Ideas fly faster and find purchase quicker than ever before in human history, thanks to the pervasive technologies of television, radio, and the internet. There isn’t a place on Earth where signals from these platforms haven’t reached. Even the depths of outer space are no shelter from human transmissions as those signals have been leaking into outer space since the advent of these technologies. An expanding ‘bubble’ over 100 light years across demarcates the radio sphere, where the early experiments in radio by Karl Braun, Guglielmo Marconi, and Reginald Fessenden form the ‘skin’ of this expanding sphere. The television sphere is of similar size, over 80 light years in extent, where the first television broadcasts from the late 1920s form its ‘edge’.
The internet’s origin lies in the laboratories of the Advanced Research Projects Agency as a packet switching network known as ARPANET. Inspired by ARPA IPTO director Bob Taylor’s desire to connect to multiple, far-flung computers from the same terminal, and based on the TCP/IP protocols developed by Robert Kahn and Vinton Cerf, ARPANET has evolved into the globe-spanning, monster communication network of wires and waves we call the ‘internet’.
These technologies have allowed ideas to reach nearly every human in the world almost instantaneously. As a result, a rich ecosystem of shared thought has emerged where any expression can find a niche and where the most innovative and compelling ideas can propagate with stunning virulence, as if they were the wind-blown sparks of a raging wildfire.
When quantized, ideas are called ‘memes’, named analogically to ‘genes’ by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins. Memes are self replicating units of information that propagate within the medium of humanity itself. Essentially fundamental units of measure for ideas, memes constitute games, music, movies, television programs, etc., which then promulgate memes in accordance to their memetic fitness. They are culture quantized. Find a tome of your favorite cultural quanta at Bookbyte and spread the memes!