important – to show that cultural evolution progresses by means of copying and modifying. So in order to support progress and creativeness we must make available as many objects of culture in public domain as possible. It wouldn't be a big exaggeration to say that promoting such seditious ideas DarwinTunes moves cultural evolution further, not just researches it.

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