Susan Blackmore studies memes — those self-replicating "life forms" that spread themselves via human consciousness. We're now headed, she believes, toward a new form of meme, spread by the technology we've created.

Why you should listen

Susan Blackmore is dedicated to understanding the scientific nature of consciousness. Her latest work centers on the existence of memes -- little bits of knowledge, lore, habit that seem to spread themselves using human brains as mere carriers. She's exploring the existence of a new class of meme, spread by human technology. It's temporarily named the "teme."

She has written about memes, consciousness, and near-death experiences; has appeared on the British Big Brother to discuss the psychology of the participants; and writes for the Guardian UK.

What others say

“She took Richard Dawkins' intuition about memes (ideas that, like genes, take a life of their own) and turned it into a fully fledged theory.” — Bruno Giussani, TED Blog

Susan Blackmore’s TED talk

Susan Blackmore on the TED Blog
See all

4 great talks for International Women's Day

March 8, 2009

To celebrate March 8, International Women’s Day, we suggest these four TEDTalks gems from some amazing speakers — artists, scientists and economists who think deeply about the role of women. Author and activist Isabel Allende discusses women, creativity, feminism — and the power of passionate thinkers and doers: The former Finance Minister of Nigeria, Ngozi […]

Continue reading

Building a new kind of meme: Susan Blackmore on TED.com

June 3, 2008

Susan Blackmore studies memes: ideas that replicate themselves, passing from brain to brain like a physical virus. At TED2008, Blackmore makes a bold new argument: Humanity has spawned a new category of meme, the “teme,” which spreads itself via technology — and invents brand-new ways to keep itself alive. (Recorded February 2008 in Monterey, California. […]

Continue reading

Quotes from Susan Blackmore

We humans are Earth’s Pandoran species.
Susan Blackmore
TED2008 • 621K views Jun 2008
Fascinating, Informative
Information that we copy from person to person, by imitation, by language, by talking, by telling stories, by wearing clothes, by doing things — this is information copied with variation and selection. This is [a] design process.
Susan Blackmore
TED2008 • 621K views Jun 2008
Fascinating, Informative
All other species on this planet are gene machines only. They don’t imitate at all well; we alone are gene machines and meme machines as well.
Susan Blackmore
TED2008 • 621K views Jun 2008
Fascinating, Informative