Technological Innovation As an Evolutionary Process

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-09-18
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Technological artefacts and biological organisms 'evolve' by very similar processes of blind variation and selective retention. This analogy is explored systematically, for the first time, by a team of international experts from evolutionary biology, history and sociology of science and technology, cognitive and computer science, economics, psychology, education, cultural anthropology and research management. Do technological 'memes' play the role of genes? In what sense are novel inventions 'blind'? Does the element of design make them 'Lamarckian' rather than 'Darwinian'? Is the recombination of ideas the essence of technological creativity? Can invention be simulated computationally? What are the entities that actually evolve - artefacts, ideas or organisations? These are only some of the many questions stimulated and partially answered by this powerful metaphor. With its practical demonstration of the explanatory potential of 'evolutionary reasoning' in a well-defined context, this book is a ground-breaking contribution to every discipline concerned with cultural change.

Table of Contents

Part I. Evolutionary Thinking: 1. Evolutionary models for technological change John Ziman
2. Biological evolution: processes and phenomena Eva Jablonka and John Ziman
3. Lamarckian inheritance systems in biology: a source of metaphors and models in technological evolution Eva Jablonka
4. Selectionism and complexity John Ziman
5. Evolutionary phenomena in technological change Joel Mokyr
6. Selection criteria and selection processes in cultural evolution theories Richard Nelson
Part II. Innovation as a Cultural Practice: 7. Technological evolution and involution
a preliminary comparison of Europe and Japan Alan Macfarlane and Sarah Harrison
8. Stasis in complex artefacts Gerry Martin
9. Gothic tales of spandrels, hooks, and monsters: complexity, multiplicity and association in the explanation of technological change David Turnbull
10. Path dependence and varieties of learning in the evolution of technological practice Paul A. David
Part III. Invention as a Process: 11. Invention and evolution: the case of Edison's sketches of the telephone W. Bernard Carlson
12. The evolution of adaptive form David Perkins
13. Real-world variation-selection in the volution of technological form: historical examples Walter G. Vincenti
14. Learning to be inventive: design, evaluation and selection in primary school technology Joan Solomon
15. Technological evolution as self-fulfilling prophecy Geoffrey Miller
Part IV. Institutionalized Innovation: 16. Recursive practice and the evolution of technological knowledge Edward W. Constant II
17. The concept of 'design space' Rikard Stankiewicz
18. Artefact<
->activity: the co-evolution of artefacts, knowledge and organization in technological innovation James Fleck
19. The organization of innovative enterprises Gerard Fairclough
Part V. Technological Change in a Wider Perspective: 20. The evolution of war and technology Edward W. Constant II
21. Learning about technology in society: developing liberating literacy Janet Davies Burns
22. An end-word

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