For every year since 1927, TIME has selected the most influential person of the year. From presidents to protesters, astronauts to activists, each selection reflects the person—or idea—who has most influenced the news and our world in the past year, for good or ill.
See the current poll results.
In 2016, the news and our world were subject to a wide range of influences. A presidential campaign in the United States exposed deep-seated fissures and led to the election of a president without precedent in the nation's history. Elsewhere, leaders like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan commanded the spotlight on a global stage. But not all influence is institutional. This year, plenty of prominent athletes and artists used their platforms for larger causes, while a wide range of everyday people became powerful symbols for their fellow citizens.
As always, the ultimate decision about the person of the year is made by TIME’s editors, but the reader poll is an important window into who you think most shaped 2016. This is your chance to cast your vote: Who do you think influenced the news the most this year, for better or for worse?
For 2016, TIME—in partnership with Opentopic and IBM’s Watson—is also able to track and compare influence in a whole new way. Opentopic worked with Watson to track how candidates made their mark on the Internet, in order to create a picture of what the world is saying about the people and ideas that matter. As part of this collaboration with Fortune and TIME, Opentopic has evaluated more than 62 million documents from nearly 3.5 million online sources. Watson’s deep-learning technology then classifies and sorts that information. TIME’s editors used this information while finalizing the list for the Person of the Year reader poll—and, as Watson updates that analysis throughout the polling period, this technology can deepen our understanding of what it really means to be one of the most influential people in the world.
Voting on the reader’s choice poll ends Dec. 4, at 11:59 p.m. ET.
TIME’s Person of the Year will be revealed on Dec. 7.