It’s the ideal theory for the Internet age, but it’s over 90 years old. The Theory of the Six Degrees of Separation has been tried several times. It is valid For serving us.
Around 7.7 billion people live in the world. Is there the possibility of contacting any of them, using a maximum of five contacts Today with the Internet, it seems relatively likely. But almost 100 years ago it was just a sci-fi idea.
The Theory of the Six Degrees of Separation was first formulated by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy in his short story Chains , published in 1930, although that name was adopted in the 1960s. A theory that was initially considered unprovable, but which was rescued from oblivion with the rise of the Internet.
From Facebook to IBM they have tried to prove it, with different results . Today the world is so interconnected that some experts believe it can be reduced from six to four degrees.
We are going to see what the Theory of the Six Degrees of Separation is , how it has been tried to demonstrate, and what practical effects it has, A concept that tries to show that the world is much smaller than we think.
The Theory of the six degrees of separation states that it is possible to contact any person on the planet, using a maximum of five intermediaries. Six, if you count the recipient . That’s why it’s called Six Degrees of Separation.
Part of the idea that each person knows about 50 or 100 people on average , counting family, friends, acquaintances, etc. Now with the Internet this number has grown, but before social networks that was more or less average.
Suppose a person has 100 acquaintances. They each know 100 other people, so with just two degrees of contacts (your friends and your friends’ friends), you can contact 100×100 = 10,000 people.
Those 10,000 people know another 100 each, so the next grade covers 1,000,000 people. If each one knows another 100, we have 100 million, and on a fifth level, 10,000 million people, which far exceeds the 7,700 million inhabitants of the Earth. The sixth and final grade would cover 1,000,000 million people, that is, one billion.
Of course, you will immediately have seen the first weak point of the theory it assumes that each person knows another 100 who are completely different from those of the rest of family and friends. In practice this is impossible, because family and friends have many acquaintances in common. But since the theory reaches a billion people and far fewer people live on Earth, even if we eliminate mutual friends we could still be within that number.
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In addition, now with the Internet most of the people know more than 100 people, and the network of friends extends to the whole world, not only to your local circle.
The Theory of the six degrees of separation could only be formulated in a globalized world. That is why it did not emerge until the 20th century when the train, ships and airplanes, or the telephone, already allowed people from all over the planet to connect.
It was an unthinkable theory for a philosopher of Ancient Greece or a thinker of the Middle Ages, because then it took months to travel the world, and contacts were very limited.
This theory was formulated for the first time by the Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy , in his short story Cadenas , in 1930.
In this tale , the protagonist proposes a bet to his friends: he could relate to any of the 1,500 million inhabitants of the planet (the population in 1930) using only five individuals.
The friends were proposing characters to him, and the protagonist managed to link everyone with reasoning such as ” I know a friend who is a tennis fan, who knows a person who plays tennis with the director of an international tournament who knows the King of Sweden, a tennis fan, who also knows the last Nobel Prize in Literature, because he has presented the prize to him. So I could contact the Nobel Prize in Literature . ”
This idea, in 1930, was unprovable, and was considered only a fantastic theory, typical of the story in which it was born, Although it is a fascinating concept and many experts believe that, thanks to the Internet, it will eventually become a reality , as a theory it has some gaps.
We have already seen the first: it is assumed that each acquaintance knows completely different people, despite the fact that friends and family tend to have many acquaintances in common.