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Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking
69 minutes | 2 months ago
James Nestor: The Future of Breathing
Tune in at 5:00pm PT on 12/8/20 to watch the public live stream of this talk on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Long Now Live. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, journalist James Nestor questions the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function, breathing. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary specialists to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. His inquiry leads to the understanding that breathing is in many ways as important as what we eat, how much we exercise, or whatever genes we’ve inherited.
84 minutes | 3 months ago
Roman Krznaric: Becoming a Better Ancestor
Tune in at 11:00am PT on 10/28/20 to watch & share the live stream of this talk on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Long Now Live. Human beings have an astonishing evolutionary gift: agile imaginations that can shift in an instant from thinking on a scale of seconds to a scale of years or even centuries. The need to draw on our capacity to think long-term has never been more urgent, whether in areas such as public health care, to deal with technological risks, or to confront the threats of an ecological crisis. What can we do to overcome the tyranny of the now? The drivers of short-termism threaten to drag us over the edge of civilizational breakdown, while ways to think long-term are drawing us towards a culture of longer time horizons and responsibility for the future of humankind. Creating a cognitive toolkit for challenging our obsession with the here and now offers conceptual scaffolding for answering one of the most important questions of our time: How can we be good ancestors? ---Roman Krznaric Roman Krznaric is a public philosopher who writes about the power of ideas to change society. His newest book on the history and future of long-term thinking is The Good Ancestor: A Radical Prescription for Long-Term Thinking. Other books include Empathy, The Wonderbox and Carpe Diem Regained, which have been published in more than 20 languages. Krznaric founded the traveling Empathy Museum and is especially interested in the challenges of how we extend empathy to future generations. Roman Krznaric is also a Long Now Research Fellow.
60 minutes | 4 months ago
Julia Watson: Design by Radical Indigenism
Tune in at 5:00pm PT on 9/15/20 to watch the public live stream of this talk on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Long Now Live. Responding to climate change by building hard infrastructures and favoring high-tech homogenous design, we are ignoring millennia-old knowledge of how to live in symbiosis with nature. Without implementing soft systems that use biodiversity as a building block, designs remain inherently unsustainable. There is a cumulative body of multigenerational knowledge, practices, and beliefs designed to sustainably work with complex ecosystems. Watson's work reconnects with this sophisticated global body of knowledge. Julia Watson teaches Urban Design at Harvard and Columbia University and is author of Lo-TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism (02019). Her work focuses on experiential, landscape, and urban design, with an ethos towards global ecological change.
60 minutes | 5 months ago
Genevieve Bell: The 4th Industrial Revolution: Responsible & Secure AI
Tune in at 5:00pm PT on 8/12/20 to watch the public live stream of this talk on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Long Now Live. "I have always felt I have an obligation to build the future I want to see. We know that AI-powered cyber-physical systems (CPS) will scale in society. The challenge we face now is how we do that responsibly and sustainably? If we act proactively, we can avoid some of the negative impacts we have seen during other technological leaps. We need to start creating now for that future 30 years hence, when we are completely embedded in both a digital and physical environment, and are experiencing a climate unrecognisable from the climate of today [...] for a future characterised by economic prosperity, social equality and wellbeing, and environmental sustainability." -----Genevieve Bell Genevieve Bell is an Australian anthropologist best known for her work at the intersection of cultural practice and technology development. Bell established the 3A Institute (at the Australian National University College of Engineering and Computer Science) to focus on exploring how to bring together data science, design thinking and ethnography to drive new approaches in engineering; and to question of what it means to be human in a data-driven economy and world.
63 minutes | 6 months ago
Craig Childs: Tracking the First People into Ice Age North America
Tune in at 5:00pm PT on 8/4/20 to watch the public live stream of this talk on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Long Now Live. Craig Childs chronicles the last millennia of the Ice Age, the violent oscillations and retreat of glaciers, the clues and traces that document the first encounters of early humans, and the animals whose presence governed the humans chances for survival. With the cadence of his narrative moving from scientific observation to poetry, he reveals how much has changed since the time of mammoth hunters, and how little. Across unexplored landscapes yet to be peopled, readers will see the Ice Age, and their own age, in a whole new light. Craig Childs is a writer, wanderer and contributing editor at High Country News, commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, and teaches writing at University of Alaska and the Mountainview MFA at Southern New Hampshire University. His books include Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America (02019), Apocalyptic Planet (02013) and House of Rain (02008).
71 minutes | 6 months ago
Peter Calthorpe: Urban Planet: Ecology, Community, and Growth Through the Next Century
Throughout Peter Calthorpe's decade-spanning career in urban design, planning, and architecture, he has developed and practiced the key principles of New Urbanism: that the most successful places are diverse in uses and users, are scaled to the pedestrian and human interaction, and are environmentally sustainable. Calthorpe developed the concept of Transit Oriented Development, a strategy that is now the foundation of many regional policies and city plans around the world. His work internationally has demonstrated that community design with a focus on environmental sustainability and human scale can be adapted throughout the globe. Most recently Calthorpe launched the urban-planning software UrbanFootprint which models the diverse impacts of urban planning scenarios for designers and planners working for cities, businesses, public agencies and nonprofits.
68 minutes | 7 months ago
Lonny J Avi Brooks: When is Wakanda: Imagining Afrofutures
"As a forecaster and Afrofuturist who imagines alternative futures from a Black Diaspora perspective, I think about long-term signals that will shape the next 10 to 100 years." ---Dr. Lonny J Avi Brooks Dr. Brooks develops and promotes a wider Afrocentric perspective that champions Black storytelling and imagination, to push beyond the colonial mindset into an expanded vision of possible futures. Through his work with the Black Speculative Arts Movement, The Afrofuturist Podcast which he started with Ahmed Best, Institute for the Future, Fathomers, Dynamicland and others, Brooks aims to diversify and democratize the building of the future. Lonny J Avi Brooks is an associate professor in communication at California State University, East Bay. As the Co-Principal Investigator for the Long Term and Futures Thinking in Education Project, he has piloted the integration of futures thinking into the communication curriculum. As a leading voice of Afrofuturism 2.0, Brooks contributes prolifically to the field through diverse mediums including journals, conferences, anthologies, exhibits and festivals.
61 minutes | 8 months ago
Brian Fisher: Edible Insects: Where Land Conservation and Protein Meet
At the intersection of climate change, biodiversity loss, and food scarcity lies an unexpected and abundant resource: insects. Brian Fisher has spent three decades documenting biodiversity in Madagascar, a nation off East Africa that's estimated to contain 5% of the world's total plant and animal life. Across the island, harsh economic realities force local people to choose between preserving their unique ecological heritage and clearing the landscape to make way for sustenance farming. To address the twin issues of malnutrition and habitat loss, Fisher with the California Academy of Sciences founded a Malagasy-based organization that manufactures protein-packed cricket powder. The edible insects alleviate pressure on endangered habitat while supplementing local diets, providing a model that can be replicated in other food-stressed areas around the world. Fisher is an unparalleled storyteller with updates from the cutting edge of conservation science—and the future of food. Dr. Brian Fisher is curator of entomology at the California Academy of Sciences and a world-renowned ant expert. Nicknamed the "Ant Man," Fisher has spent three decades documenting the island of Madagascar's beautiful biodiversity. Along the way, he's discovered over 1,000 new ant species. As he witnessed the biodiversity crisis unfold in Madagascar, Fisher began researching traditional insect-eating practices.
76 minutes | 8 months ago
Rick Doblin: Transformational Psychedelics
Humans have consumed psychedelics for at least the last 10,000 years. The outlawing of psychedelics in most of the world in the 20th century didn’t stop that, but it did put an end to promising research into their psychotherapeutic applications to treat depression, addiction, PTSD, anxiety, and trauma. Today, we’re in the midst of a psychedelic renaissance, with some psychedelics fast on their way to becoming legal medicines. One of the key players behind this movement is Rick Doblin, Ph.D.. In 01986, he founded the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), a non-profit research and educational organization that has developed the medical and legal framework for the use of psychedelics to treat mental health conditions. MAPS has distributed over $20 million to fund psychedelic research and education, and in 02017 won fast-tracked “Breakthrough Therapy” designation from the FDA for using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy to treat Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). With legalization now in sight, what is the future of psychedelic medicine? Rick Doblin, Ph.D., is the founder and executive director of the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He received his doctorate in Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. His life’s work is to develop legal contexts for the beneficial uses of psychedelics.
75 minutes | 9 months ago
Laurance Doyle: Interspecies Communication and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Dr. Laurance Doyle is an astrophysicist and principal investigator at SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) with expertise in diverse subjects including extrasolar planets, signal processing and communications theory. He has worked on image analysis from the Voyager mission and Halley's Comet, developed statistical methodologies to search for extrasolar planets, and is applying those tools to analyze complex patterns and search for meaning in animal communications.
81 minutes | a year ago
Eric Ries: Long-Term Stock Exchange
Companies that operate with a long-term mindset tend to outperform their peers over time. But the pressure to achieve short-term quarterly gains often works against longer-term sustainable growth, and can push even the most visionary company into a short-term mindset. In 02019, the Long-Term Stock Exchange was approved as the country’s 14th and newest stock exchange. It offers a new framework for companies to raise capital while keeping their focus on long-term results. By requiring participating companies to accept a set of governance standards and incentive systems that deprioritize the short-term, the Long-Term Stock Exchange hopes to reward investments and business strategies that focus on a longer time horizon. Eric Ries is the founder and CEO of Long-Term Stock Exchange. He created the Lean Startup methodology and is author of The Lean Startup and The Startup Way. Ries founded IMVU and served as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Harvard Business School, IDEO, and Pivotal.
87 minutes | a year ago
Bina Venkataraman: Long-Term Thinking in a Distracted World
What does practical long-term thinking look like? Bina Venkataraman’s new book, The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age, brings this abstract question to life. Through a series of anecdotes and case studies that draw from her background in public policy, climate change strategy, and journalism, Venkataraman explores pragmatic tactics that can help us think more clearly about our long-term future. Bina Venkataraman is the editorial page editor of The Boston Globe. Before joining the Globe, she served as a senior adviser for climate change innovation in the Obama White House, was the director of Global Policy Initiatives at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and taught in the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at MIT.
94 minutes | a year ago
Andrew McAfee: More From Less
Andrew McAfee draws on a wide range of evidence to show that the world is already on the right track toward long-term health when it combines 1) technological progress, 2) capitalism, 3) responsive government, and 4) public awareness. That blend demonstrably gets humanity “more from less.” It dematerializes the economy and decouples it from exploiting nature while increasing prosperity for ever more people. McAfee argues that dematerialization is occurring because of the combination of capitalism and tech progress (especially progress with digital technologies). Contested markets provide the motive, and tech progress the opportunity, to save money by swapping bits for atoms throughout the economy. But competition and computers don't automatically deal with pollution or protect threatened ecosystems. Two other forces are necessary--public awareness and responsive government. When all four are present, societies can tread more lightly on the Earth and grow in confidence that both humanity and nature can thrive together into the future. The reality of what works departs from every ideology out there. It also makes clear what needs to be further improved in the places where it’s working, such as the US, and what needs to be introduced in the places where it’s not working yet. Andrew McAfee is a research scientist at MIT‘s Sloan School of Management and cofounder of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy. He is the author of More From Less (2019) and co-author (with Erik Brynjolfsson) of Machine, Platform, Crowd (2017) and The Second Machine Age (2014).
83 minutes | a year ago
Suhanya Raffel: World Art Through The Asian Perspective
Coming to the fore in this century is Asian perspective on everything. A thrilling place to watch the shift is in art. Extraordinary contemporary art from all over the world, especially Asia, has been collected for the new world-class museum in Hong Kong called M+. The massive museum won’t open for a year or two, but a rich sample of the collection as well as insight on why it was collected for display in Hong Kong, will be offered by Suhanya Raffel, Executive Director of M+. Before her appointment in 2016 to run M+, Suhanya Raffel was Deputy Director and Director of Collections at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, and Acting Director of the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art. This SALT talk was arranged as part of the partnership between The Long Now Foundation and the Asia Society Northern California.
81 minutes | a year ago
Monica L. Smith: Cities: The First 6,000 Years
“Cities were the first Internet,” says archaeologist Monica Smith, because they were the first permanent places where strangers met in large numbers for entertainment, commerce, and romance. And the function and form of cities, she notes, have remained remarkably constant over their 6,000 years of history so far. Modern city dwellers would quickly find their way around any city in the past, given our shared architecture of broad avenues, monumental structures, and densely crowded residences. What we learn from examining the long history of cities is what makes them so freeing and empowering for humans and humanity. Density has always been crucial. So has infrastructure, skill specialization, cultural diversity, intense trade with other cities, an economy of acquiring and discarding objects, the delights of fashion and art, religious focus and political focus, intellectual ferment, and technological innovation. The digital internet has not replaced cities, nor is it likely that anything else will, Smith proposes, for the next 6,000 years. Monica L. Smith is an anthropology professor and also a professor in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainabilityat UCLA. She has done archeological fieldwork in India, Bangladesh, Madagascar, Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, and England. Her new book is Cities: The First 6,000 Years.
86 minutes | 2 years ago
Marcia Bjornerud: Timefulness
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 become at home in the deep past and engaged with the deep future. We learn to “think like a planet.” As for climate change... “Dazzled by our own creations,” Bjornerud writes, “we have forgotten that we are wholly embedded in a much older, more powerful world whose constancy we take for granted…. Averse to even the smallest changes, we have now set the stage for environmental deviations that will be larger and less predictable than any we have faced before.” A professor of geology and environmental studies at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, Marcia Bjornerud is author of Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World (2018) and Reading the Rocks: The Autobiography of the Earth (2005).
90 minutes | 2 years ago
Mariana Mazzucato: Rethinking Value
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 end up with a form of capitalism that rewards value extraction activities over value creation, increasing inequality in the process. Economist Mariana Mazzucato: “I will argue that the way the word ‘value’ is used in modern economics has made it easier for value-extracting activities to masquerade as value-creating activities. And in the process rents (unearned income) gets confused with profits (earned income); inequality rises, and investment in the real economy falls.” Markets have always been shaped, Mazzucato notes. They can be reshaped now to better reflect and foster real value—creating a more sustainable and inclusive economy. A professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she founded and directs the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, Mariana Mazzucato is the author of The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy (2018) and of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths (2013).
90 minutes | 2 years ago
David Byrne: Good News & Sleeping Beauties
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 slides--as you might expect from an acclaimed visual as well as musical artist. His goal is to spread the word that there are a LOT of new things that work surprisingly well, and they can be applied far and wide. He has also delved into history for “sleeping beauties”—brilliant ideas that got overlooked or forgotten but can be revived. He’s interested in how that rediscovery process works and can be made better. Now 67, David Byrne’s prolific artistic career has earned honors including the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards. Most famed for his new-wave band “Talking Heads” (1975-1991), Byrne continues to perform on the road and has made numerous films, books, and graphic art works. He frequently collaborates with Long Now board member Brian Eno.
97 minutes | 2 years ago
Ian McEwan: Machines Like Me
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 Turing, war hero and presiding genius of the digital age.” The evening with McEwan will feature conversation with Stewart Brand, based on written questions from the audience, along with some readings. Ian McEwan is the author of Enduring Love (1997), Amsterdam (1998; Booker Prize), Atonement (2001), Saturday (2005), The Children Act (2014), and others. Twelve movies have been made from his novels and short stories, five of them with screenplays by McEwan.
85 minutes | 2 years ago
Jeff Goodell: The Water Will Come
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 decades, possibly centuries. Nearly half of humanity lives near coasts. Many of our greatest cities, and their infrastructure, will have to deal with the ever-rising waters. Some coasts in the world are already experiencing what is coming for every coast soon. Jeff Goodell's reports from those places are doubly grim. The harm is already huge, but the response of local people is even more disturbing. With few exceptions, they and their governments refuse to accept that the problem is permanent and will keep getting worse. Those most affected by global warming—rich and poor—remain perversely in denial about it. There’s lots of talk, but humanity is doing almost nothing to adapt to sea level rise. So far. Jeff Goodell is author of The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World (2017), How To Cool the Planet (2010), and Big Coal (2006).
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