2 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2021
    1. we want to focus on how humans fit into our category goal framework here and we'll use this figure as a roadmap 00:42:18 starting with the center section looking that looks at how events that affect the species and clay level and so what stands out here for humans is our 00:42:28 complex spoken language which greatly enhances our communication and has long been thought of as a met due to leaps in the way that we transmit information between individuals 00:42:40 but this met really wouldn't have been possible without a major competitive transition so the specific regions in the brain that are associated with greater cognition and language ability 00:42:52 and also our larger brain size which is correlated with functionality and our spoken language allows human societies to gather greater amounts of level 3 or learned 00:43:07 information than would ever be possible within any one individual's lifetime and this really turns up the dial on the magnitude at which cultural evolution affects us as a 00:43:19 species and allows us to adapt and construct our environments in different ways cultural innovations are also not dependent on random beneficial mutations but can 00:43:32 arise intentionally and this has major impacts for how quickly and at what level we can affect our ecosystems 00:43:43 so when we come back to the figure and we've layered on complex spoken language now we can look at the level of ecosystem change that's occurred because of this and see if it's enough to bring 00:43:55 us to a major systems transition and here we argue that the answer is no if we would have just stopped at spoken language our global impact would never have reached the level 00:44:07 that it takes to drive an mst but we do argue that this spoken language was actually a facilitating evolutionary transition for events that directly paved the way 00:44:19 for an mst so human spoken language is a facilitating transition for symbolic representation of instructional information so the met and the mechd that make up 00:44:33 complex spoken language are actually a fit for being able to write things down and being able to write things down onto abiotic mediums allows us to increase the amount of information that 00:44:47 we can store the accuracy of the stored information and the efficiency of transmission and this has an especially high impact for oblique transmission because 00:44:59 being able to inscribe information can potentially immortalize it and then individuals far in the future can build upon it and so being able to build upon 00:45:12 uh generations of information through symbolic representation of language is really a key for the expansion of technological innovations that have expanded the realized niche of humans so 00:45:25 we have spread across every continent made major impacts on most ecosystems and a part of what has allowed us to do this is the technology that we've designed uh based upon large amounts of 00:45:39 inscribed language and some of these technologies actually allow us to manipulate or avoid the processes of natural selection and some of the those examples are listed here 00:45:53 and so when we go back to our figure and layer on the potential to inscribe language and then re-look at ecosystem level changes we think that here due to due to the 00:46:06 technological innovations and global expansion that's come with being the only species to store this much level three information that the answer is now yes 00:46:19 and when an mst occurs the context in which this entire cycle takes place completely shifts because now the global ecosystem is playing by a modified set of rules that are 00:46:33 set forth by the mst so this brings us to the question are humans the last mst or are there other mets and mechs forthcoming that will drive a new 00:46:45 major systems transition

      Robin argues that spoken language alone, while a MET does not constitute a MST because spoken language could not have resulted in the global spread of ideas that made our current globalized modernity possible. However, it is a Facilitating Evolutionary Transition (FET) which paved the way for inscribed language which did enable the global spread of technology.

    2. our fourth point is that for something like eukaryotes and others where there is no immediate major system 00:25:30 transition we're really sort of saying is that they perhaps are critical to such a transition but not at the time necessarily that they have evolved so in essence we want to amp we want to bring in a new 00:25:43 term which we call facilitating evolutionary transition so it makes it is part of a major system transition but it clearly needs other 00:25:55 evolutionary events to go along with it and the final sort of point is that there are perhaps catalysts that are involved in this process and one of the major catalysts that may 00:26:12 have had effects throughout evolutionary history are viruses so viruses may have been key actors to help the transition from 00:26:23 rna to dna they may have uh produced or helped produce the nucleus in eukaryotes and we'll talk about a little bit later about the key role that viral genes play 00:26:36 in making sexual reproduction possible and even in placental mammals the evolution of a placenta so without viral genes being moved across 00:26:47 horizontally species some of these major transitions could never have happened so now we have sort of the complete integrated process of of our diagram and again the question 00:27:02 that we're really focusing on oftentimes is that last one yes when how and why do we get to a major system transition and how do nets mechs uh 00:27:15 fets and catalysts all play a role in these various transitions

      Viruses have played a key role in a number of different METs. This is an important insight that can contextualize the covid-19 pandemic.