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I am watching and very interested to discover who will be Probaway’s person of the year. The method of choosing this person is to estimate whether what they did will still be considered remarkable enough that they will be remembered personally five hundred years into the future. TIME magazine’s Person of the Year is generally based on the current reigning US President, or some other head of state, or the most currently newsworthy personality. Few of their fifty-year-old choices would be known to living young adults, and yet there are persons from each of those years who are still known. It is those qualities which intrigue me and help me to decide whom I think will still be known to future people.

The idol of today pushes the hero of yesterday out of our recollection; and will, in turn, be supplanted by his successor of tomorrow.

Washington Irving (1783-1859)

Presently the public attention is dominated by movie and TV personalities, and typically even politicians other than the chief executive get only fleeting attention. And yet, we are living in fabulous times and there are many people doing amazing things, and yet they are almost unknown to the public. Some of these will probably gain fame as the years roll by, and it is my effort to discover who they are – now.

= = = = Below is updated from my Probaway 2011/01/01/ post = = = =

Each New Year I have chosen a Probaway Person of the Year. The guiding principle is to choose someone who will probably still be remembered in 500 years for something they did in the previous year. Originally the Probaway Person of the Year post was intended as a riposte to TIME magazine’s Person of the Year articles. Their method appeared to me to be shortsighted because they were mostly interested in the newsworthy people of the previous year. Most of the choices were heads of state, which seemed like they were selecting the office for that particular year rather than something the person did that would be remembered in the future. When one looks at their previous 82 choices it becomes apparent that their person of the year vanishes from history, as an individual person, within a few years after leaving public office.

The Probaway choices for memorable persons of the year may seem strange, but these individuals have done something which will be remembered and used long after they have departed this year’s public awareness, as their accomplishments will keep bringing them back into prominence for a very long time.

  • 2011 – Craig Venter  laid the groundwork for creating entirely new forms of life (greater than species) out of computer-generated DNA sequences.
  • 2010 – Nadya Suleman (Octomom) and the society that created this travesty of good sense will be remembered into the distant future by many hungry people.
  • 2009 – Jimmy Wales for Wikipedia, which will be still be used after our current computer operating systems are surpassed and forgotten.
  • 2008 – Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) because he shows people how to relate to dogs and people much better than anyone else. His videos and techniques will be remembered and used as long as there are people and dogs.