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Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking

The Long Now Foundation

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Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking

Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking

The Long Now Foundation

77
Followers
275
Plays
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About Us

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). Recorded live in San Francisco each month since 02003, past speakers include Brian Eno, Neil Gaiman, Sylvia Earle, Daniel Kahneman, Jennifer Pahlka, Steven Johnson, and many more. Watch video of these talks and learn more about our projects at Longnow.org. The Long Now Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to fostering long-term thinking and responsibility.

Latest Episodes

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.

87 MINJAN 16
Comments
Bina Venkataraman: Long-Term Thinking in a Distracted World

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).

93 MIN2019 NOV 19
Comments
Andrew McAfee: More From Less

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.

83 MIN2019 OCT 15
Comments
Suhanya Raffel: World Art Through The Asian Perspective

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 any...

80 MIN2019 AUG 14
Comments
Monica L. Smith: Cities: The First 6,000 Years

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).

86 MIN2019 JUL 23
Comments
Marcia Bjornerud: Timefulness

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).

89 MIN2019 JUN 25
Comments
Mariana Mazzucato: Rethinking Value

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.

90 MIN2019 JUN 5
Comments
David Byrne: Good News & Sleeping Beauties

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.

96 MIN2019 MAY 5
Comments
Ian McEwan: Machines Like Me

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).

84 MIN2019 APR 3
Comments
Jeff Goodell: The Water Will Come

Chip Conley: The Modern Elder and the Intergenerational Workplace

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; Emotional Equations), was hired at 52 by the drastically youthful, disruptive startup Airbnb to be its Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy. He found he was simultaneously an intern learning the digital ropes and a seasoned veteran mentoring the company’s leadership. Expanding beyond the traditional Silicon Valley role of “executive whisperer,” Conley led the company’s focus on its countless hosts worldwide. His new book, Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, makes the case for intergenerational savvy in organizations and explores what it takes to become a useful elder these days. A jolt of rejuvenation comes with the job.

84 MIN2019 MAR 14
Comments
Chip Conley: The Modern Elder and the Intergenerational Workplace

Latest Episodes

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.

87 MINJAN 16
Comments
Bina Venkataraman: Long-Term Thinking in a Distracted World

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).

93 MIN2019 NOV 19
Comments
Andrew McAfee: More From Less

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.

83 MIN2019 OCT 15
Comments
Suhanya Raffel: World Art Through The Asian Perspective

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 any...

80 MIN2019 AUG 14
Comments
Monica L. Smith: Cities: The First 6,000 Years

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).

86 MIN2019 JUL 23
Comments
Marcia Bjornerud: Timefulness

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).

89 MIN2019 JUN 25
Comments
Mariana Mazzucato: Rethinking Value

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.

90 MIN2019 JUN 5
Comments
David Byrne: Good News & Sleeping Beauties

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.

96 MIN2019 MAY 5
Comments
Ian McEwan: Machines Like Me

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).

84 MIN2019 APR 3
Comments
Jeff Goodell: The Water Will Come

Chip Conley: The Modern Elder and the Intergenerational Workplace

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; Emotional Equations), was hired at 52 by the drastically youthful, disruptive startup Airbnb to be its Head of Global Hospitality and Strategy. He found he was simultaneously an intern learning the digital ropes and a seasoned veteran mentoring the company’s leadership. Expanding beyond the traditional Silicon Valley role of “executive whisperer,” Conley led the company’s focus on its countless hosts worldwide. His new book, Wisdom @ Work: The Making of a Modern Elder, makes the case for intergenerational savvy in organizations and explores what it takes to become a useful elder these days. A jolt of rejuvenation comes with the job.

84 MIN2019 MAR 14
Comments
Chip Conley: The Modern Elder and the Intergenerational Workplace
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