Common answers to this question include heads of some religious outfit (e.g. the Pope), head of some international organization (e.g. UN Secretary General), CEO of the dominant technology company of the day (E.g. Google/Facebook/Apple), some crackpot head of a rogue country with nuclear power, or someone who is always in news without being of any use in modern times (e.g. some royal figure). In reality, all these are particularly untalented and utterly boring people, who can't write a short story to save their life, whose only claim to any significance is heading an army of bureaucrats.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who did some great deeds some time back, and appear in useless lists put out by irrelevant magazines like Time or Forbes - yes, Nelson Mandela is an inspiring person, but how does he affect our culture? 'Invictus' was not a great film.
So, who are the most significant people in world culture today? The only correct answer to this is: the list varies from person to person. Nobody died and made some web site or magazine the arbiter of such as important question.
For me, the five most significant people in world culture are:
1. Cormac Mccarthy, the writer
2. Werner Herzog, the filmmaker
3. Lawrence Lessig, the lawyer
4. Barrack Obama, the politician (because he can write well, and he speaks better than most people)
5. Sachin Tendulkar, the sportsperson who is more than a sportsperson for Indians - he inspires you, he is humble
Who's in your list?
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