The Selfish Dataome

Caleb Scharf: We humans actually generate far more actionable information than is encoded in all of our combined genetic material, and we carry much of it into the future. The data outside of our biological selves — call it the dataome — could actually represent the grander scaffolding for complex life. The dataome may provide a universally recognizable signature of the slippery characteristic we call intelligence, and it might even teach us a thing or two about ourselves. It is also something that has a considerable energetic burden. That burden challenges us to ask if we are manufacturing and protecting our dataome for our benefit alone, or, like the selfish gene, because the data makes us do this because that’s what ensures its propagation into the future.

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