Any element "able to create copies of itself" (R. DAWKINS, 1992, p.16).
DAWKINS writes: "Think of the replicator as a mould or template" (Ibid) and he proposes the following construction rules:
- there is an abundance of diverse types of building blocks around the replicator
- each building block may have an affinity for its own kind, – or possibly for some other specific kind – situated somewhere in the replicator
As a result, they may be able to attach themselves "in a sequence which mimics that of the replicator itself" (p.17).
Crystals are replicators.
Replication also exists, in different forms, in living systems: DNA – amoebas – cells. It would be interesting to study the public opinion phenomenon from the same viewpoint. The Swiss engraver A. BÖCKLIN produced in the 19 Century a print suggesting precisely this.
Replicators can be modeled as automata. For the time being, such automata are still computer models, whose concept developped out of von NEUMANN's model of cellular automaton known as "universal constructor". The state of the art has been described recently by M. SIPPER & J.A. REGGIA (2001)
The possibility to create material self replicating automata seems to become real and is related to the so-called Artificial Life
For an interesting comparison between memes and genes, both considered as replicators, see S. BLACKMORE (2000, p. 56-8)
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Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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