Blog Archive for the ‘Long-term Quotes’ Category

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Edge Question 02018

Posted on Wednesday, February 7th, 02018 by Ahmed Kabil
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John Brockman.

For the last twenty years, literary agent John Brockman has presented the members of his online salon Edge with a question that elicits discussion about some of the biggest intellectual and scientific issues of our time.(Previous prompts include “What scientific term or concept ought to be more widely known?” or “What should we be worried about?”).

The essay responses — in excess of a hundred each year — offer a wealth of insight into the direction of today’s cultural forces, scientific innovations, and global trends.

Brockman’s interest in asking questions traces back to the late 01960s and the work of his friend, the late conceptual artist/philosopher James Lee Byars. In 01968, Byars launched a one-hour Belgian television program called the “World Question Center.” He explained the thinking behind the program as follows:

To arrive at an axiology of the world’s knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together, and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.”

“Chrysanthemum” by Katinka Matson | katinkamatson.com

This year’s question will be Edge’s last. And this time, Brockman’s doing something a little different.

“After twenty years, I’ve run out of questions,” Brockman writes. “So, for the finale to a noteworthy Edge project, can you ask ‘The Last Question’? Your last question, the question for which you’ll be remembered.”

That’s right: instead of answering Brockman’s annual question, Edge Salon contributors are providing their own questions as answers.

This year’s extensive collection of “answers” includes contributions by several Long Now Board members, fellows, and past and future speakers from our Seminars About Long-Term Thinking speaker series:

What is the Last Question?

Chris Anderson,¹ author, entrepreneur and Emeritus Member of the Long Now Board of Directors, asks:

How can we put rational prices on human lives without becoming inhuman?

Complexity scientist Samuel Arbesman² asks:

How do we best build a civilization that is galvanized by long-term thinking?

Writer and cultural anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson³ asks:

Will the process of discovery be completed in any of the natural sciences?

Stewart Brand,⁴ co-founder and President of Long Now and Revive & Restore, asks:

Can wild animals that are large and dangerous be made averse to threatening humans?

Brian Christian,⁵ co-author of Algorithms To Live By, asks:

Is the unipolar future of a “singleton” the inevitable destiny of intelligent life?

The geneticist George Church, who is working with Revive & Restore on reviving extinct species, asks:

What will we do as an encore once we manage to develop technological solutions to infection, aging, poverty, asteroids, and heat death of the universe?

Jared Diamond,⁶ author of Guns, Germs and Steel, asks:

Why is there such widespread public opposition to science and scientific reasoning in the United States, the world leader in every major branch of science?

Physicist Freeman Dyson⁷ asks:

Is it ultimately possible for life to bend the shape of the universe to fit life’s purposes, as we are now bending the shape of our environment here on earth?

Science historian George Dyson⁸ asks:

Why are there no trees in the ocean?

Neuroscientist and Long Now Board Member David Eagleman⁹ asks:

Can we create new senses for humans — not just touch, taste, vision, hearing, smell, but totally novel qualia for which we don’t yet have words?

Musician and Long Now Co-Founder Brian Eno¹⁰ asks:

Have we left the Age of Reason, never to return?

Academic, businessman and author Juan Enriquez¹¹ asks:

So, before The Singularity…?

Linguist Daniel L. Everett¹² asks:

Will humans ever embrace their own diversity?

Neuroscientist and philosopher Sam Harris¹³ asks:

Is the actual all that is possible?

Inventor and Long Now Co-Founder W. Daniel Hillis¹⁴ asks:

What is the principle that causes complex adaptive systems (life, organisms, minds, societies) to spontaneously emerge from the interaction of simpler elements (chemicals, cells, neurons, individual humans)?

Futurist and Long Now Board Member Kevin Kelly¹⁵ asks:

How can the process of science be improved?

Margaret Levi,¹⁶ Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford, asks :

Are humans capable of building a moral economy?

Technology reporter John Markoff¹⁷ asks:

How will the world be changed when battery storage technology improves at the same exponential rate seen in computer chips in recent decades?

Theoretical astrophysicist Priyamvada Natarajan¹⁸ asks:

Are there limits to what we can know about the universe?

Futurist Tim O’Reilly¹⁹ asks:

How can AI and other digital technologies help us create global institutions that we can trust?

Religious historian Elaine Pagels²⁰ asks:

Why is religion still around in the twenty-first century?

Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker²¹ asks:

How can we empower the better angels of our nature?

Planetary scientist Carolyn Porco²² asks:

What will it take for us to be fully confident that we have found life elsewhere in the cosmos?

Royal Astronomer Martin Rees²³ asks:

Will post-humans be organic or electronic?

Futurist and Long Now Board Member paul saffo²⁴ asks:

Will we ever be able to predict earthquakes?

Businessman and Long Now Board Member Peter Schwartz²⁵ asks:

Is the universe relatively simple and comprehensible by the human brain, or is it so complex, higher dimensional and multiversal that it remains forever illusive to humans?

Science writer Michael Shermer²⁶ asks:

Would you like to live 1,000 years?

Science fiction author Bruce Sterling²⁷ asks:

Do the laws of physics change with the passage of time?

Biotechnologist and geneticist J. Craig Venter²⁸ asks:

Will the creation of a super-human class from a combination of genome editing and direct biological-machine interfaces lead to the collapse of civilization?

Theoretical physicist Geoffrey B. West²⁹ asks:

How and when will it end or will it persist indefinitely?

Science writer Carl Zimmer³⁰ asks:

How does the past give rise to the future?

These are just a few of this year’s thought-provoking answers; you can read the full collection here.

Long Now Foundation talks by this year’s Edge contributors (Most are available to watch for free online):

[1] Chris Anderson spoke at Long Now about “The Makers Revolution” (02013) and “The Long Time Tail” (02006).

[2] Samuel Arbesman spoke at The Interval about “Technology at the Limits of Comprehension” (02016). Note: video not yet available.

[3] Mary Catherine Bateson gave a Long Now talk titled “Live Longer, Think Longer” (02011).

[4] Stewart Brand has spoken at Long Now on several occasions: “Pace Layers Thinking” (02015), “Reviving Extinct Species” (02013), “Long Finance” (02010, with Alexander Rose and Brian Eno), “Rethinking Green” (02009), and “Cities and Time” (02005).

[5] Brian Christian spoke at Long Now on “Algorithms To Live By” (02016).

[6] Jared Diamond spoke at Long Now on “How Societies Fail — And Sometimes Succeed” (02005).

[7] Freeman Dyson spoke at Long Now with his children Esther and George Dyson on “The Difficulty in Looking Far Ahead” (02005).

[8] In addition to speaking with his father and sister in 02005 (see footnote 7), George Dyson spoke at Long Now about “The Digital Universe and Why Things Appear to Be Speeding Up” (02013) and “Long-term Thinking About Large-scale Computing” (02004).

[9] David Eagleman spoke at Long Now on “The Brain and the Now” (02016) and “Six Easy Steps to Avert the Collapse of Civilization” (02010).

[10] Brian Eno has spoken at Long Now on several occasions: “The Long Now, now” (02014, with Danny Hillis), “Long Finance” (02010, with Stewart Brand and Alexander Rose), “Playing with Time” (02006, with Will Wright), and “The Long Now” (02003).

[11] Juan Enriquez spoke at Long Now about “Mapping the Frontier of Knowledge” (02007).

[12] Daniel L. Everett spoke at Long Now about “Endangered Languages, Lost Knowledge, and the Future” (02009).

[13] Sam Harris spoke at Long Now about “The View from the End of the World” (02005).

[14] Danny Hillis spoke at Long Now about “The Long Now, now” (02014, with Brian Eno) and “Progress on the 10,000 Year Clock” (02004).

[15] Kevin Kelly spoke at Long Now about “The Next 30 Digital Years” (02016), “Technium Unbound” (02014), and “The Next 100 Years of Science” (02006).

[16] Margaret Levi spoke at The Interval about “The Organized Pursuit of Knowledge” (02017).

[17] John Markoff spoke at The Interval about “The Quest for Common Ground between Humans and Robots” (02015). Note: video not yet available.

[18] Priyamvada Natarajan spoke at Long Now about “Solving Dark Matter and Dark Energy” (02016).

[19] Tim O’Reilly spoke at Long Now on “The Birth of the Global Mind” (02012) and at The Interval on “Maps and Metaphors” (02018). Note: video from O’Reilly’s Interval talk not yet available.

[20] Elaine Pagels spoke at Long Now about “The Truth About The Book of Revelations” (02012).

[21] Steven Pinker spoke at Long Now about “The Decline of Violence” (02012) and will be speaking be speaking at Long Now on “A New Enlightenment” on March 13, 02018.

[22] Carolyn Porco spoke at Long Now about “Searching for Life in the Solar System” (02017).

[23] Martin Rees spoke at Long Now about “Life’s Future in the Cosmos” (02010).

[24] Paul Saffo spoke at Long Now about “The Creator Economy” (02015), “Pace Layers Thinking” (02015, with Stewart Brand), and “Embracing Uncertainty” (02008).

[25] Peter Schwartz has spoken at Long Now on several occasions: “The Starships ARE Coming” (02013), “Historian vs. Futurist on Human Progress” (02008, with Niall Ferguson), “Nuclear Power, Climate Change, and the Next 10,000 Years” (02006, with Ralph Cavanagh), and “The Art of the Really Long View” (02003).

[26] Michael Shermer spoke at Long Now about “The Long Arc of Moral Progress” (02015).

[27] Bruce Sterling spoke at Long Now about “The Singularity” (02004).

[28] Craig Venter spoke at Long Now about “Joining 3.5 Billion Years of Microbial Invention” (02008).

[29] Geoffrey West spoke at Long Now about “The Universal Laws of Growth and Pace” (02017) and “Why Cities Keep Growing, Corporations Always Die, and Life Gets Faster” (02011).

[30] Carl Zimmer spoke at Long Now about “Viral Time” (02011).

Last Day of the Interval Brickstarter: Put Your Name on Our Wall

Posted on Wednesday, October 1st, 02014 by Mikl Em
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Stewart Brand - a Library is a window

Tonight is your last chance to become an Interval Charter Donor
all donors by 9pm Pacific on 10/1/02014 will be listed on our Donor Wall
at The Interval in San Francisco. Please help us reach our goal!

Today culminates two years of raising funds to build and open The Interval at Long Now.

We have had an incredible response from people around the world donating to help us complete Long Now’s new home which is also a gathering place for our members and the public. Only a few hours left and we are getting ever closer.

Thanks so much to all of you who have donated to our ‘brickstarter’ so far

If we make the goal we’ll throw a big party for our Charter Donors and the top donors will get a special tasting session with the Gin Possibility Machine that will be our Bespoke Gin Robot.

We hope you will consider a donation, or just spread the word to help us reach our participation goal of 1000 Charter Donors.

But just by the fact you are reading this blog means you’re showing an interest in long-term thinking. So thanks to you, because you are a part of realizing our mission to help everyone think more in the long now.

 photo by Catherine Borgeson

Long Quotes: Larry Lessig

Posted on Monday, January 30th, 02012 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Larry’s Lessig’s very last remark at his SALT talk, ending the Q & A, was this:

“When you feel the impossibility of really thinking about the ten thousand year horizon, you’ve got to access that part in each of us which knows that the rational calculation is not the only reason we do things.  We celebrate doing things that are plainly irrational—loving our children, loving our country, loving our planet—even though we’ll never see any of those things come to the perfection we imagine.”

Long Quotes: Lenin

Posted on Monday, March 21st, 02011 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen”.  – Lenin

(thanks to @JPBarlow for this one)

Long Quotes: Ralph Waldo Emerson

Posted on Friday, February 4th, 02011 by Tyler Emerson
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Long Quotes: Peter Thiel

Posted on Monday, December 6th, 02010 by Tyler Emerson
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“We’ve had a loss of the sense of the frontier. We have to reclaim that.”
Peter Thiel

Long Quotes: Mae West

Posted on Monday, November 29th, 02010 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly”
Mae West

Long Quotes: John Kao

Posted on Tuesday, November 23rd, 02010 by Tyler Emerson
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“We need to see our work on innovation as involving disciplined practice, not the quest for short-term wins. This is an obvious problem in our instant-gratification, quarterly-earnings-based culture in which corporate managers (and politicians) are evaluated and rewarded based on their success at maintaining a continuous upward trend that produces immediate results. At times, it seems like the question ‘What have you done for me lately’ approaches the status of a business model. If resource allocation, decision-making processes, and career-path planning all obey a short-term logic, while the important challenges facing both organizations and society are mostly long term, isn’t the disconnect obvious?”
John Kao

Long Quotes: Michael Cronin

Posted on Monday, November 8th, 02010 by Tyler Emerson
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“It is often said that what people strive for is the greatest happiness of the greatest number, but it is worth bearing in mind that the greatest number have not yet been born. Therefore, when we speak about the greatest good, what we really mean is the longest good. There is not much we can do to improve the quality of life of those who are already dead on this island, but we can do immeasurable good to improve the quality of lives of those who will be born or come to live on this island. In order to give force to this notion of the longest good, we need to make the taking of long-term responsibility the most important political and cultural issue of our time.”
Michael Cronin

Long Quotes: Ted Turner

Posted on Wednesday, October 13th, 02010 by Tyler Emerson
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Quotes related to long-term thinking. A new series. Have a favorite quote? Share it with us in comments.

“We’ve got to start planning for the future and doing intelligent things, not the dumb things we’ve been doing. We are already in real trouble, but I like to liken it to a baseball game. Young people ask me, ‘Where do we stand?’ It’s the seventh inning. We’re down by two runs. The game’s not over. The game’s not over. We can still turn it around. We’ve gotta hold them right where we are by putting our best relief pitcher in, and we’ve gotta put three runs on the board in the last two innings. My first president of the Turner Foundation used to say, with a wink in his eye, ‘The situation is hopeless, but I could be wrong.’ If things are going to get turned around, young people are going to be the ones to do it, because my generation is worn out. We need a long-term plan for humanity. We need to be planning for a thousand years out.”
Ted Turner