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Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking

The Long Now Foundation

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Explore hundreds of lectures by scientists, historians, artists, entrepreneurs, and more through The Long Now Foundation's award-winning lecture series, curated and hosted by Long Now co-founder Stewart Brand (creator of the Whole Earth Catalog). Rec...Show More
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1:29:37 | Jun 25th

What happens when we confuse price with value? We end up undervaluing care. We pollute more. And the financial sector is allowed to brag about how productive it is—while often just moving around existing value, created by others. Most importantly we ...Show More

1:32:31 | Apr 11th, 2017

It’s a lot more than “Seize the day.” We learn from the dying to push away nothing; to lose the habit of postponing things; to show up entirely; to find rest amid whatever; to go ahead and be surprised. You can look death right in the eye, tough as...Show More
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1:43:06 | Jun 10th, 2015

Neil's talk will explore the way stories, myths and tales survive over great lengths of time and why creating for the future means making works that will endure within the oral tradition. Preternaturally eloquent, Neil Gaiman has told stories in e...Show More

1:20:47 | Aug 14th

Long Now Members can also watch our live video stream and a public podcast will be released after the talk. “Cities were the first Internet,” says archaeologist Monica Smith, because they were the first permanent places where strangers met in larg...Show More

1:26:14 | Jul 23rd

We need a poly-temporal worldview to embrace the overlapping rates of change that our world runs on, especially the huge, powerful changes that are mostly invisible to us. Geologist Marcia Bjornerud teaches that kind of time literacy. With it, we be...Show More

1:30:26 | Jun 5th

David Byrne has become a scholar and promoter of new good ideas that work in the world. He finds them in health, education, culture, economics, climate, science & technology, transportation, and civic engagement. He has great examples and great ...Show More

1:36:47 | May 5th

In his new novel, Machines Like Me, Ian McEwan uses science fiction and counter-factual history to speculate about the coming of artificial intelligence and its effect on human relations. The opening page introduces a pivotal character, "Sir Alan Tu...Show More

1:24:36 | Apr 3rd

The ocean is not just filling up, it’s swelling up. Half of sea-level rise comes just from the warming of the water. No matter what humans do next, we are now doomed to deal with drastically higher flooding of the world's coasts every year for deca...Show More

1:24:10 | Mar 14th

What can fifty-somethings bring of value to companies that are mostly twenty-somethings, and vice versa? A needed blending of depth with currency. Chip Conley, a long-time hotelier (Joie de Vivre Hospitality) and author (Peak; The Rebel Rules; E...Show More

1:36:02 | Feb 26th

John Brockman's newly released book Possible Minds: Twenty-Five Ways of Looking at AI is the springboard for this Seminar on Artificial Intelligence. Brockman will interview several of the contributors to the book, Rodney Brooks, Alison Gopnik and S...Show More

1:24:36 | Jan 15th

To think usefully about humanity’s future, you have to bear everything in mind simultaneously. Nobody has managed that better than Martin Rees in his succinct summing-up book: ON THE FUTURE: Prospects for Humanity. As the recent President of the ...Show More

1:30:16 | Nov 20th, 2018

“This time is different.” Historians: “Ha.” “The Net is net beneficial.” Historian Niall Ferguson: “Globalization is in crisis. Populism is on the march. Authoritarian states are ascendant. Technology meanwhile marches inexorably ahead, th...Show More

1:29:57 | Oct 30th, 2018

With her stunning breakthroughs in neural imaging, Mary Lou Jepsen is making the brain readable (and stimulatable) in real time. That will revolutionize brain study and brain medicine, but what about brain communication? Could a direct high-resolutio...Show More

2:00:26 | Oct 14th, 2018

50 years ago, Stewart Brand launched the Whole Earth Catalog — one of the cornerstones of the American counterculture. The evening program of The Whole Earth Catalog 50th Anniversary Celebration was held on October 13, 02018, and featured conversa...Show More

1:32:45 | Sep 13th, 2018

An expert on rationality, judgement, and strategy, Julia Galef notes that "our capacity for reason evolved to serve two very different purposes that are often at odds with each other. On the one hand, reason helps us figure out what’s true; on the o...Show More

1:29:12 | Aug 7th, 2018

"We live in a spectacular time,” says Juan Benet. "We're a century into our computing phase transition. The latest stages have created astonishing powers for individuals, groups, and our species as a whole. We are also faced with accumulating danger...Show More

1:03:01 | Jul 17th, 2018

Perspective? No one has a longer or better-informed view of world affairs and America's role than George Shultz, now 97. (Henry Kissinger is only 95.) Secretary Shultz was a US Marine Captain in World War II. After becoming an economics professor...Show More

1:40:44 | Jun 20th, 2018

The bad news (not news to most): Many wild species are under severe duress. The good news (total news to most): “Nature is thriving in an age of extinction.” Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Chris Thomas has examined a little-noticed phenom...Show More

1:21:59 | May 23rd, 2018

Civilization is both astonishing and astonishingly various when viewed from slightly above. Not so far above as to be lost in planetary context, but just high enough to see a fascinating thing whole, entire, intensely peculiar and informative. The gl...Show More

1:31:01 | Apr 24th, 2018

In Kishore Mahbubani’s view, global power is shifting from the West to the Rest—from Europe and North America to Asia and Africa. He argues that changes will be required both in the West and the Rest to manage the shift gracefully for long-term stabi...Show More

1:32:18 | Mar 14th, 2018

The Enlightenment worked, says Steven Pinker. By promoting reason, science, humanism, progress, and peace, the programs set in motion by the 18th-Century intellectual movement became so successful we’ve lost track of what that success came from. ...Show More

1:27:46 | Jan 23rd, 2018

Civilization’s health hangs on how we manage food, water, energy, and climate. Two conflicting visions dominate how we think about them. Each vision had an original creator and exemplar—the “prophet” William Vogt, author of Road to Survival, and th...Show More

1:19:02 | Nov 21st, 2017

As humans increasingly dominate Earth’s natural systems over the coming centuries (“the Anthropocene”), how can we ensure that it becomes a “good Anthopocene”—a world in which nature and humanity prosper together? Ecosystem ecologist Elena Bennett...Show More

1:21:15 | Oct 31st, 2017

Genome editing technologies provide the unprecedented ability to modify genetic material in a manner that is targeted, rapid, adaptable, and broadly accessible. Advances in genome editing form the foundation for new transformative applications across...Show More

1:31:40 | Sep 7th, 2017

For thinking about the future of life on Earth in planetary terms, no one can match the perspective of an astrobiologist. David Grinspoon notes two major shifts in Earth’s biological regime: 1) 2.1 billion years ago, when cyanobacteria flipped the...Show More

1:18:32 | Aug 8th, 2017

Nicky Case’s presentations are as ingenious, compelling, and graphically rich as the visualizing tools and games Nicky creates for understanding complex dynamic systems. Case writes: “We need to see the non-linear feedback loops between culture, e...Show More

1:25:29 | Jul 25th, 2017

Where will unambiguous signs of life most likely be found outside Earth? While telescopes squint at impossibly distant (but numerous) exoplanets, increasing numbers of increasingly brilliant robots are probing the wildly exotic potential environment...Show More

1:20:32 | Jun 6th, 2017

The problem of the unknowable future is matched by the problem of the unchangeable past. Both are solved by the dream of time travel. The peculiarities and paradoxes of time travel are explored in imaginative detail in science fiction, even though ...Show More

1:34:06 | May 24th, 2017

The scope of Geoffrey West’s talk is covered by the full title of his new book: Scale: The Universal Laws of Growth, Innovation, Sustainability, and the Pace of Life in Organisms, Cities, Economies, and Companies. It is original, spectacular work—sh...Show More

1:30:01 | Mar 14th, 2017

Bjorn Lomborg does cost/benefit analysis on global good. There are surprises when you examine what are the highest-yield targets in the domains of health, poverty, education, reduced violence, gender equality, climate change, biodiversity, and good g...Show More

1:24:50 | Feb 2nd, 2017

Code for America was founded in 02009 by Jennifer Pahlka “to make government work better for the people and by the people in the 21st century.” The organization started a movement to modernize government for a digital age which has now spread fr...Show More

1:23:39 | Jan 5th, 2017

“You will find the future wherever people are having the most fun,” Johnson argues. He chronicles how, throughout history, world-transforming innovation emerges from the endless quest for novelty in seemingly trivial entertainments--fashion, music, ...Show More

1:28:05 | Nov 2nd, 2016

Douglas Coupland has done so much more than name a generation (“Generation X”—post-Boomer, pre-Millennial, from his novel of that name). He is a prolific writer (22 books, including nonfiction such as his biography of Marshall McLuhan) and a brillia...Show More

1:21:06 | Oct 5th, 2016

David Eagleman gives the keynote talk on "The Brain and The Now" at the Long Now Member Summit and is joined onstage after his talk by Stewart Brand and Danny Hillis for further discussion and Q&A. 02016 marks The Long Now Foundation's 20th year ...Show More

1:24:12 | Sep 21st, 2016

Cities and urban regions can make coherent sense, can metabolize efficiently, can use their very complexity to solve problems, and can become so resilient they “bounce forward” when stressed. In this urbanizing century ever more of us live in cit...Show More

1:44:48 | Aug 10th, 2016

Quantum computing is widely considered to be: The most potentially transformative technology of this century; Nothing but hope and hype. A reliable reporter who is familiar with all of the rich variety of quantum research going on and the re...Show More

1:30:52 | Jul 15th, 2016

Since the mid-01980s Kevin Kelly has been creating, and reporting on, the digital future. His focus is the long-term trends and social consequences of technology. Kelly’s new book, THE INEVITABLE: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will S...Show More

1:30:32 | Jun 21st, 2016

It is possible to be extremely astute about how we manage difficult decisions. With just a few mental tools we get the benefit of better outcomes along with release from agonizing about the process of deciding. Many mental tools—algorithms—devel...Show More

1:26:47 | May 3rd, 2016

Can you pass the marshmallow test? You’re a little kid. A marshmallow is placed on the table in front of you. You’re told you can eat it any time, but if you wait a little while, you’ll be given two marshmallows to eat. The kids who have the se...Show More

1:31:43 | Apr 12th, 2016

No one thinks longer, or bigger, than astrophysicists. “This is the golden age of cosmology,” says Priya Natarajan, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, because data keeps pouring in to vet even the most radical theories. And the dominant ...Show More

1:27:45 | Mar 15th, 2016

Three billion people—nearly half of us--depend on rice for survival. What if you could adjust rice genetically so 1) it has a 50% greater yield, 2) using half the water, 3) needing far less fertilizer, 4) along with higher resilience to climate chan...Show More

1:24:37 | Feb 10th, 2016

Once humans took charge of fire, fire remade humans and commenced remaking the world. “We got small guts and big heads because we could cook food,” says Stephen Pyne, the world’s leading historian of fire. “We went to the top of the food chain becau...Show More

1:27:48 | Jan 12th, 2016

Consider this, optimists. All the societies in the world can collapse simultaneously. It has happened before. In the 12th century BCE the great Bronze Age civilizations of the Mediterranean—all of them—suddenly fell apart. Their empires evapora...Show More

1:35:01 | Nov 24th, 2015

The pundits we all listen to are no better at predictions than a “dart-throwing chimp,” and they are routinely surpassed by normal news-attentive citizens. So Philip Tetlock reported in his 02005 book, Expert Political Judgement—and in a January 020...Show More

1:10:01 | Oct 28th, 2015

Before Andy Weir's self-published novel The Martian became a New York Times bestseller and a blockbuster film, it began as a series of blog posts. Those posts, and the online conversation they sparked, reflect Andy's lifelong love of space and his de...Show More

1:21:24 | Oct 7th, 2015

Infrastructure decisions—and failures to decide—affect everything about a society for centuries. That long shadow, James Fallows points out, is what makes the decisions so difficult, because "We must choose among options whose consequences we can't ...Show More

1:41:43 | Sep 22nd, 2015

So far we are trying to deal with climate change at the wrong time scale. A really deep problem cannot be solved by shallow innovations, no matter how clever. The scale of climate change requires thinking and acting in multi-decade terms at the lev...Show More

1:21:39 | Aug 11th, 2015

We are one tool away from learning which distant planets already have life on them and which might be welcoming to life. MIT Planetary Scientist Sara Seager is working on the tool. She is chair of the NASA team developing a “Starshade” that wou...Show More

1:26:52 | Jul 23rd, 2015

Techno thriller meets realistic optimism. Ramez Naam, a former Microsoft executive with 19 patents to his name, wrote a riveting just-completed science fiction trilogy (Nexus, Crux, and Apex) that plays out current trends in brain enhancement. As N...Show More

1:26:15 | May 12th, 2015

Beth Shapiro is far from a giddy enthusiast about de-extinction. She knows more than nearly anyone about the subject because she is a highly regarded biologist in the middle of the two leading efforts in the new field—to resurrect extinct woolly mam...Show More

1:26:26 | Apr 15th, 2015

Steven Pinker writes: “Shermer has engaged the full mantle of moral progress and considered how far we have come and how much farther that arc can be bent toward truth, justice, and freedom." “Through copious data and compelling examples Shermer s...Show More

1:23:34 | Apr 1st, 2015

According to futurist (and Long Now board member) Paul Saffo, the "new economy” anticipated in the late 01990s is arriving late and in utterly unexpected ways. Social media, maker culture, the proliferation of sensors, and even the 02008 market crash...Show More

1:28:39 | Feb 18th, 2015

The main arguments against geo-engineering (direct climate intervention) to stop global warming are: 1) It would be a massive, irreversible, risky bet; 2) everyone has to agree to it, which they won’t; 3) the unexpected side effects might be horrifi...Show More

57:47 | Jan 28th, 2015

Stewart Brand and Paul Saffo will discuss the Pace Layers framework for how a healthy society functions, which Stewart introduced in his book The Clock of Long Now (01999). More than fifteen years after its debut, this concept continues to be influen...Show More

1:35:16 | Jan 14th, 2015

In the field of environmental progress the conflict between anecdote and statistics is so flagrant that most public understanding on the subject is upside down. We worry about the wrong things, fail to worry about the right things, and fail to ackno...Show More

1:27:50 | Nov 13th, 2014

What comes after the Internet? What is bigger than the web? What will produce more wealth than all the startups to date? The answer is a planetary super-organism comprised of 4 billion mobile phones, 80 quintillion transistor chips, a million miles o...Show More

1:31:24 | Oct 21st, 2014

“Scaling up will kill Burning Man.” “That new rule will kill Burning Man.” “The Bureau of Land Management will kill Burning Man.” “Selling tickets that way will kill Burning Man.” “Board infighting will kill Burning Man.” “Upscale turnkey camps ...Show More

1:36:09 | Sep 17th, 2014

iGEM stands for the “International Genetically Engineered Machines” competition. Thousands of student bioengineers from all over the world construct new life forms and race them every year at the Giant Jamboree in Boston. iGEM has been going on f...Show More

1:29:17 | Aug 7th, 2014

The NSA’s failures are public headlines. Its successes are secret. These days America’s National Security Agency lives at the intersection of two paranoias—governmental fears of attack and citizen fears about loss of privacy. Both paranoias we...Show More

1:21:25 | Jul 17th, 2014

Thinking about the future is so hard and so important that any trick to get some traction is a boon. Adrian Hon’s trick is to particularize. What thing would manifest a whole future trend the way museum objects manifest important past trends? Bu...Show More

1:39:26 | Jun 11th, 2014

Egypt’s pharaonic civilization rose on the Nile, but it was rooted in the deep Saharan desert and pushed by climate change, says Stefan Kröpelin. Described in Nature magazine as “one of the most devoted Sahara explorers of our time,” Kröpelin has ...Show More

1:36:03 | May 21st, 2014

Land animals on an ocean planet, we have a lot to learn about how the world works. The microbes of the sea are Earth’s dominant life form. Ocean currents and temperatures drive climate and weather. Come ride a current to view bad news (dead zones,...Show More

1:33:38 | Apr 23rd, 2014

Can a successful company and a run-down downtown vitalize each other? Tony Hsieh, CEO of the phenomenally successful Zappos, is betting exactly that in Las Vegas. He moved his company headquarters into the former city hall and is integrating the ...Show More

1:38:22 | Mar 25th, 2014

Where do the boldest innovations, with the deepest consequences for society, come from? Many business leaders, entrepreneurs, and libertarians claim that the private sector leads the way always, and government at best follows by decades and at wo...Show More

1:29:17 | Jan 22nd, 2014

Brian Eno delivered the first SALT talk exactly ten years ago. He gave The Long Now Foundation its name, contributed in no end of artistic and financial ways, and designed the chimes for the 10,000-year Clock. Danny Hillis instigated and co-founded...Show More

1:21:36 | Nov 19th, 2013

Relics grip us. They anchor stories that matter by giving a visceral sense that they really happened. Look, here is the actual chain used on an American slave. What ended its use? Abraham Lincoln was tall in so many ways, and he stood even taller...Show More

1:29:52 | Oct 16th, 2013

“Dare mighty things” concludes the most dramatic space video in years, "Seven Minutes of Terror." Narrated by Adam Steltzner, it spelled out how the “sky crane” his team designed at JPL would have to perform an elaborate, impossible-seeming sequence...Show More

1:16:30 | Sep 18th, 2013

There is an appalling distance between here and the countless planets we’re discovering around stars other than our Sun. At first glance we can never span those light years. At second glance however... “The 100-year Starship” is the name of now-...Show More

1:17:32 | Aug 14th, 2013

Daniel Kahneman is the world’s most influential psychologist because he has, based on empirical research, figured out how we can notice when we are not thinking rationally. That knowledge gives us the choice to think “slow”---ignore brisk intuition ...Show More

1:35:33 | Jul 30th, 2013

Our planet gets up to no end of apocalyptic-like tricks over time---periods when it is nearly all ice, all melting ice, all desert, all sea water, all molten lava, and civilizations come and go, sometimes for geological or climate reasons. The plane...Show More

1:29:47 | Jun 19th, 2013

Are humans smarter than dinosaurs? We haven’t proved it yet. In the long now, the greatest threat to life on Earth, or (more frequently) to civilization, or (still more frequently) to cities, is asteroid impact. The technology exists to eliminat...Show More

1:29:47 | May 22nd, 2013

Death is still forever, but extinction may not be---at least for creatures that humans drove extinct in the last 10,000 years. Woolly mammoths might once again nurture their young in northern snows. Passenger pigeon flocks could return to America’s...Show More

1:31:32 | Apr 18th, 2013

It’s far easier to predict the future when you are helping make and distribute it. Nicholas Negroponte exemplifies this with his notable accomplishments, including co-founding the MIT Media Lab, being the first investor in WIRED magazine, and co-foun...Show More

1:31:23 | Mar 20th, 2013

When thinking about the future, it is easy to forget to look behind you. Enter George Dyson, “a historian among futurists”, who does deep research into the history of computing to understand the trends that will bring us into the future. One of h...Show More

1:30:00 | Feb 20th, 2013

Chris Anderson’s book THE LONG TAIL chronicled how the Web revolutionized and democratized distribution. His new book MAKERS shows how the same thing is happening to manufacturing, with even wider consequences, and this time the leading revolutionar...Show More

1:40:38 | Jan 18th, 2013

Was it ecocide? The collapse of the mini-civilization on Easter Island (Rapa Nui) has long been considered one of the great Green morality tales. Once the people there cut down the last tree, story goes, they were doomed. Their famous statues were...Show More

1:57:47 | Nov 29th, 2012

For 3.8 billion years, life has lived in a bath of solar radiance. The Sun’s illumination outlines which objects are appealing, bland, or repellant. Its powers of desiccation, blistering, bleaching, and revelation govern a balance between beauty and ...Show More

1:34:19 | Nov 14th, 2012

There is at least as much underneath Paris as there is above it. The secretive members of the Paris Urban eXperiment, known internally as "The UX", have spent the last 30 years surreptitiously probing into this world - and improving it. A few years...Show More

1:33:33 | Oct 9th, 2012

Steven Pinker changes the world twice in his new book, THE BETTER ANGELS OF OUR NATURE: Why Violence Has Declined. First, he presents exhaustive evidence that the tragic view of history is wrong and always has been. A close examination of the da...Show More

1:36:06 | Sep 6th, 2012

“The history of civilization is a story of evolution in our ability to build complex ‘multicellular minds,‘" says Tim O’Reilly, founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media (books, conferences, foo camps, Maker Faires, Make magazine.) Speech allowed us to co...Show More

1:15:32 | Aug 21st, 2012

Revelations about the Book of Revelation Probably the most consequential vision of the future ever written is the Bible’s Book of Revelation. If God didn’t write it (through the sainted instrument of someone named John), then who did, and why? ...Show More

1:28:30 | Aug 1st, 2012

The war against computer freedom will just keep escalating, Doctorow contends. The copyright wars, net neutrality, and SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) were early samples of what is to come. Victories in those battles were temporary. Conflict in the ...Show More

1:28:08 | Jun 6th, 2012

Democracy began in cities and works best in cities.  Mayors are the most pragmatic and effective of all political leaders because they have to get things done.   “The paramount aims of city-dwellers,” says Barber, “concern collecting garbage and coll...Show More

1:28:12 | May 23rd, 2012

Plastic now pervades civilization---how many of the things you see from where you are right now are plastic? It is an ingenious material whose miraculous qualities we take too much for granted, but it also sometimes has nightmarish downstream effect...Show More

1:39:44 | Apr 24th, 2012

Ever since Columbus, it’s an alien invasive world. Everybody’s germs, insects, vegetables, staple foods, rats, domestic animals, and even wildlife went everywhere, changing everything. That convulsion is still in progress. Charles C. Mann is the...Show More

1:32:47 | Apr 21st, 2012

Seminar and Conversation with Edward O. Wilson and Stewart Brand, with an introduction by Rob Semper, Executive Associate Director of the Exploratorium. Presented by The Long Now Foundation and the Exploratorium Edward O. Wilson has revolutionize...Show More

1:29:34 | Mar 7th, 2012

Human activities increasingly dominate 9 crucial planetary systems. Add to the familiar ones---climate, biodiversity, and chemical pollution---atmospheric aerosols, ocean acidification, excess nitrogen in agriculture, too much land in agriculture, f...Show More

1:26:23 | Feb 23rd, 2012

Agricultural biodiversity is as much in need of defending as the world's wildlife. Countless varieties of plants and animals were bred by the world's peoples for talents specific to every soil, climate, and human culture. Most of them have been los...Show More

1:32:33 | Jan 18th, 2012

A dazzlingly incisive presenter, Lawrence Lessig specializes in identifying deep systemic problems in public process (such as copyright malfunction and Congressional dysfunction) and then showing how they can be cured. Currently he is bearing down o...Show More

1:23:05 | Dec 9th, 2011

Rick Prelinger, a guerrilla archivist who collects the uncollected and makes it accessible, presents the 6th of his annual Lost Landscapes of San Francisco screenings. You'll see an eclectic montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen film clips showing ...Show More

1:34:42 | Dec 1st, 2011

As founder and librarian of the storied Internet Archive (deemed impossible by all when he started it in 1996), Brewster Kahle has practical experience behind his universalist vision of access to every bit of knowledge ever created, for all time, eve...Show More

1:31:15 | Oct 18th, 2011

Ecologically, the past is always present if you know where and how to look. Paleontologist-biologist-artist Laura Cunningham spent 20 years exploring California's archives and relic lands to reconstruct exactly what life used to look like here over ...Show More

1:25:06 | Sep 15th, 2011

As the times accelerate and we face ever more kaleidoscopic careers, a crucial meta-skill is the ability to learn new skills extremely rapidly, extremely well. That practice has no better exemplar and proponent than Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-...Show More

1:49:02 | Jul 26th, 2011

As organisms, cities, and companies scale up, they all gain in efficiency, but then they vary. The bigger an organism, the slower. Yet the bigger a city is, the faster it runs. And cities are structurally immortal, while corporations are structura...Show More

1:31:40 | Jun 28th, 2011

As chief scientist of one of the most highly respected conservation organizations, The Nature Conservancy, Peter Kareiva is surprisingly radical. "Look," he says, "we're in nature. The deal is how to work with it and how to help it work for us. Th...Show More

1:32:39 | Jun 8th, 2011

The frontier of biology these days is the genetics and ecology of bacteria, and the frontier of THAT is what's being learned about viruses. "The science of virology is still in its early, wild days," writes Carl Zimmer. "Scientists are discovering ...Show More

1:31:47 | May 4th, 2011

Humans now engage the Earth at Gaian scale. How did Earth and humans get to this state? Given how we got here, how should we proceed? Tim Flannery finds that the evolutionary perspective of Alfred Russell Wallace offers better guidance than the mo...Show More

1:38:36 | Apr 14th, 2011

A Malaysian lawyer told a British journalist: "I am wearing your clothes, I speak your language, I watch your films, and today is whatever date it is because you say so." Do chaps or maps drive history? Human brilliance and folly, or geography? ...Show More

52:24 | Apr 6th, 2011

Alexander Rose, Long Now Executive Director and project manager for the Clock of the Long Now, discussed lessons learned in multi-millennial site design.

1:37:08 | Mar 23rd, 2011

Via trade and other cultural activities, "ideas have sex," and that drives human history in the direction of inconstant but accumulative improvement over time. The criers of havoc keep being proved wrong. A fundamental optimism about human affairs ...Show More

1:28:46 | Feb 10th, 2011

We're not just living longer, we're thriving longer, but so far we seem to be thinking shorter. Aging societies the world over can benefit from increased longevity because human lives have added a new stage---what Bateson calls "Adulthood II: the ag...Show More

1:34:27 | Jan 19th, 2011

Philip K. Howard is a conservative who inspires standing ovations from liberal audiences (short example here.) He says that governance in America---from the capitol to the classroom---has achieved near-total dysfunctionality by accumulating so many ...Show More

1:29:26 | Dec 17th, 2010

Rick Prelinger, a guerrilla archivist who collects the uncollected and makes it accessible, presents the fifth of his annual Lost Landscapes of San Francisco screenings. You'll see an eclectic montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen film clips showi...Show More

1:08:03 | Nov 16th, 2010

While we may aspire to live a century, Rachel Sussman documents creatures who don’t bat an eye at a millennium or two. Her photography has captured 4,500 year old bristlecone pines, 12,000 year old yucca, 400,000 year old Siberian bacteria, and many...Show More

1:47:38 | Oct 27th, 2010

Do the languages we speak shape the way we think? For example, how do we think about time? The word "time" is the most frequent noun in the English language. Time is ubiquitous yet ephemeral. It forms the very fabric of our experience, and yet it ...Show More

17:59 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:25 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:13 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:17 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:38 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:43 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:39 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:44 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:36 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:35 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:37 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:35 | Oct 17th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

20:04 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:34 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:39 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:40 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:31 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

19:36 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

20:46 | Oct 16th, 2010

Long Conversation, an epic relay of one-to-one conversations among some of the Bay Area's most interesting minds, took place over 6 hours in San Francisco on Saturday October 16, 02010. Interpreting the Long Conversation in real time was a data vis...Show More

1:39:42 | Aug 3rd, 2010

President of the Royal Society, England's Astronomer Royal, Lord Martin Rees brings a lifetime of cosmological inquiry to a crucial question: What if human success on Earth determines life's success in the universe? He thinks that civilization's cha...Show More

1:49:55 | Jul 28th, 2010

Games perpetually revolutionize computer use toward denser interaction with the human mind. To do that, they perpetually revolutionize themselves. Understanding the next frontiers of the genre is one way to understand where society is going. In th...Show More

1:40:57 | Jul 13th, 2010

Policy makers typically ignore or misuse history. They are attracted by simplistic theories and analogies and take little account of huge events outside their policy-making domain. Scholarly historians can cure those blindnesses but are seldom invi...Show More

1:38:42 | Jun 17th, 2010

Finally achieving fusion energy may be closer than everyone thinks. For decades the dream has been to employ the reaction that powers stars to generate high-volume electricity without the drawbacks of fission reactors---no high-level waste, no weapon...Show More

1:34:40 | May 4th, 2010

Hidden and powerful and growing worldwide at twice the rate of the legal economy, "deviant globalization" is described by Nils Gilman as "human trafficking, drug dealing, gun running, cross-border waste disposal, organ trading, sex tourism, money lau...Show More

1:42:52 | Apr 2nd, 2010

David Eagleman may be the best combination of scientist and fiction-writer alive. Sum, his collection of afterlife alternatives, made a stunning literary debut last year and now appears in 21 languages. Simultaneously he is a neuroscientist at Bayl...Show More

1:44:55 | Mar 5th, 2010

President Obama's first executive action was the Open Government Memorandum calling for more transparent, participatory, and collaborative government. It is likely that one of the longest lasting effects of the current administration will be how muc...Show More

1:42:10 | Feb 25th, 2010

Journalist Weisman traveled the world to investigate what happens when humans stop occupying an area. How long do our artifacts last? How does nature recover? What does that say about the human impact on the world? What would be the actual sequen...Show More

39:30 | Feb 1st, 2010

Long Finance aims to “improve society’s understanding and use of finance over the long-term”, in contrast to the short-termism that defines today’s financial and economic views. The immediate objective of the initiative is to establish a Foundation t...Show More

1:49:12 | Jan 14th, 2010

Anthropologist Wade Davis is one of the world's great story tellers, with personal adventures to match. An Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic, he specializes in hanging out with traditional peoples and exploring their religious practices. ...Show More

1:46:45 | Dec 5th, 2009

Rick Prelinger, a guerrilla archivist who collects the uncollected and makes it accessible, presents the fourth of his annual Lost Landscapes of San Francisco screenings. You'll see an eclectic montage of rediscovered and rarely-seen film clips showi...Show More

1:29:41 | Nov 19th, 2009

Are we the first civilization to try and innovate our way out of climate change? How have past societies engineered sustainable solutions to a shifting world? Sander van der Leeuw, Director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizo...Show More

1:30:10 | Oct 10th, 2009

This talk launches Brand's new book: Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.  His argument is that taking account of the emerging global forces of climate change, urbanization, and biotechnology forces a rethink of some traditional enviro...Show More

1:23:12 | Sep 15th, 2009

Arthur Ganson uses humble materials to create kinetic sculptures of humor, drama, and emotion.  His work has been shown around the world, and has been an ongoing inspiration for the 10,000 Year Clock project at Long Now.  His machinated gestures play...Show More

1:26:31 | Aug 18th, 2009

Wayne Clough is the 12th Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.  In July 1998 he took the reins of the world's largest museum and research complex and has since initiated long-range planning for the Smithsonian that includes increasing its accessi...Show More

1:40:35 | Jul 29th, 2009

She's the head of a plant genetics lab at UC Davis; he teaches organic farming there. They're married (with kids), and they coauthored Tomorrow's Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food. In the book they wrote: "To meet the appetit...Show More

54:21 | May 19th, 2009

Paul Romer is best known as the lead developer of New Growth Theory, which shows how societies can speed up the discovery and implementation of new technologies; essentially, ideas about how objects interact. However, to address the big problems we’l...Show More

58:21 | May 6th, 2009

Michael Pollan describes his program to transform American agriculture as a "sun food agenda." He is the author of two influential books---In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto; and The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. He is t...Show More

1:01:18 | Apr 9th, 2009

More than any other political entity, cities learn from each other. San Francisco's youthful mayor has traveled the world examining what works best in other cities. Now in his sixth year on the job, he has seen various ideas and programs bloom or wit...Show More

1:05:02 | Mar 21st, 2009

The Pirahã, a remote Amazonian tribe with little outside contact, have attracted the attention of mainstream media, scientists, zen buddhists, professors of religion, mathematicians, philosophers and others because of their unusual confluence of valu...Show More

1:00:10 | Feb 14th, 2009

A close student and observer of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe twenty years ago, engineer Dmitry Orlov finds a similar sequence of events taking shape in America. His savagely humorous presentation spells out how Russia was bette...Show More

56:10 | Jan 17th, 2009

"It is not accurate to say we can still stop climate change," says Saul Griffith, the Bay Area inventor who received a MacArthur "genius" award in 2007.  "We are now working to stop worse climate change or much-worse-than-worse climate change." Grif...Show More

1:10:00 | Dec 20th, 2008

Rick Prelinger is a guerrilla archivist who collects the uncollected and makes it accessible. Prelinger will be presenting his third annual "Lost Landscapes of San Francisco" event, an eclectic montage of lost and rarely-seen film clips showing life,...Show More

1:03:17 | Nov 18th, 2008

Bioengineer Drew Endy is the leading enabler of open-source biotechnology. Technology historian Jim Thomas is the leading critic of biotech, based with ETC Group in Ottawa. "Synthetic Biology includes the broad redefinition and expansion of biotechn...Show More

1:03:17 | Oct 4th, 2008

"You cannot manage elements of the environment individually, one by one, or all your best efforts will unravel," says Johnson.  Government planning is needed, and it must match the pace and scale of the environment itself.  He instigated that kind of...Show More

1:10:01 | Sep 13th, 2008

Prizes are proving themselves as powerful tools to accelerate goal-specific innovation. Diamandis, the founder and chairman of the X Prize Foundation, has built on the success of the $10 million Ansari X Prize that inaugurated private-sector spacefli...Show More

19:35 | Sep 9th, 2008

At an event hosted by the Long Now Foundation, science fiction author Neal Stephenson reads from his latest novel Anathem.

1:18:01 | Aug 9th, 2008

The viral success story of the year is a techno-thriller called Daemon. Software developer Suarez printed the book himself after being turned down by mainstream publishers. Blog raves, Amazon raves, and brief item in Wired magazine turned the book ...Show More

1:16:41 | Jul 24th, 2008

Burtynsky's massively informative photographs change minds and influence policy. They are also exquisite art. Their historical value will grow with time. Other art has similar reach. There should be a gallery that collects, displays, and sifts su...Show More

1:16:31 | Jun 28th, 2008

Everything living evolves, but humans evolve culturally as well as biologically, and that puts us in a peculiar relation to the rest of life, with a peculiar responsibility. If we can understand how cultural evolution works, we'll have a better hand...Show More

1:15:41 | May 22nd, 2008

Quadir is the now-legendary founder of GrameenPhone, which transformed his home country of Bangladesh in the 1990s and led the way for the cellphone revolution throughout the developing world. Currently Quadir heads the Legatum Center for Developmen...Show More

1:40:56 | Apr 29th, 2008

Distinguished historian Ferguson and renowned futurist Schwartz disagree profoundly on the nature of human progress. Both use scenarios (called "counterfactual history" by Ferguson) to analyze how events play out. Ferguson wrote The War of the Worl...Show More

1:49:23 | Feb 26th, 2008

With his current series of breakthroughs in synthetic biology Craig Venter and his team are not so much creating life as joining life. Reverse-engineering evolution's long-refined tricks and subtleties at the molecular level is building humanity's mo...Show More

1:27:57 | Feb 5th, 2008

Skeptical empiricist Nassim Taleb, author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, has bracing things to say about the future. It is inevitable that we will be massively blindsided by events, because our understanding is misled by an ...Show More

1:25:32 | Jan 12th, 2008

"Some would argue that forecasting is a dangerous exercise in futility, but they are mistaken. In fact, effective forecasting is not merely possible, but remarkably easy; all it takes is simple shift in perspective and a few common-sense heuristics...Show More

1:26:03 | Dec 15th, 2007

Art is humanity's long-term unconscious memory.  Artists work by creative misuse, and thanks to the Internet there have never been so many tools for so many artists (and multitudes who don't know they're artists) to creatively misuse.  Take a cruise ...Show More

1:20:58 | Nov 10th, 2007

Principles are fundamental and moral, and they abide. Professor Kanter from the Harvard Business School, author of renowned leadership and strategy books such as The Change Masters and When Giants Learn to Dance, has a new book titled America the Pr...Show More

1:29:22 | Oct 13th, 2007

Enriquez has a world-class collection of historic maps made at the very point of discovery. He will deploy them for the first time in one of his dazzling presentations, to examine how we image and imagine what we are exploring, and thus image and im...Show More

1:44:39 | Sep 15th, 2007

The best introduction to the current realities and benefits of nuclear power is Gwyneth Cravens' forthcoming book Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy. A science journalist and novelist, and long an activist against nuclear, Crave...Show More

1:12:39 | Jun 29th, 2007

Frank Fukuyama's 1992 book The End of History and the Last Man had profound and lasting impact with its declaration that science and technology, the growing global economy, and liberal democracy are leading history in a quite different direction than...Show More

1:11:45 | Jun 9th, 2007

"I now believe there are over one million organizations working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. This is the largest social movement in all of history, no one knows its scope, and how it functions is more mysterious than what meet...Show More

1:26:10 | May 12th, 2007

Nobody discovers or imparts an insight with the dexterity of Steven Johnson, author of Emergence, Everything Bad Is Good For You, and The Ghost Map. In this talk he examines how humanity is transformed by its new scaling capability--- our ability no...Show More

13:38 | Apr 28th, 2007

Acclaimed nature photographer Lanting has created the most graphic timeline ever, at its best as a live performance. This is the "long now" in glowing imagery.

1:19:02 | Mar 10th, 2007

How vulnerable are we to climate change? What does it do to us, exactly? Human experience over the last 15,000 years shows that even slight climate shifts have been one of the major shapers of history and pre-history, though that is overlooked in m...Show More

1:30:55 | Feb 16th, 2007

Technology acceleration is like what happens approaching the singularity in the center of a black hole--- everything is transformed utterly and unpredictably. That metaphor was invented by science fiction writer Vernor Vinge in 1980s and has entered...Show More

1:13:07 | Jan 27th, 2007

Why are so many experts so wrong, yet people keep listening to them? Who really is worth listening to about the future? The author of Expert Political Judgement builds on Isaah Berlin's characterization of judgment modes into Hedgehogs (who know on...Show More

1:14:22 | Dec 1st, 2006

Philip Rosedale is the founder of a burgeoning Web phenomenon, the massive multi-player substitute reality called "Second Life." When the scheduled speaker for this month, Francis Fukuyama, was suddenly sidelined by a motorcycle injury, Rosedale sp...Show More

1:14:22 | Nov 4th, 2006

New money, new ideas, whole new kinds of programs, and growing global impact characterize the transformations going on in philanthropy these days. Katherine Fulton, president of the Monitor Institute, is behind the scenes in all of it. She is joined...Show More

1:27:12 | Oct 14th, 2006

This graphic extravaganza from mathematical physicist John Baez shows not only humanity's nested time dimensions but how we expand our time perspective to understand and solve crises. Baez's famed online column, "This Week's Finds in Mathematical Phy...Show More

1:28:53 | Sep 23rd, 2006

Orville Schell is author of nine books about China and dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at UC Berkeley. The question facing China now is whether in practice it can live up to its sense of itself as the society with the longest and deepest co...Show More

1:30:00 | Jul 15th, 2006

John Rendon, head of The Rendon Group, is a senior communications consultant to the White House and Department of Defense. His subject in this talk is how to replace tactical, reactive response to terror with long-term strategic initiative.

1:40:00 | Jun 27th, 2006

Will Wright, creator of the video games "Sim City," "The Sims," and the forthcoming "Spore," will speak on playing with time.

1:29:11 | May 13th, 2006

A new economic principle is the "the long tail," discovered and named by the editor of Wired magazine, Chris Anderson. The former dominance of best-sellers has been augmented by the new dominance of innumerable tiny-sellers, thanks to the Internet. ...Show More

1:16:10 | Apr 15th, 2006

Vision is one of the most powerful forms of long-term thinking. Jimmy Wales, founder and president of the all-embracing online encyclopedia Wikipedia, examines how vision drives and defines that project and its strategy--- and how it fits into the ev...Show More

1:19:21 | Feb 14th, 2006

Anthropologist/ecologist Stephen Lansing tells a gorgeous tale of how spiritual practices in Bali have finessed over 1,000 years the most nuanced and productive agricultural system in the world. Cutting edge complexity theory spells out how the high...Show More

1:42:22 | Jan 14th, 2006

In a very pointed discussion, two energy experts bring opposite perspectives to the question of whether global climate change justifies reviving nuclear power. Ralph Cavanagh is co-director of the Energy Program at the National Resources Defense Co...Show More

1:21:29 | Dec 10th, 2005

In his new book The End of Faith philosopher Sam Harris examines religious faith in terms of its consequences and aggressive irrationality. For this talk he explores how "end time" beliefs play out in social behavior and public policy. A Buddhist me...Show More

1:36:30 | Nov 15th, 2005

Clay Shirky is the most riveting of speakers at tech conferences, with his deep insight into social software and the culture and economics of networks. His talk for the next Seminar About Long-term Thinking takes on one of the most intractable probl...Show More

1:21:04 | Oct 6th, 2005

"The Difficulty of Looking Far Ahead" is Freeman Dyson's subject at the next Seminar About Long-term Thinking. He will be joined for the first time on a public stage by his daughter Esther Dyson and son George Dyson.

1:45:53 | Sep 24th, 2005

The next Seminar About Long-term Thinking features Ray Kurzweil, speaking on "Kurzweil's Law"--- the exponential trend of accelerating returns governing life and technology.

1:01:31 | Aug 13th, 2005

From time to time a portion of humanity declares a new human right. Behavior thought normal for thousands of years is suddenly challenged.  What does it take for the new right to prevail?  It takes steady bearing down on the issue over decades and ce...Show More

1:15:39 | Mar 12th, 2005

Spencer Beebe, founder of Ecotrust, is giving the next Seminar About Long-term Thinking lecture, titled "Very Long-term Very Large-scale Biomimicry"---how to prosper with bio-regional economics over centuries. Friday, March 11, 7pm, Fort Mason Confe...Show More

1:27:11 | Jan 15th, 2005

"Religious War in Light of the Infinite Game" is the subject of the next Seminar About Long-term Thinking lecture, given by James P. Carse. Carse is the author of the celebrated tiny book, Finite and Infinite Games.

2:04:22 | Dec 4th, 2004

"The Consequences of Human Life Extension" will be discussed by Ken Dychtwald at the next Seminar About Long-term Thinking. Dychtwald is the author of Age Wave and Age Power: How the 21st Century will be Ruled by the New Old.

1:24:10 | Nov 13th, 2004

"The Prospects of Human Life Extension" is the subject of the next Seminar About Long-term Thinking, Friday, Nov. 12, 7 pm, at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco. The speaker is Michael West, founder of Geron, founder and CEO of Advan...Show More

1:19:15 | Oct 16th, 2004

Paul Hawken, ur-environmentalist, is the next speaker in the series of Seminars About Long-term Thinking, Friday, October 15, 7 pm, at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco. His subject is "The Long Green."

1:06:50 | Sep 11th, 2004

Danny Hillis is the next speaker in the Seminars About Long-term Thinking series, Friday, September 10, 7pm, at the Fort Mason Conference Center in San Francisco. His topic is "Progress on the 10,000-year Clock."