Randal A. Koene at Kurzweil AI has written an intriguing essay in which he argues that the current competitive strategy of humanity as a species — which is defined by genes competing for reproduction — is bound to be supplanted by a new competitive strategy driven by information patterns:
Pattern survival in humans is currently being driven by gene-survival, even though the evolution of humans is itself merely a byproduct of the competition for gene survival (ref. R. Dawkins, 1976). So how can one motivate pattern survival without gene survival? How can one separate the desire to procreate thought characteristics that support specific memes from the desire to procreate genes in humans?Humans have been moving towards an interest in pattern survival ever since they began to think about thinking, and since they began to explore the experience of self-awareness. We see the early consequences of this shift in the remembrance of those who have contributed memes in science, art, and the history of our species. The shift is accentuated today by organized efforts aiming specifically to accomplish the necessary transition.
The difference between then and now, or rather between now and when the real shift to patterns as the primary competitive driver begins, is this: up to this point, we, the pattern-spreaders have ourselves been driven by genetic competition. At some point in the future, we will be able to capture and transmit the pattern that is us. When that occurs, genetic competition gets left behind once and for all — and the future will be about competing patterns; that is, competing entities not dependent on any particular substrate.