View of the world according to Wikipedia: Are we all little Steinbergs?

Overell, Simon and Rüger, Stefan (2011). View of the world according to Wikipedia: Are we all little Steinbergs? Journal of Computational Science, 2(3) pp. 193–197.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jocs.2011.05.006

Abstract

Saul Steinberg's most famous cartoon "View of the world from 9th Avenue" depicts the world as seen by self-absorbed New Yorkers. By analysing wikipediae of a range of different languages, we find that this particular fish-eye world view is ubiquitous and inherently part of human nature.

By measuring the skew in the distribution of locations in different languages we can confirm the validity of plausible quantitative models. These models demonstrate convincingly that people all have similar world views: "We are all little Steinbergs."

Our Steinberg hypothesis allows the world view of specific people to be more accurately modelled; this will allow greater understanding of a person's discourse, either by someone else or automatically by a computer.

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