What does it mean to plan 10,000 years into the future?
The Long Now Foundation in San Francisco is trying to answer this question. Working to reframe our sense of the here and now to be a bigger ‘here’ and a longer ‘now’, the Long Now provides a sense of agency and responsibility for the future of our human civilisation. Keystone projects to date include a monument scale mechanical clock designed to tick and keep time for 10,000 years, a microscopic archive of all human languages built to last for millennia, and a project to bring species like the passenger pigeon and woolly mammoth back from extinction. Dr Laura Welcher, CEO and Director of the Long Now Library will talk about her work at the Long Now Foundation, and strategies for how we can move knowledge 10,000 years into the future.
Laura Welcher is Director of The Long Now Foundation and is a linguist with research interests in endangered language documentation, description and revitalization, as well as the growing subdiscipline of computer-assisted linguistics. She received a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley, where she learned first-hand the importance of creating digital language resources that last in her field research with critically endangered North American languages. Since then she has become involved with various projects in linguistics that are working towards developing standards for the creation and archiving of digital language resources and interoperable tools to support linguistic research.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011. For 2015-2016 he hosted Blueprint for Living and now hosts Talkfest on RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian and elsewhere.