Category Archives: Cultural Evolution

Cultural Evolution

Communications systems typically evolve both greater abstraction and greater complexity over time. This abstraction makes the communications systems increasingly powerful, as one is able to apply the same base components to ever greater amounts of informational input and output. With these added responsibilities, however, also comes increasing complexity in the system. The future of communication will be one heavily influenced by increasing globalization and widening dispersal of technology. There will be a trend towards increased interconnectedness between different languages, both physical and digital.

Jump to Universality

As time goes on communication systems become more efficient. Communication is all about making sure that both parties involved are informed as quickly as possible. Like in the reading, the author explained that roman numerals are arranged in descending order. This is so that numbers have to be written in the same way because otherwise the same number could be written differently and not be immediately recognizable. This is making communication more efficient because instead of having to do all the math in your head, you can recognize when numbers are not the same. Another example is tally marks. When the fifth tally mark is written, it is a slash through so that instead of looking at 11 straight lines, one can see two groups of 5 and a group of 1, which is much easier to recognize as 11.

Communication becomes more powerful when it becomes more precise and more quick. Quick communication makes communication more powerful because humans do not have the longest attention span and are not always willing to use their time to understand things that they do not find interesting. Making communication of ideas quicker means that more people are willing to listen, making the communication have a much wider audience, therefore making the communication more powerful. Furthermore, when communication is more concise, it is more powerful. Making sure to use images and words that mean exactly what you are trying to convey is important in communication. Extra information only muddles the communication.

In the future, I think that communication will be like communication today but with more pathways to do it. Instead of just face-to-face, phone, and online interactions, maybe there will be more ways to communicate such as telekinesis through technology or something along those lines. Communication will probably be faster and more reliable in places with less service and access to things like internet in the future through the work of people that want to make a difference in the lives of people that are less fortunate.

Cultural evolution is different than biological evolution because cultural evolution can happen much quicker. As technology advances, our modes of communication advance and or culture shifts to accommodate these changes. Biologically, evolution happens over hundreds of thousands of years. Culturally, we have changed over the past 20 years with the introduction of social media. However, if we wanted to change so that we had webbed toes or something, it would take much more time.

“Cultural Evolution”

When is once to different communications systems like pictograms, tallying, and counting, there is always an underlying goal of universality. Some like tallying can be seen as impractical, because counting one by one could be tedious. IT evolved into a system where groups were represented by different symbols. I think future communication will be something along the lines of communicating with our minds. Most probably, that be our minds connected to our technology.

Cultural evolution is different from biological evolution because cultural evolution is affected by more than just survival. It’s affected by the people of that time, the rules that were made, the beliefs that were the most prevalent, and even the systems of communication. For example, when mail and communication was limited to traveling. by horses the culture of that time was vastly different than what we have today using technology to send emails in a split second.


Communication Evolution

In the evolution of different communications systems, it is notable that there is hierarchy of universality through different stages of evolution. The targeted goal is to “jump to universality,” meaning that the communication systems becomes common to everyone in the system by a sudden large change in functionality. Sometimes the universality could be achieved, instead of obtaining a hypothetical complete set of elements, (for example, pictograms in communication and language system,) by applying certain rules. For example, grammars and words are rules that utilized to organize a series of single elements and assign them different meanings. Every world could be represented by organizing the single elements in different ways according to the rules. There is a significant advantage of universality achieved by applying rule, it reduces complexity by producing powerful regularity. In addition, in terms of hierarchy of universality, the author takes the numbering system for example. At the early stage, people use tallying system as a popular system to record. However, with the appearance of counting system that enables people to avoid repeating the most basic and simplest process of tallying, an incremental improvement was made. In this way, the counting system could be more easily to use and applied in the daily life. Then, with the development of Babbage’s Analytical Machines, the digital system could represent and process more types of information, including images, sounds, videos, calculations, and other things.


In my opinion, universality and rules applied help to make the language more powerful and sufficient.  In addition, for instance, cultural evolution is much faster than biological evolution. Based on the example given in the passage, while it might take around 200 years of time to generate cultural evolution during the Enlightment, it always takes millions of years for human to have some stable physical changes.

Cultural evolution

In cultural evolution, a good language is constructed by features that help human to communicate. And people developed them to help our selves. Biological evolution, oppositely, is not directed by the nature. As long as you can survive, you can continued to spread. And how it actually evolve could not be controlled by the species them self either. Its just random mutations that created the diversity. One pattern of different communications systems is of course every words could be presented. Another the universality of construction (alphabet or radical). In that case, a individual which is foreign to the language have the chance to study it.

Communication would today is very convenient due to two factors: one the technology gave us the chance to transform the datas very quick. This is the advance in media. Another factor is that the data base is great enough to translate one language to another so the language barrier is reduced. I can not imagine the change of language itself in the future, but the technology would definitely be improved a lot. There’s possibility of the reading nerve action in a longer term future. In short term the internet access speed would be improved.


“The Jump to Universality”

In “The Jump to Universality,” Deutch explains several evolutionary cycles for topics such as written communication, life of Earth, and technology. Deutch begins with written communication. Before communicating through words, humans use pictograms and Roman numerals. Eventually, as civilization grew more and more developed, the Phoenician alphabet, the Greek alphabet, and our current numeric system were created. In the creation of these communication systems, Deutch noticed a pattern of creation, usage, and modification. He goes on to explain the irony of how humans would modified to attain universality, but always stop before they did.

Accessibility would make communication more powerful. In a world limited by language barriers, borders, and oceans, an easy way for all people to be able to convey a message to another person, at any time or any place, would be life changing. In “The Jump to Universality,” Deutch uses pictograms to show one, of many, failed attempts towards universality. Ancient scribes had developed a system where one would put in a pictogram for the sound they wished to convey. To have the “tr” sound, one would put in a pictogram of a tree. Lacking confidence in their “alphabet,” the scribes did not commit to their alphabet, thus showing the failure that frequently occurs in the “modification” step in the pattern of evolution.

Future communication will likely take place on our smartphone screens. Interpersonal communication has already begun decreasing and will only continue. There will be less and less face to face contact as we continue down this path.

About communication

All patterns in the evolution of the linguistic system cannot be disconnected from universality. Those like the crossed part of words are served to become universal. That’s one of the main reason for the powerfulness of communication. Based on the same rules of express, people can make their words much more effective. Thus, in the future, people may start to speak in the same language or even with no language but mind connection. Languages make people communicate more efficiently. Therefore, it is possible to choose a more efficient way instead of languages. The theory looks like the evolution of creatures — better one stays. However, the progress of cultural evolution is shorter than the biological one and also the transition is step by step instead of the gradual way.

Cultural Evolution through Language

We are born as social beings. Communication is key, thus I can’t picture our world without communication in it. If it weren’t for language barriers, we would be able to understand each other much more.

I remember this biblical story about how the world all spoke one language and all of the people used their way of communication to build a tower to become closer with God. But God was upset at this gesture and decided to have many languages instead of just one, so another event similar to this would never happen again.

So what was the result of everyone speaking different languages and trying to record themselves? Pictograms. They used these to represent words or concepts. The purpose of this type of communication was to be able to record their discussions accurately in a simple way. Yet there came the problem of more complex discussions and figuring out how to transmit that to other people. There needed to be the implementation of a more universal communication – the alphabet, since the past ways of communication became outdated.

Communication is only becoming more powerful and efficient every day. They’re all structured upon what we want and need as a social society. With technological advances, we are continuously discovering new communications and innovating our past ones too. Social media is a huge deal of this because we can talk to people online there. Nowadays, a ton of people use bitmojis and emojis to describe themselves at that moment. Bitmojis and emojis use the same concept as pictographs. Both are very simple and direct!

The jump

  • I believe there is a pattern in the evolution of different communication system: the jump to universality is always built on several steps of evolution and is usually a by-product of the last evolution.


  • There are two parts of the pattern. First, no one can invent the universal machine from nothing. People build on predecessor’s work, making a communication across time. Take the invention of Arabic numerals as an example, the first leap happens when people begin to count, instead of tallying. Then people tried to find the best way to represent numbers: along the way, we discarded the Roman symbols and adopted the symbols of Indian. At last, people removed limits in the Greek system and get the universal language of numbers. This great invention in human history is like a collaboration between people from different countries and a different time.


  • Secondly, the universality is seldom the object of the last evolution. Take the example of numerals again, Archimedes imposed a rule that no numbers can exceed the powers of a myriad myriad. Although the number is already very large and the larger numbers are hardly ever used, it still prevents his invention from being a universal machine. He could easily get a universal language by removing the rule; however, he maybe believes that by “avoid aspiring to infinite reach in order to make a convincing case”(Jumper).


  • The jump to universality in communication is very hard to achieve. I imagine that in the future there may be a greater universal machine that combines the existing universal machines: Alphabets, Arabic numerals, computers, and etc. When that universal machine is achieved, communication can have a greater leap.



Evolution of language

As humans were transitioning from Nomads to being settlers, they developed complicated languages with rules to help them communicate with each other.  Over time, written language or written forms of communications got developed as well and soon there were special positions or jobs for people who could write. These people were known as Scribes were the story tellers and the ones who collected data and recorded history. They used language the most. And in order to better communicate what they were writing, they often changed the rules of the language to better suit themselves. Most early civilizations had scribes and they all used the same reasons to modify their languages. Most of them chose to add small incremental changes to the rules rather than rapid, monumental changes to strive for universality. Perhaps because they had no foresight that other people might want to access their recordings or they wanted to keep access to that information as little as possible in order to make their jobs more valuable. Or perhaps they just didn’t see a reason to do that. They couldn’t foretell the power of a universal way of communicating. Communication is powerful when all parties involved understand each other. The Bible tells a story of a point in time when all the people of Earth spoke one language and with that power, they all came together and decided to build a tower that could go all the way up to God. God not being a fan of this. He decided to change all their languages and soon no one was able to understand anyone. And the tower was never completed. That just speaks to the power of universal communication that once their understanding for each other was lost they couldn’t complete a project. I think Simon and Garfunkel predicted correctly when they sang “Ten thousand people maybe more/ People talking without speaking/ People hearing without listening/ People writing songs that voices never shared/ No one dared/”. I see a future where people don’t have to use sounds. Maybe we’ll be able to speak telepathically or everything will be picture based or text based. Whichever one it is, it wouldn’t involve to much talking.

Cultural Evolution

Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution states that it is a “process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits. Changes that allow an organism to better adapt to its environment will help it survive and have more offspring,” (Livescience). I think the same applies to technology. Better products come, older ones disappear. Apple and Samsung are companies that embody this belief, making small, incremental improvements to their designs and products every year and releasing them.  Up until AMD released Ryzen, Intel carried their operations the same way. They made slight enhancements to their processors because there was no competition – or no push natural selection.

With this push towards better, faster, and more reliable technology, the communication aspect gets pushed towards those same goals. The same way the telephone evolved into something we carry in our pockets, I can see that being pushed into something near the telepathic level – implants, earpieces, etc. Instead of speech-to-text it could be think-to-text. We see this mirrored in ourselves as well. Many humans, now, lack a ligament in the wrist that was useful for climbing trees and aided with grip strength.We no longer need that ligament in our wrist. So why put energy activating the muscle when it serves no purpose? We see this same phenomenon in processing units as they go from 28nm to 14nm – getting rid of unnecessary components to increase efficiency of batteries.lul

Evolution pushes our bodies, minds, our technology, and in turn, our methods of communication forwards – and these past few decades have shown that.

Devolution of Communication

It seems that communication systems evolve in relation to communities, specifically when the needs of communities change so does the communication systems.

As discussed in the reading, when written language was first created, it was in the form of pictograms. At that time, communities needed to simply record thoughts and what was discussed verbally. Pictograms were simple depictions of conversations and thus, met this need perfectly. However, soon communities needed a way to communicate ideas with one another. As a result, there was a dire need for a communication system that was accessible to all. Since pictograms relied on cultural symbols, pictograms could only be interpreted by those with the same cultural understandings. Thus, this new societal need sprouted the generation of a new communication system: the alphabet. 

Similarly, mankind first used tallies because initially communities simply needed a way to keep count. Yet, when communities began to practice more complex economics and people needed to preform arithmetic, tallies quickly became outdated and numerals evolved. 

Today, society’s needs have evolved once again. While in the past societies craved accessibility, it seems that today, communities desire efficiency. We are at the point in the history, where we are trying to truly enhance the human experience and truly distill the power of mankind. The general consensus is that we can achieve this by increasing efficiency and as a result, every product and service is dedicated to reducing pain points in our daily lives, allowing us to work more quickly and efficiently.

Thus, if I correctly identified the underlying trend and that communication systems evolve in relation with societal needs, I believe communication will evolve to be more efficient. We already see signs of this today. For example, emojis and bitmojis gained exponential success because they allowed people to communicate quicker. Rather than having to type out a statement that resonates compassion and support, people can now send a red heart emoji. Similarly, before on Facebook, users would either be able to like a friend’s post or write a comment. However, sometimes, a friend would post about a loved one that passed away, and “liking” their post seemed strange. Thus, Facebook evolved so that user no longer have to comment a long heartfelt message, but instead can select an emoji reaction that is appropriate.

Surprisingly enough, this development in communication is almost backwards, because we are returning to a form of communication that relies on pictograms. However, the issue pictograms faced was that they were inaccessible in the sense that complex concepts would be depicted through a combination of pictograms, but not every reader was aware of the rules that brought meaning to the combination. Yet, due to technology, these “rules” can spread quickly. For instance, we all know that the praying hands emoji is not a hands clapping emoji, because technology allowed these “rules” and understandings to spread.

As I reflect on the topic, it seems like communication as a whole is undergoing a devolution. When texting was first introduced, it was considered this revolutionary new way to communicate quickly; however, now texting is not quick and efficient enough. We want to type so fast that we shortened many of our words into acronyms and push for companies to develop an omnipotent autocorrect algorithm so that we do not have a sacrifice accuracy for speed.  Many users have even completely abandoned texting entirely and instead, utilize voice messages and “memojis” to communicate. These users argue that it is easier to hit record, speak, and send rather than type a message. These “voice message” users are growing in population and it would seem that the future communication is simply speaking– a complete devolution of communication systems.

I am not sure what avenue for communication will be next. It seems that the most efficient methods of communication are the ones we are born with: our voices and our facial expressions (which we now perform through emojis). If I were to guess, I would suggest that communication will most likely evolve to have products that enhance our biological/natural forms of communication. Emojis serve this exact purpose– they amplify our use of facial expressions by capturing them into animated, easily understandable images. Perhaps, the next form of communication would allow us to send voice messages at different playback speeds. For example, a user could a send a message to their friend, and their friend could choose the speed to listen to it at, allowing our friend to comprehend our message more efficiently. Or perhaps, an there would be a service integrated into a voice message system that would edit out the “umms” and “likes” we say when we speak, relieving our voice messages of the burden these time consuming filler words possess.

Cultural Evolution-xuemei yang

I think communication is a kind of interaction, then we have to use our five senses to contact with each other. Obviously, the way we use the most is speaking, which relates to listening. But we do have visual expressions that utilize pictures to convey visual messages. Different ways of communication systems cause different effects. For example, the meaning of words that people speak in daily life are usually direct. But the communication between views and artworks may be much more implicit. They leave great space for viewers to form their own interpretation. From my point of view, the thing that makes communication more powerful is emotion. For example, tone of speaking will help to establish the mood and more powerful. Or, take painting for another example, the choice of color or the brush strokes that convey painters’ emotion are also powerful. I think future communication will be more convenient, accurate and efficient. In the past, we can only send letters to communicate, and this may take several weeks. But now, we can call each other by just pressing a button. This shows the importance of convenience and efficiency. In the future, maybe we don’t even have to carry a phone, and people can communicate in a more efficient way.


On the other hand, communication is not limited to one-on-one. I think we have already done a lot by establishing platforms that allow thousands of people to communicate online. But I think with the development of technology, we can add more elements to this area that will make the online community tightly connected as our daily life.

Communications and Cultural Evolution

Although communication systems vary with regional difference and time, the patterns in their evolution are always about making means of communications more universal and convenient. Communication is powerful when it represents people’s authentic thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t have to be in the form of words or texts. For instance, people hug each other to show love, care, and affection. The action of hugging is a universal body language. Even if two people are not from the same country, through hugging, they communicate the same emotion.

Since the emergence of social media, spoken and written languages have changed to a certain degree. Communication is also under a series of changes.  I think in future communications, abbreviations for more words and phrases will be developed, and emojis will be used more frequently as pictograms. Some more new words will be coined in the evolution of people’s communications.

Cultural evolution can take less time to happen than biological evolution. Take the 19th century Enlightenment as an example, it only takes people two hundred years or so to shape new mindsets. However, it takes billions of years for humans to evolve significant biological changes. People always know how to choose for their best and accommodate new environments, therefore, human minds are always quite flexible and malleable when it comes to new opinions or ideologies.

Jump to Universality Response

Language is an identity. It can expose someone’s origin and related culture. It is the basis of how we communicate. Although, it wasn’t always a stable and efficient way to get ideas and information across. Recorded language can be found all the way back to the use of pictograms and has evolved since due to necessity, efficiency, and innovation. Up until modern days, these systems of communication that stemmed from the pictogram have failed to be universal. This pattern of failure was due to the subjects not realizing how great their systems were, not being able to grasp such an abstract concept/ not caring to, or dismissing the system instead of utilizing it.

Communication is more powerful when it is widely understood, accessible, and used the right way. This makes me think of education and how some schools do not get the resources they should in order to articulate ideas or communicate their thoughts in a way that is widely understood and respected. This puts them at a disadvantage. Hence, communication in this sense is used as a weapon. If they do not have the tools to communicate, then how could they fully take advantage of it? How can they stand up for their rights and have higher level discussions on issues within their community?

Given modern technology and all the social media platforms, I believe future communication with each other will continue to be encouraged and at its all-time high. Mostly everyone has access to share their opinions or experiences online. This creates a generation that is taking in more information than ever before. I think communication will continue to evolve as well. There are many things that influence communication to change such as discussions happening on the impact of words and local slang that sprouts. This is more of a cultural evolution than anything else. Biological evolution relates to physical changes of the body while cultural evolution relates to the change of ideas and traditions one believes.  We do not need to evolve in physical traits in order to communicate with people better. I think good communication is straightforward and requires more listening than speaking.

Communication and Evolution

Communications systems started with the most basic building blocks of symbols, representing the bare necessities of humanity at the time. As our needs and expressions became increasingly complex and diverse, communication systems evolved with us. When it became necessary to teach these systems to others, for example children or those who spoke a different language, humans made the transition to using alphabets, as if instinctually. Except for Chinese and partially Japanese, which kept symbols as part of their systems. So naturally, Chinese characters and Japanese kanji are a struggle for foreign language learners. Technology has inevitably become a core aspect of communication as well. We do most of our communicating over texts, emails, phone calls, and what I’m doing right now, as I write this post, is also a form of communication. While the typical argument has been that this kind of communication makes us emotionally numb and unresponsive, I would counter that this does amplify the power and reach of communication in new and profound ways. We can shoot quick text to our friends to make plans  within a few minutes, or call our parents when we miss them. Nothing quite compares to spending time with friends though. Communication is made up of words, images, and above all, the physical aspect. Technology is cool and convenient, but it needs to be utilized in tandem with our human communication.

Cultural evolution involves societal and intangible change. To make things even more complex, transfer of information in cultural evolution is network-like as a result of communication systems. Human creativity and mind reading, the specific human capacity of being aware what other people have in mind, are motors specific for innovation, invention, and cultural evolution.


Communication is what we as the human race use to transfer thoughts and ideas to each other.

Throughout history communication has stayed relatively similar, we have some sort of language, we may use hand signals or some sort of gesture to physically communicate. Or we may write out our thoughts in language or in picture form.

I think what can make communication most powerful is by emphasizing expression. Expression could be defined as “the process of making known one’s thoughts or feelings”. People express their feelings when they speak somewhat subtly. Everyone has a different personality and behavior that will convey different feelings to whoever it is they communicate with. If someone is particularly angry,they may speak with a harsher tone, use bad language, move their arms around, or yell, or someone who is happy may smile while speaking, laughing, or seem just overall happy in mood while speaking. Personally I believe this sort of expression is most important in communication because it allows us to understand the speaker on a more personal and understanding level.

Communication has had hurdles in recent years. Current times make it much easier to convey thoughts without speaking physically. I can speak for myself when I say this but it definitely has created a society where now many of us don’t communicate personally and we can’t communicate on the deeper level that I mentioned before. Now we can hide behind a computer and speak, and actually, we don’t even need to speak, we can do what I’m doing right now, typing out my ideas. It is certainly more comfortable and easy to talk about certain things but I think it could be improved in a way where we could still be strong social beings.

In the future, I would love to see a device or system of sorts that allows us to be more intimate and close with the people we socialize with. A way that we can speak our feelings and have someone fully understand the other. I’m not quite sure how that could come into fruition, but I’d love to know how we could develop this idea further.