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Could we use a scoring system for digital content, assigning them an ‘online (digital) fitness’?

Could we use a scoring system for digital content, assigning them an ‘online (digital) fitness’?

Image credit: Eugene Zhyvchik, unsplash.com

By Subash Chapagain on Oct 21, 2020

[1] Orr HA. Fitness and its role in evolutionary genetics. Nat Rev Genet. 2009;10(8):531-539. doi:10.1038/nrg2603

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Shubhankar Kulkarni a month ago
This seems like a good idea. I am thinking about its use. How can we use the fitness of a meme? We know a meme is thriving since the majority of the people know about it. So spreading the best memes cannot be one of the uses. The second use I could think of was monetizing the memes. The one coming up with the best meme gets some prize, every retweet/ share of the meme gives the owner some share of the income generated. But, that too, is in place. Knowing the fitness of a meme would not bring a radical change in that.

Here are some points that form the opposite view. Memes are short-lives when compared to genes. Knowing genes better, therefore, makes more sense than studying memes. Another reason why the fitness of a meme might not help much is that fitness is determined based on the spread of a meme and it is only known once the meme has spread.

This leads us to one use of the fitness of the memes - to identify a pattern and then predict the fitness, and therefore, the spread of new memes. The pains of predicting the fitness will only be justified if the fitness is put to better use.
Subash Chapagain a month ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni
I was thinking that if there was a way to figure out what type of contents online tend to be more fit, maybe we could then use the scoring system to re-enforce positive contents vs the negative ones. That is why I stressed on considering every content (be it a post, audio, a video or any other format) as a meme. Taken from the fundamental definition of a meme, this is indeed the case. Since every content on its own is an idea (or a proxy of an idea), it could be taken as a meme. I am trying to establish a meme-centric view of the digital world, analogous to the gene-centric view of the biological world.

This approach could be particularly useful in tackling fake news and mis-information, if established and updated accordingly.
Shubhankar Kulkarni a month ago
Subash Chapagain I understand. A separate problem that arises here is to define a positive and a negaitive meme. There is a lot of grey area there. Also, positive and negative memes are context-dependent, not universal. I can't get my head around how scoring can tackle fake news and mis-information.
Subash Chapagain a month ago
Shubhankar Kulkarni
To distinguish fake news or wrong information beforehand might be difficult, however, in the retrospect, I believe there already are existing algorithms that allow us to do so. By using the same approach that allows twitter or facebook to flag graphic content (hence giving these contents a low score), we could train the deep learning system (there already are deepfake algorithms that can meta-learn in a rapid scale) to detect the low scoring contents and notify the moderators of the respective platforms.

Another offshoot may be futuristic use of such a scoring system is to associate each individual's 'digital persona' with a value derived from the cumulative scores of the contents he/she generates, and using that value as some kind of currency online. However, a lot of variables need to be adjusted for that. I was thinking of creating an idea session around this concept. I am still mapping my mind as to how such a currency might be developed and regulated.
Shubhankar Kulkarni a month ago
Subash Chapagain If you evaluate the sincerity of a meme in retrospect, the damage is already done, the meme will have already reached the majority of people. We might need a different approach here.

I agree with your second paragraph. We can attach a digital score for users just like all other social networking sites do (followers, likes, etc.). We need to figure out what additional information can be derived from the "digital persona" that the current criteria for evaluation (followers, likes, etc.) don't provide.