The ability of humans to create and disseminate culture is often credited as the single most important factor of our success as a species. In this Perspective, we explore the notion of ‘machine culture’, culture mediated or generated by machines. We argue that intelligent machines simultaneously transform the cultural evolutionary processes of variation, transmission and selection. Recommender algorithms are altering social learning dynamics. Chatbots are forming a new mode of cultural transmission, serving as cultural models. Furthermore, intelligent machines are evolving as contributors in generating cultural traits—from game strategies and visual art to scientific results. We provide a conceptual framework for studying the present and anticipated future impact of machines on cultural evolution, and present a research agenda for the study of machine culture.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Social Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience