How communication technologies shape our collective memory.
César A. Hidalgo is an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab. Hidalgo’s work focuses on improving the understanding of systems by using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution, and network science; his goal is to help improve understanding of the evolution of prosperity in order to help develop industrial policies that can help countries raise the living standards of their citizens. His areas of application include economic development, systems biology, and social systems. Hidalgo is also a graphic-art enthusiast and has published and exhibited artwork that uses data collected originally for scientific purposes.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at http://ted.com/tedx
Is there some kind of historical memory and folk wisdom that ensures that a community remembers about very extreme phenomena, such as catastrophic floods, and learns to establish new settlements in safer locations? We tested a unique set of empirical data on 1293 settlements founded in the course of nine centuries, during which time seven extreme floods occurred. For a period of one generation after each flood, new settlements appeared in safer places. However, respect for floods waned in the second generation and new settlements were established closer to the river. We conclude that flood memory depends on living witnesses, and fades away already within two generations. Historical memory is not sufficient to protect human settlements from the consequences of rare catastrophic floods.
This is intriguing particularly when thinking back to our earliest world literatures which all involve flood stories.
I wonder what the equivalent sorts of things would be for C. elegans, drosophila, etc. for testing things on smaller timescales?
Over the years, hundreds of people online have shared memories of a cheesy Nineties movie called “Shazaam”. There is no evidence that such a film was ever made. What does this tell us about the quirks of collective memory?