Idea Sex and the Evolutionary Logic of Knowledge Transfer
Why do certain ideas succeed? Ideas have to pass a kind of Darwinian fitness test, argues the computer scientist Ramez Naam, who is the author of “More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement.” It turns out the most useful ideas are the ones that spread, like the wheel that was invented in Egypt and was improved upon in Sumaria by going from a solid disk to spokes.
Passing the usefulness test crucially involves the ability of ideas to propagate themselves, just as biologically successful humans are able to pass on their genes. In the case of the wheel, two ideas met, and reproduced. In other words, the wheel was carried by humans to another place where it was then improved upon by other people.