The Age of the Mediocre Famous

This article encompasses some of my thoughts on how the age of the internet and the enabling computing devices have democratized several activities across the spectrum; which were once dominated by the privileged. An undesirable side effect of this democratization is the rise of a wave of mediocrity surprisingly accompanied by fame.

The Internet Era

Before we dwell into the topic at hand, let us have a glance at the recent past, by which I mean a few centuries. The years from 1300 AD to 1600 AD marked the age of the Renaissance. Arguably, this was the period when modern science took its current form, along with the germination of many political and industrial innovations. Consequently, rather concurrently, started the ugly episode of colonialism, which the concerned aggressor parties, proudly call as the age of globalization.

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Democratization in Materialism

Materialism in the age of the internet has evolved much more rapidly. More than a decade back, owning a Gmail account (at the time of its launch) gave a sense of privilege. In fact, it was sold as a commodity on eBay. Today, a few thousand likes on a tweet is a precious commodity well worth flaunting to your friends. There are cases of many aspiring celebrities who paid shady organizations to get new followers, on their social networking accounts. The worth of politicians and celebrities is measured by the number of their followers on such accounts. A YouTuber known as PewDiePie can gain international fame and money rivalling a corporate power — from his room.

The Rise of the Mediocre Famous

The evolution of human activities and the changes in our acquired taste are not new. But the rate at which the change is happening is unprecedented. We human beings have a limited time to live. We are still limited by the amount of time we can stay awake and are constrained by our mental ability to learn. When the rate of disruption is exponential, with limits on our faculties, can the human society evolve its infrastructure and systems at the same rate? Looking at climate change, the answer seems more towards negative.

computer scientist — cinephile — writer — runner

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