“I began blogging in January 2008 with thoughts about what was memorable that had happened the previous year. That idea has grown into my mentally projecting myself five hundred years into the future and looking back at someone who did something this year that is still remembered at that distant time.” That is a self-quote from earlier this month – 2018/12/10 – where I checked the current possibles for TIME Person of the Year looking for people who would be remembered in 2518 CE, and only found Elon Musk as a possible new contender because Xi Jinping had already been chosen back in 2016 for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
Not mentioned in TIME’s list was Palmer Luckey who created Oculus Rift, which is now being joined by Oculus Go. That change came about because Oculus is now under the aegis of Facebook and its administrators. However, it was Luckey who pursued the idea of Virtual Reality (VR) most vigorously and brought it closest to a workable system. The company he organized was sold to Facebook for $3 billion.
The Oculus Go is being supported by many companies including Google and I believe it will explode in popularity over the coming year.
The choice between Musk and Luckey comes down to timing. Both of these people had worked for years in bringing their devices to the public, and both of their productions made major proofs of concept this last year. Musk has cut the cost of putting stuff into space by so great an amount that now space, once again, becomes a new frontier. Luckey, by comparison, has changed how the public will experience reality. Both of these things will be remembered in five hundred years because both will have a huge impact on the coming years.
The complete up-to-present list of – Probaway Person of the Year:
- 2018 – Astronomers for discovering the signatures of the heavy elements like gold in the collision of neutron stars.
- 2017 – Albert Einstein for predicting black holes, their collisions creating gravity waves, and the laser for observing the gravity waves.
- 2016 – Xi Jinping for taking China from a backward economy to the most powerful one on Earth.
- 2015 – Peter Higgs and Alan Guth created theories that led to proofs this year of mass and gravity sources.
- 2014 – Jennifer Doudna created a method for insertion of designed DNA precisely into existing DNA.
- 2013 – Plague Inc. is a computer game that explores the problems of creating a disease that will kill every last human being on Earth.
- 2012 – Zebrafish research-technique advances made it possible to observe drug interactions within living animals.
- 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.
Check back in early January 2019 to view my choice.