Long Now: Seminars About Long-term Thinking

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.




      Mary Lou Jepsen: Toward Practical Telepathy

      With her stunning breakthroughs in neural imaging, Mary Lou Jepsen is making the brain readable (and stimulatable) in real time. That will revolutionize brain study and brain medicine, but what about brain communication? Could a direct high-resolution interface to the brain lead to what might be called practical mental telepathy? What are the prospects for brain enhancement? What are the ethics of direct brain reading and intervention? Mary Lou Jepsen founds programs and companies on the...



      Julia Galef: Soldiers and Scouts: Why our minds weren't built for truth, and how we can change that

      An expert on rationality, judgement, and strategy, Julia Galef notes that "our capacity for reason evolved to serve two very different purposes that are often at odds with each other. On the one hand, reason helps us figure out what’s true; on the other hand, it also helps us defend ideas that are false-but-strategically-useful. I’ll explore these two different modes of thought — I call them “the scout” and “the soldier” — and what determines which mode we default to. Finally, I’ll argue t...


       2018-09-13  1h32m

      Juan Benet: Long Term Info-structure

      Advance tickets for this Seminar are sold out. A limited number of tickets will be released starting at 6:30pm at the ticket tables in the theater lobby. Doors to the theater open at 7:00pm. Long Now Members can watch our live video stream and a public podcast will be released after the talk. "We live in a spectacular time,” says Juan Benet. "We're a century into our computing phase transition. The latest stages have created astonishing powers for individuals, groups, and our species as a w...


       2018-08-07  1h29m

      George P. Shultz: Perspective

      Perspective? No one has a longer or better-informed view of world affairs and America's role than George Shultz, now 97. (Henry Kissinger is only 95.) Secretary Shultz was a US Marine Captain in World War II. After becoming an economics professor at MIT and the University of Chicago he served the Nixon administration as Secretary of Labor, then director of the Office of Management and Budget, then Secretary of the Treasury. Back in private life by 1974, he led Bechtel Group as executive...


       2018-07-17  1h3m

      Chris D. Thomas: Are We Initiating The Great Anthropocene Speciation Event?

      The bad news (not news to most): Many wild species are under severe duress. The good news (total news to most): “Nature is thriving in an age of extinction.” Ecologist and evolutionary biologist Chris Thomas has examined a little-noticed phenomenon around the world, that as an unintentional byproduct of massive human impact, biodiversity is increasing in pretty much every region of the world. Evolution has sped up. Wild populations are on the move, sometimes in response to climate cha...


       2018-06-20  1h40m

      Benjamin Grant: Overview: Earth and Civilization in the Macroscope

      Advance tickets for this Seminar are sold out. There will be a limited number of released tickets starting at 6:30pm, please come to the ticket tables in the theater lobby to inquire if any are available. Doors to the theater open at 7:00pm. Civilization is both astonishing and astonishingly various when viewed from slightly above. Not so far above as to be lost in planetary context, but just high enough to see a fascinating thing whole, entire, intensely peculiar and informative. The glory...


       2018-05-23  1h21m

      Kishore Mahbubani: Has the West Lost It? Can Asia Save It?

      In Kishore Mahbubani’s view, global power is shifting from the West to the Rest—from Europe and North America to Asia and Africa. He argues that changes will be required both in the West and the Rest to manage the shift gracefully for long-term stability. The rest of the world has learned a great deal from the West. Now it is the West’s turn to learn and to dispel some of its myths about the new world order. Singaporean diplomat and scholar Kishore Mahbubani served as his nation’s Ambassa...


       2018-04-24  1h31m

      Steven Pinker: A New Enlightenment

      The Enlightenment worked, says Steven Pinker. By promoting reason, science, humanism, progress, and peace, the programs set in motion by the 18th-Century intellectual movement became so successful we’ve lost track of what that success came from. Some even discount the success itself, preferring to ignore or deny how much better off humanity keeps becoming, decade after decade, in terms of health, food, money, safety, education, justice, and opportunity. The temptation is to focus on the d...


       2018-03-14  1h32m

      Michael Frachetti: Open Source Civilization and the Unexpected Origins of the Silk Road

      Travel the ancient Silk Road with an archaeologist researching a revolutionary idea. Nomadic pastoralists, far from being irrelevant outliers, may have helped shape civilizations at continental scale. Drawing on his exciting field work, Michael Frachetti shows how alternative ways of conceptualizing the very essence of the word “civilization” helps us to recast our understanding of regional political economies through time and discover the unexpected roots and formation of one of the wor...


       2018-02-27  1m

      Charles C. Mann: The Wizard and the Prophet

      Civilization’s health hangs on how we manage food, water, energy, and climate. Two conflicting visions dominate how we think about them. Each vision had an original creator and exemplar—the “prophet” William Vogt, author of Road to Survival, and the “wizard” Norman Borlaug, mastermind of The Green Revolution in agriculture. The prophet says to repent and cut back on everything; the wizard says that clever enough innovation can always find a way forward. Examine both visionaries and their ...


       2018-01-23  1h27m