10,000-Year Clock

Plaza Watch International - - News -

Jeff Be­zos, the 49-year old founder and CEO of Ama­zon.com, whose per­sonal wealth this year sur­passed the $25 bil­lion mark, is al­lo­cat­ing some of his ex­tra­or­di­nary for­tune into the con­struc­tion of a re­mark­able time­piece – The 10,000-Year Clock.

Sched­uled to be built deep in­side a moun­tain on land owned by Be­zos, in the Sierra Di­ablo Moun­tain Range in West Texas, USA, the clock – also known as The Clock of the Long Now – is an en­tirely me­chan­i­cal time­piece that is hoped will keep time for a stag­ger­ing 10,000 years.

Be­zos has been in­volved with the project for the last six years but the clock was con­ceived by Wil­liam Daniel “Danny” Hil­lis – an Amer­i­can in­ven­tor, sci­en­tist, en­gi­neer, en­tre­pre­neur and au­thor. Hil­lis has been work­ing on the clock for 27 years and has ac­crued a team of sup­port­ers and fi­nancers (of which Be­zos is lead­ing pa­tron with $42 mil­lion in­vested) called The Long Now Foun­da­tion. The 3,300 mem­bers of the foun­da­tion are all pro­po­nents of long-term think­ing and the 10,000-year clock is be­ing cre­ated as a sym­bol of this.

As Be­zos told the Wall Street Jour­nal, “We hu­mans have be­come so tech­no­log­i­cally so­phis­ti­cated that in cer­tain ways we're danger­ous to our­selves. It's go­ing to be in­creas­ingly im­por­tant over time for hu­man­ity to take a longer-term view of its fu­ture.”

In other words, the de­ci­sions we make now have se­ri­ous con­se­quences for our descen­dants… un­less hu­man­ity con­sid­ers more closely the re­ver­ber­a­tions we send into the fu­ture, we may not have any dis­tant rel­a­tives in 7013.

To add some per­spec­tive of the du­ra­tion we’re talk­ing about here, as it’s easy to get lost in ze­roes, there has never been a global em­pire, or a rul­ing na­tion, never mind a small foun­da­tion – that has lasted for 10,000 years in the his­tory of civ­i­liza­tion. Amer­ica it­self is only 300 years old. So th­ese are high hopes embodied in the clock, but the mem­bers of The Long Now Foun­da­tion are ad­mirably un­daunted in the face of the task.

Ste­wart Brand is a found­ing board mem­ber of the foun­da­tion, and in terms of pro­mot­ing long-term think­ing with the clock, he says, “Such a clock, if suf­fi­ciently im­pres­sive and well-en­gi­neered, would em­body deep time for peo­ple. It should be charis­matic to visit, in­ter­est­ing to think about, and fa­mous enough to be­come iconic in the public dis­course. Ide­ally, it would do for think­ing about time what the pho­to­graphs of Earth from space have done for think­ing about the en­vi­ron­ment. Such icons re­frame the way peo­ple think.”

There has been some phe­nom­e­nal en­gi­neer­ing be­hind the de­sign of the clock and af­ter many years of hard work and cre­ative think­ing, fab­ri­ca­tion of the full-size clock parts has be­gun and the ex­ca­va­tion of the moun­tain is in full swing.

It’s a mind-bog­gling un­der­tak­ing. The chime gen­er­a­tor alone is set to play a dif­fer­ent bell ring­ing se­quence each day for 10,000 years.

For mad­cap horol­o­gists, you can make sug­ges­tions for how to cel­e­brate dif­fer­ent an­niver­saries of the clock and Be­zos in­vites your ideas. His web­site, 10000yearclock.net, states, “If you have an in­ter­est­ing idea for the 10-year an­niver­sary cham­ber, please feel free to email it to 10-year-cham­ber@10000yearclock.net and we'll add it to the mix of ideas.” So what are you wait­ing for? Em­ploy some long-term think­ing and email them some party plans.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from International

© PressReader. All rights reserved.