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Blog Archive for the year 02019

Long Now Lessons From Notre Dame

by Ahmed Kabil on April 17th, 02019

East facade of Notre Dame in the 1860s.

In the hours after news broke that the Cathedral of Notre Dame suffered extensive fire damage, many found hope in a story that circulated on social media about a centuries-old protocol the fire department in Paris followed when battling the fire. The story originated with Twitter. . .   Read More

This is How The Universe Ends

by Ahmed Kabil on April 17th, 02019

A still from Melodysheep’s Timelapse of the Future.

This much is certain: The sun, like all stars, will one day die. Its demise will begin five billion years from now, when it starts running out of fuel. It will slowly bloat into a red giant, becoming over two hundred times larger than it is. . .   Read More

Alison Gopnik on the Long-term Future of AI

by Ahmed Kabil on April 9th, 02019

Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology and philosophy at UC-Berkeley, believes that the changes AI will bring to humanity will be profound, but that we won’t notice them.

From John Brockman’s Long Now Seminar “Possible Minds. . .   Read More

Technology in Deep Time

by Ahmed Kabil on April 3rd, 02019

In a new essay for BBC’s Deep Civilisation series, British philosopher Tom Chatfield explores how technology has co-evolved alongside humans. While humans have only existed as a brief interval on the cosmic timescale, the process of “recursive iteration” that defines our relationship with our tools has led to us having an outsized impact. . .   Read More

Transmissions from the Ambient Frontier

by Ahmed Kabil on March 26th, 02019

The music by the Italian record label Glacial Movements is meant to evoke the vastness, stillness and cold of the Arctic. Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
This is the third article in our series, Music, Time and Long-term Thinking. Two previous articles explored long-term thinking in several musical domains, with focus on. . .   Read More

Patrick Collison Joins Long Now Board

by Ahmed Kabil on March 21st, 02019

We are pleased to welcome Patrick Collison to the Long Now board. Collison is the CEO and co-founder of Stripe, a technology company that builds economic infrastructure for the internet.

Collison has been in Long Now’s orbit for several years. In 02017, Stripe began sponsoring the Long Now Seminars and Conversations at The. . .   Read More

Five Principles for Thinking Like a Futurist

by Ahmed Kabil on March 17th, 02019

On the occasion of 50th anniversary of the founding of the Institute for the Future, Marina Gorbis (who has worked at IFTF for 20 years) recently shared five principles for thinking like a futurist:

Forget about predictions.
Focus on signals.
Look back to see forward.
Uncover patterns.
Create a community.

As Gorbis puts it:
At. . .   Read More

A Journey into the Animal Mind

by Ahmed Kabil on March 12th, 02019

Fish that fake orgasms. Fruit flies that seek out alcohol when they can’t find mates. Crows that take advantage of moving vehicles to crack open walnuts. Are these rote animal behaviors, or signs of something approaching consciousness?

Such is the focus of a provocative meditation on animal intelligence by Ross Andersen in the March. . .   Read More

Seminar Highlight: Martin Rees on How To Ensure a Brighter Future For the Planet

by Ahmed Kabil on March 6th, 02019

“We need to think globally, we need to think rationally, and above all, we need to think long-term.” – Lord Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, speaking at Long Now.

Watch video of the full talk here. . .   Read More

The Long Now Foundation and a Great Basin Mountain Observatory for Long Science

by Laura Welcher on February 27th, 02019

Figure 1. Mt. Washington in the Snake Range, NV, with bristlecone pines. Photo: Connie Millar

About 15 years ago, my work unexpectedly collided with mountain climate science research when the nonprofit organization I work for, The Long Now Foundation, acquired Mt. Washington in eastern Nevada (Fig. 1). Not the whole mountain, but important parts of. . .   Read More