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, and so uses 5-digit dates to address the Year 10,000 problem
Year 10,000 problem
The Year 10,000 problem is the class of all potential software bugs that would emerge when the need to express years with five digits arises...

 (e.g. by writing 0 rather than ).


The Foundation has several ongoing projects, including a 10,000-year clock known as the Clock of the Long Now
Clock of the Long Now
The Clock of the Long Now, also called the 10,000-year clock, is a proposed mechanical clock designed to keep time for 10,000 years. The project to build it is part of the Long Now Foundation....

, the Rosetta Project
Rosetta Project
The Rosetta Project is a global collaboration of language specialists and native speakers working to develop a contemporary version of the historic Rosetta Stone to last from 2000 to 12,000 AD; it is run by the Long Now Foundation. Its goal is a meaningful survey and near permanent archive of 1,500...

, the Long Bet Project, the open source Timeline Tool (also known as Longviewer), the Long Server and a monthly seminar series.

Clock of the Long Now

The purpose of the Clock of the Long Now is to construct a timepiece that will operate with minimum human intervention for ten millennia
A millennium is a period of time equal to one thousand years —from the Latin phrase , thousand, and , year—often but not necessarily related numerically to a particular dating system....

. 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
A clock is an instrument used to indicate, keep, and co-ordinate time. The word clock is derived ultimately from the Celtic words clagan and clocca meaning "bell". A silent instrument missing such a mechanism has traditionally been known as a timepiece...

 is lost or it is deemed to be of no value to an individual or possible future civilization
Civilization is a sometimes controversial term that has been used in several related ways. Primarily, the term has been used to refer to the material and instrumental side of human cultures that are complex in terms of technology, science, and division of labor. Such civilizations are generally...

; in this way it is hoped that the Clock will not be looted
Looting —also referred to as sacking, plundering, despoiling, despoliation, and pillaging—is the indiscriminate taking of goods by force as part of a military or political victory, or during a catastrophe, such as during war, natural disaster, or rioting...

 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
Science Museum (London)
The Science Museum is one of the three major museums on Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. It is part of the National Museum of Science and Industry. The museum is a major London tourist attraction....

 at London. The Foundation hopes to construct the finished Clock at Mount Washington
Mount Washington (Nevada)
Mount Washington is a mountain in White Pine County in the state of Nevada. The mountain climbs to an elevation of and is in Great Basin National Park....

 south of Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park is a United States National Park established in 1986, located in east-central Nevada near the Utah border. The park derives its name from the Great Basin, the dry and mountainous region between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains. Topographically, this area is...

 near Ely, Nevada
Ely, Nevada
Ely is the largest city and county seat of White Pine County, Nevada, United States. Ely was founded as a stagecoach station along the Pony Express and Central Overland Route. Ely's mining boom came later than the other towns along US 50, with the discovery of copper in 1906...


Rosetta Project

The Rosetta Project is an effort to preserve all language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

s that have a high likelihood of extinction over the period from 2000 to 2100. These include many languages whose native speaker
Native Speaker
Native Speaker is Chang-Rae Lee’s first novel. In Native Speaker, he creates a man named Henry Park who tries to assimilate into American society and become a “native speaker.”-Plot summary:...

s number in the thousands or fewer. Other languages with many more speakers are considered by the project to be endangered 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
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

 alloy two inch
An inch is the name of a unit of length in a number of different systems, including Imperial units, and United States customary units. There are 36 inches in a yard and 12 inches in a foot...

es (5.08 cm) across. A Version 1.0 of the disc
High-Density Rosetta is a permanent data storage device which contains engraved microscopic information on a small 2" nickel plate. Up to 196,000 8.5x11" pages of information can be stored onto the plate using a focused ion beam. The image capacity for an HD-Rosetta disc can range from 10,000 to...

 was completed on November 3, 2008.

Long Bet Project

The Long Bet Project was created by the Long Now Foundation to propose and keep track of bets
Gambling is the wagering of money or something of material value on an event with an uncertain outcome with the primary intent of winning additional money and/or material goods...

 on long-term events and stimulate discussion about the future. The Long Now Foundation describes The Long Bet Project as a "public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake." One example bet would be on whether people will regularly fly on pilotless aircraft
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

 by 2030.

Bets coming due in 2010 include predictions about peak oil
Peak oil
Peak oil is the point in time when the maximum rate of global petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production enters terminal decline. This concept is based on the observed production rates of individual oil wells, projected reserves and the combined production rate of a field...

, print on demand
Print on demand
Print on demand , sometimes called, in error, publish on demand, is a printing technology and business process in which new copies of a book are not printed until an order has been received...

, modem
A modem is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data...

 obsolescence, and commercially available 100-qubit
In quantum computing, a qubit or quantum bit is a unit of quantum information—the quantum analogue of the classical bit—with additional dimensions associated to the quantum properties of a physical atom....

 quantum computer
Quantum computer
A quantum computer is a device for computation that makes direct use of quantum mechanical phenomena, such as superposition and entanglement, to perform operations on data. Quantum computers are different from traditional computers based on transistors...


Seminars About Long-term Thinking

The Seminars About Long-term Thinking are a series of monthly lectures in San Francisco, California, presented by the Foundation available as podcasts. They are intended to "nudge civilization toward making long-term thinking automatic and common". Topics have included preserving environmental
Environmental movement
The environmental movement, a term that includes the conservation and green politics, is a diverse scientific, social, and political movement for addressing environmental issues....

 resources, the deep past and deep future of the sciences and the arts, the extension of the human lifespan
Life extension
Life extension science, also known as anti-aging medicine, experimental gerontology, and biomedical gerontology, is the study of slowing down or reversing the processes of aging to extend both the maximum and average lifespan...

, the likelihood of an asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 strike in the future, SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

, and the nature of time.


Board members

Board Members of the Long Now Foundation include:

  • Danny Hillis
  • Stewart Brand
    Stewart Brand
    Stewart Brand is an American writer, best known as editor of the Whole Earth Catalog. He founded a number of organizations including The WELL, the Global Business Network, and the Long Now Foundation...

  • Chris Anderson
  • Doug Carlston
    Doug Carlston
    Doug Carlston is the founder and current CEO of Tawala Systems based in San Rafael, California. He was previously CEO, chairman, and co-founder of Brøderbund Software, a major software publishing firm that produced such hit titles as Myst, Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and Prince of...

  • Esther Dyson
    Esther Dyson
    Esther Dyson is a former journalist and Wall Street technology analyst who is a leading angel investor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and commentator focused on breakthrough innovation in healthcare, government transparency, digital technology, biotechnology, and space...

  • David Eagleman
    David Eagleman
    David Eagleman is a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, where he directs the Laboratory for Perception and Action and the Initiative on Neuroscience and Law. He is best known for his work on time perception, synesthesia, and neurolaw...

  • Brian Eno
    Brian Eno
    Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno , commonly known as Brian Eno or simply as Eno , is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer and visual artist, known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.Eno studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex,...

  • Mitchell Kapor

  • Michael Keller
  • Kevin Kelly
  • Roger Kennedy
    Roger G. Kennedy
    Roger George Kennedy was an American polymath whose career included banking, television production, historical writing, and museum administration, the last as director of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, before the Clinton administration selected him to head the...

  • Kim Polese
    Kim Polese
    Kim Karin Polese is a previous CEO of SpikeSource, and was one of the most prominent Silicon Valley executives during the dot-com era...

  • David Rumsey
    David Rumsey
    David Rumsey is a map collector and the founder of the David Rumsey Map Collection. He is also the president of Cartography Associates.Rumsey has a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University and was a founding member of Yale Research Associates in the Arts...

  • Paul Saffo
    Paul Saffo
    Paul Saffo is a technology forecaster based in Silicon Valley. A Consulting Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford University, Saffo teaches courses on the future of engineering and the impact of technological change on the future...

  • Peter Schwartz
    Peter Schwartz (futurist)
    Peter Schwartz is a futurist, author, and cofounder of the Global Business Network , an elite corporate strategy firm, specializing in future-think and scenario planning...


In November 2003 the Long Now Foundation began a series of monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT) with a lecture by Brian Eno
Brian Eno
Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno , commonly known as Brian Eno or simply as Eno , is an English musician, composer, record producer, singer and visual artist, known as one of the principal innovators of ambient music.Eno studied at Colchester Institute art school in Essex,...

. The seminars are held in the San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco Bay Area
The San Francisco Bay Area, commonly known as the Bay Area, is a populated region that surrounds the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses metropolitan areas of San Francisco, Oakland, and San Jose, along with smaller urban and rural areas...

 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.

See also

  • All Species Foundation
    All Species Foundation
    The All Species Foundation aimed to catalog all species on Earth by 2025. It began in 2001 as a spinoff of the Long Now Foundation.The Foundation started with a large grant from the Schlinger Foundation but because of the stock market crash of 2000, at least in part, it was unable to attract...

  • Perpetual calendar
    Perpetual calendar
    A perpetual calendar is a calendar which is good for a span of many years, such as the Runic calendar.- General information :...

  • Pioneer plaque
    Pioneer plaque
    The Pioneer plaques are a pair of gold-anodized aluminium plaques which were placed on board the 1972 Pioneer 10 and 1973 Pioneer 11 spacecraft, featuring a pictorial message, in case either Pioneer 10 or 11 are intercepted by extraterrestrial life...

  • Voyager Record
  • Year 10,000 problem
    Year 10,000 problem
    The Year 10,000 problem is the class of all potential software bugs that would emerge when the need to express years with five digits arises...

External links

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