10,000 Year Clock

by Amna Ansari


10,000 Year Clock Model – Photo Via The Long Now Foundation

This idea for multi-millennial clock was envisioned by computer scientist Danny Hillis in the mid 1990s, and the idea spearheaded by The Long Now Foundation, which focused on human progress and ‘long-term thinking’ for the next 10,000 years, and continues to today.

An impressive project, as the Stonehenge itself is approximately 4,000 years old. This clock, which is to have an accuracy of only being off by 1 day in 20,000 years, will mark different lengths every, day, year, and a sound every 1,000 years for the next 10,000 years.  The MIT Technology Review explains how the clock will measure time for this long.

Recently in November of 2012, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos, revealed that he is  funding the clock’s construction, with $42 million of his own money.   There is no clear completion date, but the construction has began in the Sierra Diablo Mountain Range in Texas.

Whether the clock gets built or even works is not what grabs my attention necessarily (although it would be great if it is completed during my lifetime). For myself, the concept of the clock alone is pretty powerful.  To think about the progress of human civilization and its continuation in the next 10,000 years rather than predict what will happen in the next 30-100 years, actually grounds me to reality and locates me spatially in what I know is abstract concept of time.