Fame, Chance or Science?

Fame is a state of being known by many people. Yet, most people confuse fame with popularity, which is slightly different.  If you would have asked someone in “el bario’ who is the “mariachi” from the corner, you would’ve probably got 150% feedback form all the mamacitas living there. Today we have google and google hit. You ping the name, you hit the spot. The number of hits is considered an instrument of fame. But since information and opinions are also confusing terms for most, it is time to question the nature of fame. University of California made some research on the nature of fame in regards to one’s achievement and how more achievement could increase someone’s fame. While fame was found to be easily computed, achievement had trouble in experimenting its value.

One of the studies was made on chess players, which have an Elo rating, representing the strength of the player in comparison with other players, and also used for the expected output of the game between two players. In this research, each player’s name was entered in Google, they counted the Google hits and the result was compared to the Elo rating for all the 371 title holders (grand masters and international masters) born between 1901-1943, to understand how fame relates to achievement. The result was that fame increases exponential with the achievement. One of the examples given was Bobby Fischer, one of the most known chess grandmasters of all time and Mikhail Botvinnik, also a great grandmaster yet not so well known. While calculating the Google hits versus their ratings, the results were that in terms of achievement figure, Botvinnik is just 6% lower that Fischer’s but he is significantly less famous with only 173.000 Google hits versus 1.260.000 for Fischer. In other words, Fischer scorers marginally higher achievements yet he is seven times more famous than his opponent.

I believe that in computing this relations, and calibrating the value term of fame or achievement, the key is in the standardized instrument of rating, such as the Elo rating in chess. In other areas, like science, fields of education, sports, this topic is or can be covered by institutions that are setting standards or ratings or degrees that can be used as a pillar of reference, yet, industries like entertainment, marketing, having no such thing, covered by the idea of freedom of speech and action, especially where exists a lack of an educated mindset are actually creating an error function which distorts both the meaning of fame and achievement.

The Kardashian phenomenon is such an example at a global scale. Yet most countries, especially where social media is a developed market, are dealing with such bunkers that have used and abused the term of fame in achieving a notoriety that is changing the output of collective intelligence and also behavior, considering that the achievement in this cases is the status of role models, creating fragmented markets, ideologies and conflicts that are deteriorating the status quo and the reference moral standards. If any, of course.

Open markets, either economically or socially are ideal in such way that every action improves or should improve the status and the quality of any group, yet, those who understand how it works, unfortunately are more inclined into speculating and monetizing the lack of education and understanding. Scaling the subject,  they are creating systems that are building markets and instruments supporting those markets and by the time that people figure it out, how it changes the environment through perception and behavior, those systems are already in place, creating new niches, new adepts, followers that support that flow.

The research made by the University of California is not singular. They also made a study on the fighter pilots from WW1 on the same model of fame and achievement, the only difference between chess and fighter pilots being that nobody dies playing chess, they can play multiple times, while the achievement on the fighter pilot was defeating an opponent by crashing its aircraft. It did raise me a question on the type of examples used in the research, both of them using  oppositions within a model, leading me to an old conclusion of mine that forms of oppositions create the quality, rating, degree and experience of an individual in a certain system. Today, most of criticism is condemned as trolling or hating while the other is using a stimulative fake or unconscious model of love and kindness which beyond the image, actually stands no articulate or truthful ground.

If we look only within social media, one of the biggest achievements is actually truthful news, that can be rated as such on a constant base. But, as it is rather of a pool of feed, people are using it more for content exchange, the main players fishing for users which are easily dragged, and dropped by the means of entertaining, which due to its opportunities of monetizing, entertainment has become an instrument of collective deed rather than sole entertaining. When it comes to strategy, it is a double side coin, both for good and bad, which can be split into individual good, group good, common good on the expense of the others. Therefore fame, tends to become more of a scientific replicated model.

Despite the creativity trigger  of breaking the rules, going beyond and reaching for the stars, most of quality people tend to stay either below the line or above the line, but never within the system, because the mindset is pretty much formed and kept within certain boundaries. And without having another system that can balance the existing one, that makes famous people out of bunkers, it is kind of a lost cause to deal with it, because you would have to use the same instruments and it would probably look the same way, except not everyone could tell the difference between what is quality in terms of impact in a place where everyone is struggling for the happily ever after.

The conclusion is the following: When the distribution of achievement grows exponentially, and fame grows exponentially with achievement, then fame is distributed according to the power of law. Or with the power of marketing.


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