Prof. proves that all hipsters look the same in study

March 15, 2019

Hipsters all look the same, learned Professor Jonathan Touboul (MATH) while conducting a study on non-conformist culture. When MIT Technology Review initially reviewed Touboul’s study, the article contained a stock photo of a bearded man in a plaid shirt and beanie that was deemed the typical “hipster.”

An unnamed male wrote to the magazine talking about how they used a photo of him without his permission. “Your lack of basic journalistic ethics in both the manner in which you ‘reported’ this uncredited nonsense, and the slanderous, unnecessary use of my picture without permission demands a response, and I am, of course, pursuing legal action,” he said, according to an article by CBC Radio.

Gideon Lichfield, the Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, checked with Getty Images, a visual media company, and discovered that the man in the stock photo was in fact not the same man that was accusing the magazine.

However, the hipster indirectly proved Touboul’s hypothesis—all hipsters look the same. The paper, submitted to the American Institute of Mathematical Sciences, demonstrates that “interactions generally occur after specific delays associated to transport, transmission or integration of information,” according to Touboul’s abstract. The overall goal of the paper is to look at the impact that anti-conformism plays in the dynamics of large-scale populations of mainstreams and hipsters.

They conducted a study on non-conformists, or “hipsters” in society and their tendency to synchronize their self-proclaimed individualistic style. “Hipsters are too slow in detecting the trends, they will consistently make the same choice, and realizing this too late, they will switch, all together to another state where they remain alike,” according to the abstract.

As an applied mathematician, Toubol attempted to use the mainstream, hipster paradox to better understand the synchronization of “nerve cells, investment strategies in finance, or emergent dynamics in social science, domains in which delays in communication and the geometry of information accessibility are prominent,” according to the abstract.

In a Brandeis Hoot article from Jan. 2018, Touboul told The Hoot that “some people want to follow what the majority does, mainstream, and others that would do the contrary, hipsters. And by trying to oppose to the majority, these individuals will eventually all do the same thing at the same time. They will synchronize, and activate at the same.” Indirectly, those trying to be different end up being exactly the same.

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