Because he apparently had nothing better to do, a French mathematician has concocted a formula that proves, and explains why, all “hipsters” look the same.
Jonathan Touboul’s “hipster paradox” asserts that while hipsters all yearn to be different—how dare they!—”they are too slow to detect the trend.”
“They synchronize and they all do, and all these people that want to be different they all do the same thing at the same time,” he said to Reuters. “This is where the hipster effect name comes from.”
But don’t worry: Touboul says his formula, which is at once condescending and pointless, can be interchanged with other social groups. According to Reuters, he hopes his model can help identify cultural phenomena and brain dynamics.
Here’s his abstract:
[quote]In such different domains as statistical physics and spin glasses, neurosciences, social science, economics and finance, large ensemble of interacting individuals taking their decisions either in accordance (mainstream) or against (hipsters) the majority are ubiquitous. Yet, trying hard to be different often ends up in hipsters consistently taking the same decisions, in other words all looking alike. We resolve this apparent paradox studying a canonical model of statistical physics, enriched by incorporating the delays necessary for information to be communicated. We show a generic phase transition in the system: when hipsters are too slow in detecting the trends, they will keep making the same choices and therefore remain correlated as time goes by, while their trend evolves in time as a periodic function. This is true as long as the majority of the population is made of hipsters. Otherwise, hipsters will be, again, largely aligned, towards a constant direction which is imposed by the mainstream choices. Beyond the choice of the best suit to wear this winter, this study may have important implications in understanding dynamics of inhibitory networks of the brain or investment strategies finance, or the understanding of emergent dynamics in social science, domains in which delays of communication and the geometry of the systems are prominent.[/quote]