In genetics they talk of the “phenotype”. This is any observable characteristic or trait of an organism including its form and structure, development, behaviour, and even products of behaviour such as a bird’s nest.

An unusual property of humans (compared with other organisms) is language, since for the first time information about long-term survival can be passed by other means than genes. This has led to the creation of the subject of ‘memes’, as analogous to genes, as carriers of information in human society.

Memes have allowed humans to create buildings, cities, and to fly like gods through the sky, albeit often in rather cramped surroundings with terrible food.

And to create computers.

So should we regard computers as part of the phenotype of humans? And if so, should we care?

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