Long Now Foundation

Long Now Foundation

The Long Now Foundation, established in 1996, is a private organization that seeks to become the seed of a very long-term cultural institution. It aims to provide a counterpoint to what it views as today's "faster/cheaper" mindset and to promote "slower/better" thinking. The Long Now Foundation hopes to creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years. To emphasize this horizon, the group writes years using five digits instead of four: 0CURRENTYEAR instead of CURRENTYEAR.


The Foundation has several ongoing projects, including a 10,000-year clock known as the "Clock of the Long Now", the "Rosetta Project", the "Long Bet Project", the open source "Timeline Tool" (also known as Longviewer), the "Long Server" and a monthly seminar series.

The purpose of the "Clock of the Long Now" is to construct a timepiece that will operate with minimum human intervention for ten millennia. It is to be constructed of durable materials, to be easy to repair, and to be made of largely valueless materials in case knowledge of the Clock is lost or it is deemed to be of no value to an individual or possible future civilization; in this way it is hoped that the Clock will not be looted or destroyed. Its power source (or sources) should be renewable but similarly unlootable. A prototype of a potential final clock candidate was activated on December 31, 1999, and is currently on display at the Science Museum at London. The Foundation hopes to construct the finished Clock at a location near Ely, Nevada.

The "Rosetta Project" is an effort to preserve all languages that have a high likelihood of extinction over the period from 2000 to 2100. These include many languages whose native speakers number in the thousands or less. Other languages with many more speakers are considered endangered by the project due to the increasing importance of English as an international language of commerce and culture. Samples of such languages are to be inscribed onto a disc of nickel alloy two inches (5.08 cm) across. A "Version 1.0" of the disc was completed in the Autumn of 2002.

The "Long Bet Project" was created by the Long Now Foundation to propose and keep track of bets on long-term events and stimulate discussion about the future. One example bet would be on whether people will regularly fly on pilotless aircraft by 2030.

The "Seminars About Long-term Thinking" are a series of monthly lectures in San Francisco, CA, presented by the Foundation. They are intended to "nudge civilization toward making long-term thinking automatic and common." Topics have included preserving environmental resources, the extension of the human lifespan, the likelihood of an asteroid strike in the future, SETI, and the nature of time.


Board members

Board members of the Long Now Foundation include Danny Hillis (inventor of the Connection Machine), Stewart Brand, Brian Eno, Kevin Kelly, Esther Dyson, Doug Carlston, Mitch Kapor.


In November 2003 the Long Now Foundation began a series of monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT) with a lecture by Brian Eno. The seminars are held in the San Francisco Bay area and have focused on long term policy and thinking, scenario planning, singularity and the projects of the foundation. The seminars are available for download in various formats from the Long Now Foundation.

[http://www.fora.tv Fora.tv] aired a June 26, 2006 seminar entitled "Playing with Time" hosted by Brand, and lectured by Eno and Will Wright about procedural mathematics and music, and the development of computer science since the late 1960s. It featured a demonstration of a preview build of "Spore".

ee also

*The year 10,000 problem

External links

* [http://www.longnow.org/ The Long Now Foundation]
* [http://www.longnow.org/projects/seminars SALT (Seminars About Long-term Thinking)]
* [http://discuss.longnow.org The Long Now discussion forum - No longer active]
* [http://www.rosettaproject.org/ The Rosetta Project]
* [http://www.longbets.org/ The Long Bets Foundation]
* [http://marketplace.publicradio.org/shows/2004/01/01_mpp.html/ A Look at Accountable Predictions] Radio feature about The Long Bet Project, from the U.S. public radio program 'Marketplace'

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