Who Will Be Famous in 10,000 Years?

Tyler Cowen, an economist and the blogger behind Marginal Revolution, was asked by a reader:

Who do you think will still be famous in 10,000 years? People from history or now. Shakespeare? Socrates? Hawking?

He answered (in part):

In that case, I'll go with the major religious leaders (Jesus, Buddha, etc.), Einstein, Turing, Watson and Crick, Hitler, the major classical music composers, Adam Smith, and Neil Armstrong.[...]

My thinking is this. The major religions last for a long time and leave a real mark on history. Path-dependence is critical in that area.

Otherwise, an individual, to stay famous, will have to securely symbolize an entire area, and an area "with legs" at that. The theory of relativity still will be true and it may well become more important. The computer and DNA will not be irrelevant. Hitler will remain a stand-in symbol for pure evil; if he is topped we may not have a future at all. Beethoven and Mozart still will be splendid, but Shakespeare and other wordsmiths will require translation and thus will fade somewhat. The propensity to truck and barter will remain and Smith will keep his role as the symbol of economics.

Who do you think will be famous in 10,000 years?

Link | Photo by Flickr user jake.auzzie used under Creative Commons license

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I could see Steve Jobs being reflected upon as some sort of technological shaman...

Interesting parallel: The 10,000 Year Clock by The Long Now Foundation

That is a real project that Brian Eno is part of (how I learned of it). Monumental Chiming Clock...

"The idea to build a monument scale, multi-millennial, all mechanical clock as an icon to long-term thinking came from computer scientist Danny Hillis and was published in the form of an email to friends. Later it was followed up with an essay published in the 01995 Wired magazine "Scenarios" issue. Danny reasoned that by actually building a remote monument, the discussions around long-term thinking would be far more focused and it would lend itself to good storytelling and myth -- two key requirements of anything lasting a long time."
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