Don’t you hate when you glance at your clock and realize you’re running 6,500 years late for something?
Some people feel really strongly about solving this problem, like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who announced in a Tweet today the construction of a 10,000-year clock. Ok, that’s not why he is doing it, and it wasn’t even his idea to begin with.
The concept began with entrepreneur Danny Hillis, who, according to Wired, “originally proposed a 10,000-year clock in 1995 in Wired as a way to think about the long-term future of humanity and the planet.” This idea led to his co-founding of The Long Now Foundation and the eventual more serious planning of the so-called Clock of the Long Now.
Bezos has been involved since 2011, and construction of the 500-foot clock has begun in his hollowed-out mountain in West Texas. Just gonna casually stroll away from that very true sentence.
Installation has begun—500 ft tall, all mechanical, powered by day/night thermal cycles, synchronized at solar noon, a symbol for long-term thinking—the #10000YearClock is coming together thx to the genius of Danny Hillis, Zander Rose & the whole Clock team! Enjoy the video. pic.twitter.com/FYIyaUIbdJ— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) February 20, 2018
It will tick once a year. Its cuckoo will emerge every millenium.
But at a least a small part of me’s gotta wonder if it’s not a little gauche to animate these costly wild wonders for the future at a time when many corners of humanity face so many imminent threats. These ideas were conceived at a pretty different moment in society, and while they are indisputably fascinating to consider, $42 million dollars is also a lot of money for a haphazard pet project.
On the other other hand, we need spectacle to entertain us, and we need conversation fodder, so cheers to whoever/whatever/ifever we are approximately 500 generations from now.