Borg Weaknesses

Memetic Infection

One of the most worrying weaknesses is the spread of virulent information patterns such as memes. Memes thrive in environments with intense communication (Bjarneskans et al. 1997), and would likely spread extremely quickly inside a borganism, infecting both collective and unit schemata. Having a working system for memetic defence appears to be vital for the well-being of a borganism, especially in the face of memes similar to computer viruses (in the cybernetic environment of a borganism there is little difference). It is not unlikely that a borganism has to retain a high degree of mental hygiene in order not to succumb to selfish mental replicators.

Still, it is unlikely that external or internal memetic defences will be perfect, especially since the borganism itself may accidentally create destabilizing memes during normal thinking and internal communication. The evolution of parasites appears to be ubiquitous in life-like (eco)systems, and the more interconnected the ecosystem is, the greater is the complexity of coevolution and hyperparasitism (Kelly 1994). This suggests that borganisms might generally not be able to avoid a certain level of internal selfish replicators, and that the best strategy in dealing with them is to integrate symbiotic replicators as a kind of immune system rather than attempt to fruitlessly eradicate them (Moravec 1988).


Groupthink is a common problem in human groups: the group becomes divorced from reality due to its internal consensus (which may even be illusory); it fails to question its own assumptions and to take unwelcome aspects of reality into account. If the borganism has to keep its units in line, it is likely it will directly or indirectly counteract dissent, which may promote groupthink. Often the best way of avoiding groupthink is to allow dissenting minorities to present their view. On the other hand, borganisms with sufficiently high bandwidth may be less susceptible to groupthink than human groups. If the units can present not only their views but the mental processes which reached these views it may become easier to judge the relative merit of the different positions. They are no longer assertions about reality but rather different models which can be analysed using critical thinking, empirical testing or synthesis.

The Selfish Borg

A borganism is not just a distributed organism, it is also in some sense a social organisation. This means that the relationship between itself and its units can become a source of trouble. If memetic evolution and spread cannot be avoided (for example by having units whose minds can easily be reformatted), there is the risk that discontent or other disturbances can propagate among the units, destabilising the borganism.

For example, selfish units may be a problem. Assuming that the units retain some autonomy, it is not unreasonable to think that some might decide to profit on the expense of the borganism. In human groups this can be observed as the diffusion of responsibility (the more people involved in a task the less intensely they tend to work if their results cannot be traced back to them) and forms of social parasitism. If this strategy is successful it can quickly spread (due to the fast transmission of memes) leading to the weakening or dissolution of the borganism. Accountability of units may be a simple way of dealing with this, especially since the borganism network is likely ideal for keeping track of what everybody is doing (or not doing). Still, it is likely that selfish strategies can develop which are hard to detect.


Folksonomies: borganism

/health and fitness/disease/aids and hiv (0.409082)
/society/welfare (0.386645)
/health and fitness/disease (0.383775)

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Bjarneskans:Person (0.702975 (neutral:0.000000)), immune system:FieldTerminology (0.663338 (neutral:0.000000)), Moravec:City (0.661681 (neutral:0.000000)), Kelly:Person (0.645996 (neutral:0.000000))

Memetics (0.977252): yago | dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Meme (0.925549): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
The Selfish Gene (0.912954): dbpedia | freebase | yago
Richard Dawkins (0.903249): musicBrainz | freebase | dbpedia | website | opencyc | yago
Thought (0.876808): opencyc | freebase | dbpedia
Gene (0.785558): dbpedia | freebase
Symbiosis (0.759785): dbpedia | freebase
Parasitism (0.745885): dbpedia | freebase

 We, Borg
Electronic/World Wide Web>Internet Article:  Sandberg, Anders (Unknown), We, Borg, Retrieved on 2014-11-07
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  • Folksonomies: speculation collectivism