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Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age$
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Alberto Acerbi

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198835943

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198835943.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 October 2020

Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.213) Conclusion
Source:
Cultural Evolution in the Digital Age
Author(s):

Alberto Acerbi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198835943.003.0009

The book concludes by mentioning some of the topics that it did not consider, such as concerns about data privacy, monopoly of social media companies, effects of digital media overuse on psychological well-being, or the fact that, for many people, online access is still barely achievable. Despite this, the research discussed in this book, which focuses on the informational aspects of our digital and online lives, suggests there are grounds for cautious optimism. Another problem is mentioned, which is thought to be urgent: the increase of available information also increases differences in how people access and use information, being advantageous for some and disadvantageous for others. How we will face this informational inequality will be a pressing problem in the next years. Finally the main message of the book with respect to cultural evolution theory is summarized: “culture” is not an entity with causal powers, but a property that artefacts, ideas, and behaviors have to a certain degree. Social influence is not blind and automatic, and the reasons why cultural traits become successful are many: cognitive preferences are only one of them.

Keywords:   internet access, data privacy, social media, online access gap, informational inequality, cultural transmission, cultural evolution

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