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Stewart Brand:I'm Stewart Brand. This seminar about Long-term thinking is brought to you by the Long Now Foundation. If you would like to see high quality videos of the talks in the series including this one, they're available online for Long Now members at longnow.org [Applause] Danny Hillis:Good evening. Brian Eno is an artist in so many genres. I had to write them down. He's a musician. He's a composer. He invented ambient music. He's a producer of all the great albums youve ever seen. He's an installation artist whose worked all over the world. He's a political activist and I would say, not a right-winger. He's an author. He's been a Long Now board member from the beginning. He named the foundation and the clock Long Now. 10 years ago, the occasion for tonight, he was the first sole speaker. He co-designed with Danny Hillis and they're still working on the chimes for the 10,000-year clock. He came and did an installation piece called 77 million paintings. And he's now working on the salon opens for a museum and bar and office and everything else thrown together at Fort Mason. He will be doing the music and visuals for that place. So in a sense, you could say that one of Brian Enos genres is Long Now. Danny Hillis is an incredibly prolific adventurer. Yes, massive parallel processing, which is the way competition happens. Whenever you use your smartphone with this gesture, Danny invented that. The Metaweb, which made Google Search intelligent as well as brilliant. It was bought by Google and makes your Google Search sensible. He came up with the concept of Proteomics, which is a way to basically use massive data to the body to eventually cure cancer, why not. What's interesting is that he's prolific and he's fast. He's gone through so many inventionsthis is a tiny sample he just went through. Dozens, hundreds, patternsbut one invention just keeps going on. 20 years ago, he started inventing the 10,000-year clock along now and he just keeps inventing it. Was it a difficult problem? Was it an interesting problem? What is it that would make a musician or an inventor keep bearing down on one body of creativity? Tonight, well find out, Brian Eno, Danny Hillis. [Applause] Brian Eno:Good evening. The piece of music you heard was played for a reason actually. Danny and I have been on one of our road trips for the past few days. Every year or two, we go for a drive in the desert where he drives and I sit and listen to him talk. [Chuckles] No, it's not exactly like that. We have long conversations and the little box in the front of the car keeps saying, Make a legal U-turn as soon as possible because we consistently get lost. Even we though we have two GPS systems in the car, we dont pay attention to either of them. But weduring these trips, we talk about what were thinking about and what I'm thinking about at the moment is a new record that I'm just finishing of which that is the last track. As you can hear, that track is quite long and I kept thinking as I was listening to it in the car, this should be longer. It already got expanded quite a lot. It started at the end out as eight bars long. And it's now about 120 bars long and I need it needs to double or so. And I was thinking as I was doing that, why am I wanting to make it so long? Why do I want it to be that long? And I guess it's because I dont want there to be any mistakethat thats what I meant to do. I dont want somebody to think that I just accidentally made it long. [Laughter] Brian Eno:But I wasnt paying attention or I forgot to do an edit or something like that. I wanted it to be very clear that it is meant to be a long piece of music that sort of stays in the same place for a long time. So I was thinking about that and thinking about how commitment is something that you register in a piece of work. You register what somebody has committed themselves to. And I remember back to the time when I first heard about the clock, about Dannys clock. I already knew Danny then but not very well, and Stewart told me about this idea for a clock. And my first though was, well, why would you go to all the trouble of building a thing like that? It's a very complicated problem, you know, to try to imagine something thats going to last for 10,000 years, with all the things that could happen to the world in that time. And I was thinking, why would you bother to do that? Though I sort of liked the idea too. But I was thinking, why don't you just sort of spread the rumor that you have actually done it. [Laughter] Brian Eno:Sort of save yourself a lot of trouble either. But then over the years, I started thinking, no it was actually important to do it to actually try to realize this thing was part of the message to try to actually make it become real, and to be faced with all the difficulties of doing was part of what the thing was about. So not being Virtual was part of it. We were talking about virtuality and virtualization. And this wonderful theory byI think it'shis name is Jeffrey Miller is it, or Gregory Miller. I can't remember the mans name, who theorized that the reason weve never hear from any other cultures in the universe was not because they didn't exist but because a certain level of development, all cultures got lost in their own ability to virtualize experiences. So basically ended up eating and masturbating and not bothering to communicate with anyone else. So virtualization is something that we do, and it's a sort of internalization of experience. And I think part of this was the one to externalize something. Sorry darling. [Laughter] Brian Eno:Anyways, so about almost 20 years ago now. The Long Now Foundation started and of course Danny and his clock were at the center of that. So maybe you'll start by telling the audience a little bit about that. Danny Hillis:It occurs to me that getting lost to something that we actually do it very well together. Brian Eno:Yeah, were very good at losing ourselves. Danny Hillis:Yeah, the reason the GPS is always saying to turn around is because we get in to a conversation and several times weve gone hundreds of miles out of our way. I remember particularly the trip up from San Francisco to Monterey where we ended up in Sacramento. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:The whole time, the GPS telling us to please make the next legal U-turn. But thats actually kind of a metaphor though because there's another thing that happened on these trails, which isbecause we usually dont start off these trips with any place in particular in mind that were going and we just have some time set aside. And the GPS is actually very good for giving you instructions to get to some place and that little map can kind of show you where your next left turn is and somewhat. But generally, we actually have no idea where were going. And so what usually happens is after a couple of days of sort of frustratingly looking at this little tiny map, we finally get discouraged and we go over by the side of the road and we find somebody who sells a big paper map. And this sort of moment where we open up the map of Nevada or Arizona or something and all of the sudden, it sort of feels like were in this much bigger world that we got out of that little world of the GPS and were in this. And there are all these places that we will never go and, you know, that reallyin some sense were notit's not that useful to navigate by that somehow there's a sense of relief of were in this bigger context and all the possibilities of where we might go or where we could go. In a sense, I think thats what the Long Now Foundation is for. It's that sort of that in time of all of the normal things that we do or kind of like the GPS. We have a goal and we have little instructions to turn left and right and thats our normal mode of thinking is that little view to get some place. And everyday we do that and it's really nice to have some excuse to kind of step back and look at a much bigger space and kind of imagine all the places that we might go even if were not going to. And so the Long Now Foundation I think is really an excuse to do that and sometimes I think we slip in with toto the Long Now Foundation, I think we slip in to coming across as if were trying to convince people to think longer term. But I dont think it's that prescriptive. I think it's actually much more an excuse for us to be able to have a conversation thats a different kind of conversation than we normally have. And you know, for example, these trips we go on and I think many of the activities along now get us in to different kinds of conversation. So I'm hoping thats what will happen tonight is well have one of these kind of Long Now-ish conversations. Maybe not quite like the ones we do on the road trip because those often have like an hour that goes by while we think about something the other says without saying anything. Brian Eno:After an hour, we actually dont agree. [Laughter] Brian Eno:Yeah, it's like a very slow chess game. It's fun if you're doing it. Danny Hillis:Yeah, nevermind, I take that back. I was wrong. But this notion of a conversation I think is kind ofin some sense, I'm starting to see it as one of the greatest possibilities we have to contribute to the future is if we cans start a thread of conversation. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:Maybe a different Brian Eno:Yeah, so one of the things Iwhen I talk about art and about the practice of art, I often use the word Conversation because I think that you never see a piece of art on its own. You never see it free from the rest of the conversation that you know to date. So if you look at a painting and youve looked at lot of paintings as most of us have. You look at that painting in relation to that conversation of paintings. So were constantly engaged in conversation. And what you see when you look at a new painting is the similarities and differences to all the other paintings youve seen. So some paintings of course are completely meaningless out of that kind of context, you know, if you think of Kazimir Malevichs White on White. Its hardly a picture actually if you think about it. But it is an important picture in relation to the history of painting until that point. Danny Hillis:You know about my white on white paintings? I actually have my bones removed and replaced with titanium and then I grind up the-- Brian Eno:To make that white. Danny Hillis:Yeah, and I make the white pigment out of my own bones. Brian Eno:Yeah, thats very old-fashioned actually. [Laughter] Brian Eno:I mean, my white on white paintings are really there because I'm a Zen Buddhist and they represent for me nothingness. So I think nothing is much more important than your bones actually. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Well, I was talking about my old ones. My new onesI actually, I buy Dutch Masters at auctions at a tremendous cost and I paint them over with white acrylic. And the art world is completely scandalized by this. Brian Eno:Yeah, yeah. Thats a very good idea though. Funnily enough, I bought one of yours and painted it over white. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:I know. I actually met a loving recreation of that but I hang it upside down. Brian Eno:But lately, I mean, all this kind of conceptual art is fun but I've gone figurative lately and I'm now painting snow scenes. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Very retro of you. Brian Eno:Yes. But they're accurate. They're perfectly white. In fact, I'll show you one later. I've got a few examples here. In fact, I can just hold one up for the audience to see. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Oh right. Brian Eno:Have you seen that one before? Danny Hillis:Actually, it's very funny because mine, I did the same thing much smaller but a big border around it. [Laughter] Brian Eno:I like it. I like the border idea. [Laughter] Brian Eno:Back to the more serious issue of this evening however. So what interest me is how cultural objects like white paintings and so on help us form our notions about things. And Stewart Brand who introduced us was very alert to that when in the late 60s I guess it was or the early 70s, he started a campaign to releasefor NASA to release the picture of the whole earth, the first picture of the earth taken from space. And the point about an image like that is that it changes the way you think about things. So the clock of the Long Now is really supposed to be that kind of mythic metaphorical presence. Something that would make you think differently perhaps. And I have an example of how powerful this can be aboutI don't know. Nearly 20 years ago, I went to the British museum. I had a friend working there who was the curator of the Egyptian department, and he said, You should come sometime and look downstairs because weve got tons of stuff in the basement that we never show. And indeed the basement of the British museum snake out under a large part of London and they're filled with the antiquities that we successfully looted from Egypt over a period of several hundred years. And he took me around. There were shelves and shelves of dusty artifacts. And on one shelf, there was a tiny little bronze casting, not more than an inch and half long, and it was of a mother cat feeding four kittens. And this was done with incredible precision and care and real love, you know, and it was 4,000 years old. And looking at that thing, I suddenly knew more about the Egyptians than in all the reading I've ever done because I suddenly realized, here was a people who, 4,000 years ago were fond of pets. Could have the loving relationship with a pet in the way that we used to doing. This is something we tend not to imagine about people 4,000 years ago. So in that one object, I think I had more of a feeling for Egyptian culture than all of the huge things I've seen, the pyramids and the Sekhmets and the Vezier of Memphis and so on. And sometimes I think an object, once in its existence can have that affect on you and thats what works. I think. And so I think the way we think about the clock now is possibly more as a work of art than as a functioning machine, although it is a functioning machine or will be. And of course, Danny-- Danny Hillis:I think of it more as a functioning machine. ButI mean, I don't know exactlyI mean, if by art, you mean, the conversation, yeah, I suppose its a conversation piece. Brian Eno:Yeah, it's a conversation piece. So it's sort of really meant to introduce a conversation I think. Its there and it starts you talking about it. I mean, what I notice when I talk to people about the clock is they say, well, thats pretty daft idea. I mean, how can you know what's going to happen in 3,000 or 5,000 years time. And of courseand then we stop talking about that and after a little while they realize that they are starting to do something theyve never done before very often which is to think about the distant future. So it does start the conversation. Danny Hillis:Should we actually try it? Talk a little. And the interesting thing about trying to talk over that timeframe of course is that you can'tyou really can't imagine it but trying to is funthere are a few kind of standard imaginations in the future of a really long timeframe. One of which is the kind of earth becomes a garden and there's poets and artists and things who are all watched over by machines of loving grace kind of the robots taking care of them and-- Brian Eno:And then the other ones the road. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Yeah. So thats the one where we sort of failed to solve. So there's one of themone end, these sort of utopias where we imagine, we solve all of our problems completely and then our biggest problem was boredom. And the other end of spectrum is thatwe imagine we dont solve our problems and we somehow failed to end up with the road or Mad Max or, you know, some dystopia of everything falling apart. Thats the one that seems to be more popular in science fiction these days. And actually, my guess is that, the truth is probably neither of those, that probablyif you look backwards what's happened is, humanity has always had new challenges and always kind of risen to the occasion, met those challenges and not meeting those challenges was living and then by the time they met those, they were moreso you have a series of challenges. My assumption is actually that that's probably what the next 10,000 years are going to be like. Were going to have lots of challenges. They're going to be really big problems like global warming and well figure out ways of solving those and there will be probably social challenges. I think weve got a huge one coming off of for instance, distribution of wealth. I just read that the 85 richest people in the world actually own half the wealth in the world. So, you know, thats clearly something thatI dont think thats a stable situation. [Laughter] Brian Eno:It's a good guess, yeah. Danny Hillis:So there are challenges like that but were going to have to figure out ways of setting things up, ways of relating to each other, ways of, you know, having our culture, our economic systems, our political systems, things like that-- Brian Eno:Well, a lot of what will happen in the future depends on what people expect to be about to happen. So I think it's makes a huge difference if you think that you live in a time where the graph is going up as we did in the 60s or in a time where the graph is going down as it seems my daughters generation toI mean, generally, they dont seem to expect things to be better. They dont seem to expect that theyll be able to just float on a cloud and probably find a job if they're lucky and not bother if they're not. So to me, it seems to be at the moment, there's a kind of expectation that things are getting slightly worse, not dramatically but slightly worse. I think if people start to think that things are going to get much worse, then a very dangerous feedback spirals thoughts. A kind of, you know, the survivalistthe good example of this, people who think that the future is self-defense and making a safe corner for yourself and fighting everybody else off. That is not a generous future. So one of the reasons this is important to think about actually is to try to se whether thats realistic as a future picture. Whether in fact we can come up with a slightly more upbeat one. Danny Hillis:When I grew up, I have this universal assumption was everything was getting better and we werepeople, I think in retrospect were pretty nave about it but actually, things in many ways did get a lot better. Things like civil rights and certainly economically, you know, I was better off than my parents were and they were better off than their parents were and so on. In many ways, I mean, there were unintended side effects that people werent paying attention too much. But, you know, there was definitely a trend and then, people were worried then about sort of running out of the frontier but the assumption was that space would be the new frontier and I knowyou and I disagree about this. You're sort of giving your side of this but Brian Eno:Yeah, my feeling is that I can't imagine why anybody would anybody would even want to live on the moon or on Mars or any other planet. I just can't imagine it. I think it's unthinkably a daft idea, you know. We have to be very well adapted to this one and really badly adapted to any of those. Danny Hillis:So I think the short term thinking in that is that you assume that who we are sort of stays the same. Brian Eno:Yeah, okay. Danny Hillis:And so, you know, now that we have-- Brian Eno:But how quickly can we evolve? Danny Hillis:Well, now that we have the ability. I mean, one of the big game changers. I mean, there are a fewwere alive at a very exciting time because we have three big game changers. One of which is globalization, suddenly wherethats the whole earth we are one world. One of which are computers obviously. But the other one is synthetic biology. We have the ability to manipulate physically what we are too. So, you know, while I probably wouldnt want to live in Venus in this body, I could imagine adapting myself so that I would want to live on Mars, and on Mars, might just love skiing on Mt. Olympus and you know, going out and having a breath of the fresh Martian atmosphere. Brian Eno:Yes, there are people who have pioneer spirits I guess. A lot of them came here of course. But us who didn't come here [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Dont you think over the 10,000-year timeframe, were going to do things like that? Brian Eno:Yes, in that timeframe I think. Danny Hillis:And surely well build starships and you know, there are probably planets out there that are much more earth-like than Mars is. And even that takes a long time to get there, you can imagine, you know, solving the technical problemsso, to me it does seem pretty inevitable that we probablyearth is just our starting point. Brian Eno:Yes. If I told this story to my daughters who are both very eco, they would say, Thats just an excuse for not dealing with the problems on this planet. Were just going to go fuck another one. Excuse me. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Well, thats what your daughters would say. Brian Eno:I heard it's a very nice expression. Danny Hillis:It's okay. Its in quotes. Brian Eno:It's in quotes. Yeah, somebody said, Fuck is the duct tape of the English language. [Laughter] Brian Eno:But if you think about the future people and you try to think of the sort of axis on which theyll dispose their thinking. So throughout the Cold War, wetheoretically, the discussion that we were having was, should be communists or should be capitalists. So thats a discussion that America is thinking has been successfully and satisfactory resolved. But not everybody agrees. But there are lots of similar discussions like that. There are the optimists and there are the pessimists. Danny Hillis:Well, there are the planners and the improvisers. Brian Eno:Planners and improvisers, yes. The libertarians and the statists shall we say. People who believe that as little government as possible is the best thing and people who believe that government or politics is essential. So there are lots of possible long-term arguments that will go on in the future. And of course these things aren't exclusively cut across each other in funny ways. Sorry Danny Hillis:Its kind of an interesting question, but it's clearly thewhen I grew up, the We we talked about was Americans. And now, as I got older, the We, I mean, I think a lot of discussion, the We we talked about for instance thathas the global warming problem is the world or at least. But althoughyou know, when we talk about we responding, it's the west. It's the rich countries and you know, there's maybe another We in China and maybe Africa is another one. But theyve gotten to be smaller and smaller in numbers, sort of bigger units. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:And so, the question is, are we ever going to get to the point where there's a single world We that we have alldo these axis sort of necessarily imply the vision? Brian Eno:Yes. I think that there'sthere's a sort of basic engine within humans to create a distinction always. So as soon as there is something that seems to be consolidating into a single vision, there's going to be power in distinction in making another one in opposition to it. Danny Hillis:So, I agree with that, but I think one of the things thats changed is that it used to be that we sort of did the We thing by connecting it to a piece of territory. And so it was really the people that grew up around you tend to have a similar religion as yoursthey eat similar foods. They had a similar political framework and so when you have these arguments about say, capitalism versus communism, they were associated but geographicnation states. And nation states where ways of organizing things around physical borders. And so theyyou did everything in one place. So in France, you spoke French and eat French food and you know, have a French culture and French politics and so on. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:And obviouslywell, obviously to me, were moving away from that is the only organizing principle. Should you imagine even nation states are going to be around thousands of years from now? Brian Eno:Well, I think thats a really interesting question because they now have a very serious competitor anyway in the form of corporations, you know. We now have corporations that are international and sort of dispose themselves at will across nations states of their choice. And they're becoming very powerful as with everybody knows a sort of governmental forces as well, and that they can make governments behave to a certain extent how they want. Danny Hillis:There's a kind of natural tendency of things to organize themselves in to larger units. Like, for instance, single-cell organisms, organizing the cells in a multi-cell organisms or people organizing in to societies. That is kind of, I think a trend of information processing. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:It just does that. And I used to wonder what it would feel like to be kind ofif we were the single-cells of kind of this group mind emerging, and one of the things I realized about it is, one thing about it is, it wouldnt necessarily have exactly the same goals as you And you would influence it but it sort of seem to have a life of its own. And actually, I think thats sort of what corporations feel like. That really, they dont have the same goals as any of the people. In some sense, they have the goals of the employees, the goals of the owner, of the goals of the customersyou know, kind of a mix of all of those people influenced what the corporation does. But in the very real sense, the corporation is a kind of group mind that has a will of its own that maybe different than the wills of any of the people. Brian Eno:Yeah. But dont you think also that just as there's a tendency for things to agglomerate and become bigger and bigger and bigger. There's still always an advantage to the small, fast unit. Because the things that become bigger and bigger and bigger, tend to become slower and slower as well. They have much more inertia. They can't change quickly. So they can control a lot of things but they dont deal with the future as well. Danny Hillis:Thats true, but now we have a different way of doing things because now we can be part of lots of different things. So I can be part of manyI dont want to call them communities because they're sort of one-dimensional. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:But in some sense, I can be part of Long Now and I could also have a religion or I can also, you know, be a part of a certain scientific community. And those are ways of kind of fractionating, but I'm fractionating me is what I'm saying. I'm not making the communities smaller. Each of those can be very big communities. I'm not sure our brains are really designed that way. Our brains are clearly more designed for the small village of a fewthe tribe, right. Brian Eno:And certainly we seem towe seem to always want to put things together into that small number that we can handle. Danny Hillis:And in fact if you look at tribes, I think, if you're an anthropologist, have studied modern tribes, see if there's are things that happens. Once you get a group that gets more than about 200 people, it does tend to split off like it. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:Some division develops within the group and it sort of splits. Brian Eno:Yeah. Well, there was a very interesting survey done by this German magazine called Der Stern about 25 years ago. Der Stern interviewed people in 38 countries, quite a large sample in each of those countries in a well-chosen sample. And they asked them, a couple of very simple questions. They said, Are you happy? and Do you think your life will be fulfilled? And the twowell, of the list of 38, the country that came bottom was West Germany, which at that time was the richest economic power or the most thriving in the world actually. It was really doing very well at that point in time. The countries that came top were Northern Island and South Africa. Northern Island was in the middle of just about the worst period and South Africa was in the middle of the part tide struggles. And Der Stern was having trouble trying to explain this resolve. It seemed very anomalous. But it occurred to me that perhaps what people really value is knowing who their friends and enemies are. There's a certain security in knowing perfectly well that his persons on your side and you really need each other, and those people aren't. Of course the West Germans were the most ambiguous of all people in that respect because they didn't dare have any enemies. They were so embarrassed by their past that they wouldnt take a stand against anybody. Danny Hillis:Does the enemy have to be another set of people or could be an external challenge? Brian Eno:Well, I think it could be an external challenge and I think it has been sometimes in the past. That people have suddenly stood against something and it may beagain, that will happen with, you know, our response to climate change that perhaps if things get really bad will suddenly realize that we have a real enemy. Danny Hillis:Or maybe the Martians-- Brian Eno:Yes. Well, states like to have enemies in a certain respect because if you have an enemy, you're allowed to have a command economy and even democratic states would secretly like to have a command economy. It's much easier to run things. Danny Hillis:So that feels to me like, I mean, I think it's true of the history of the world but I bet it's not true of the future of the world. So I think were already starting to organize things in different ways other than by enemy. Brian Eno:Well, I hope so. Danny Hillis:And I think-- Brian Eno:What do you think others ways is? Danny Hillis:Well, actuallyso, I think that there isthere's a kind of international culture that isnt kind of global culture. And then there is fundamentalism of all sorts. Is the enemyor the people that are organizing themselves by that being the enemy. Brian Eno:Yes, what we call the Switch-it Offists these are the people who want to switch it off. Danny Hillis:Yeah, so if you're a fundamentalist Christian or a Muslim and you really believe that youve got it down the way the world should be, then in fact, that kind of international global culture really is ais a real threat to the way that you think life should be lived. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:And it is the enemy. So that becomes an organizing principle for those people. Brian Eno:Yeah, yeah. Danny Hillis:So were in a time I think where we have the islands of people of have very effectively organized themselves against the enemy of global culture. And maybe I guess global culture has it so effectively organize itself and yet, it does seem to be thriving I think. Brian Eno:Well, it seems to absorb all its enemies quite easily. You know, thrives by just being tempting. Danny Hillis:The Borg. Brian Eno:Yeah, it's a nice alternative. Danny Hillis:Well, thats actually another possible view of the future aside from science fiction, is that we do somehow merge together in some world mind that doesnt have any enemies and the Borg thing in Star Trek, which I always felt-- Brian Eno:What is it? The Borg? Danny Hillis:Borg. Brian Eno:The singer, Bjork? [Laughter] Brian Eno:She in Star Trek, is she? I got to see that one. Danny Hillis:You know what I'm talking about. But you know, it's a little bitof course thats meant to be a horrifying idea. But in some sense, they seem sort of happy. Brian Eno:Yes. Villains always seem to have quite a good time. Its what they say in Ireland, they will get all the good songs. Danny Hillis:But they're not really even villains if you sort of think that, you know, they sort of like this group mind. They're more missionary. Brian Eno:Yes, yes. Well, of course, the concept of villainy is also very interesting. As we discover more and more of the peoples behavior is kind of the result of how they're built, you know. Men with double Y chromosomes are much more likely to be violent and in fact, prison populations have sort of 20 times number of double Y chromosome people in the prisons than outside of the prisons. I kind of wonder about that whether we find out that more and more the things that we have in the past criminal lies to simply the result of whatever chemicals you happen to have running around in you, no fault of your own. So what happens then to the idea of justice or legal sanction of some kind? Do we just think well, poor guy, he's bound to be violent. Let's build him a nice place where he won't hurt anybody but he won't be punished. Is that a future do you think that we stop thinking of good people and bad people or good and bad things at all. And we simply think of things that we want to avoid and things that we want to embrace. Danny Hillis:Yeah. I guess for example one thing, you know, the chemicals running around in you won't be no fault of your own, because you'll have-- Brian Eno:In the future, you'll have a choice-- Danny Hillis:You'll have choice of it. You'll have control of it. Brian Eno:Well, in one future. Danny Hillis:In one future, yeah. But I don't know. I dontI think there are somecertainly they're sociopaths and things like that but I guess I believe less and less in kind of good people and bad people in normal life. I mean, extremes aside, you know, mentally I'll people aside. I think there are people that have ideas that are in conflict with your ideas and goals that are in conflict with your goals. So ultimately, I think a lot of successful society is in finding sort of system of dealing with those conflicts of political system. So I think probably a lot of designing the future is designing the political system of the future. Brian Eno:Which of course is not a popular pursuit in this part of the world. Danny Hillis:No, it's something people have almost given up on. I think people listen, the democracy is the, you know, one person one vote is thein all the political systems. I think it's actually-- Brian Eno:I think further than that, people in California in particular assume that politics is no longer really at all cool to even think about but it's sort ofit's an old story-- Danny Hillis:Yeah, the discussion on politics comes down to sort of a almost gossip about its personality of the people that are doing things but there's almost no discussion about the actual structure of the political system. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:And yet it's clear that thats why it's not working. It's notyou can put really probably the best people in the world in to the current system that we have and they would almost certainly act badly because they would have to, to stay in office. So somehow weve constructed a systemif you go back toto which I know you're a fan of himactually go back to the federalist papers. The thing people were really worried about in the early days of American democracy was the tyranny of the majority and the fear that 51% of the people would impose their will on 49%. But actually what's happened partly because of corporations and partly because of concentrations of wealth is the tyranny of the minority. It's people who have special interest and have some ability to get votes either by arousing emotions or spending money that you can basically get a law passed that has banned for almost everybody but good for you. It's only been since it's a little bit bad for everybody. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:And so we have a political system now where thats really the norm. Almost every piece of legislation that gets passed really is compromised by that effect, and I dont hear much serious discussion about, you know, how we could build a different system where that didn't happen, in a world that does have corporations and does have very wealthy people. Brian Eno:Yeah. Yeah, well, yes, in a world that doesnt assume were going to just push it all away and start again, which isnt going to happen, you know, we dont have the option of starting from scratch, so we have to start from here. Danny Hillis:We agree with Stewart that when we have about 10 minutes left, he's going to cue us, and I think that might have been [Laughter] Danny Hillis:Because we wantedthere was one thing we want to be sure that we got to talk about, which was how the bells works. Brian Eno:Oh yes, yes. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:So thats our 10-minute signal talking about this. But-- Brian Eno:I bet I put this on. Danny Hillis:When wewhen I first came to Brian even before the foundation started and said, Hey, I'm building this clock. Would you help me figure out what sound it should make when it chimes? Brian discovered this remarkableI was thinking about it and said, Well clearly make a different chime every time it Brian Eno:Yeah, so were talking about 10,000 years and I realize that if you have 10 bells, they were about the number of permutations of 10 bells as there are days in 10,000 years. It's 3,628,800 permutations of 10 bells. So I thought, that would be lovely if you had 10 bells and every single day in those 10,000 years has its unique appeal. So we worked on that basis and I asked Danny if he could think ofcome up with an algorithm that would generate those 10,000 unique permutationssorry, 3,628,800 permutations. So he came up with an algorithm, which he will tell you about it. Danny Hillis:And in fact, it's the mechanism in the clock and you saw pictures of this earlier Brian Eno:Sorry, I need to put another light on-- Danny Hillis:Can we see that? I think, yeah. I know we shouldnt push buttons. Brian Eno:Can you see that? Danny Hillis:Well, thats a little counter in the clock. Actually, let me just describe the algorithm. Brian Eno:It's very high tech stuff. Were right at the cutting edge of Danny Hillis:Okay. So, imagine the 10 bells are going to ring. So you sort of have 10 positions, which Ive illustrated, by 10 circles. So there's the first bell, the second bell and so on. What you want is every combination, every sequence of bells happening in 10,000 years. So let's say our first bell, which happens to be the C bell, which is [Making sounds] let's say it's in the third position. So what we want to do is well leave that in the third position for say, a thousand years. And after a thousand years, we move it to the next position and after a thousand years, we move it to the next position and so on. So you can see over 10,000 years it gets to be in every position. And then, what well do is well take the nextwell take the next bell, the D bell that has 8 placesthat has 9 places to be. So we move it through each of those 9 positions during those thousand years. So about oncea little bit more than once a century it will move. And then the E bell has 8 positions. So it will move through those about once a decade. So it willand then so on. So each bell moves more rapidly. And so by the time you get to the last couple of bells, the last position is moving everyday. So actually this is a nice picturethis is Brians album cover, but you can kind of see-- Brian Eno:This is the peel of bells for the month of January 7003. So each color represents a bell. Danny Hillis:So you can see that these bells stay in the same position and actually this I think would be the C bell. But the higher bells are moving around in position. In fact, the two highest bells always change position everyday. And so, what you need to do is basically count through. So the one bell has to count through 10 different possible positions. The next bell has to count through 9 different possible positions. The next one counts through 8 and so on. So what these mechanism that you see in the clock are, this is just one of them or counters. Actually maybe, show the little physical model of thing. So for instance, this would be the bell that has to count through 6 different positions would have a little thing in it like this. So every time the bell that counts through 5 positions counts through 5. It rotates around and advances that counter. And then there would be another one. This would be connected to one that has 7 positions and that would be connected to one that has 8 positions and so on. So thats the basic mechanism thats there inside the clock, and it produces the sequence that the clock actually plays andof course the clock will only play, you know, one thing in the sequence every time you visit it at noon. So if you climb up to the mountain and go inside the mountain for there at noon, you'll hear the sequence of 10 bells. But we shouldcan we play the Brian Eno:Yes, we should tell them actually that this isnt fictional. This actually does exist now. This is being built. Danny Hillis:These things are about 8 feet in diameter in the real thing. So Brian Eno:No, not plastic, no. Danny Hillis:They're made of stainless steel and titanium and things like that? Brian Eno:What? No, itll last 10,000 years. They should do. I mean, stainless steel is pretty durable, isnt it? Danny Hillis:Yeah. It really ought to last for 10,000 years every part of the clock. Every part of the clock that moves for example, weve tested the motion of it for 10,000 years worth of motion. So the part that moves most often is for instance, you know, the pendulum but, you know, the bearings inside of it and things like that. So weve really tested all of those things and, you know. Unless somebody comes and deliberately destroys it, it will last 10,000 years and keep going and still have the correct time after 10,000 years. And everyday, if you actually go to the trouble of going out to the desert and climbing up the mountain and go through those tunnels that you saw in the slides made and climb up the spiral staircase, just cut in the shaft and go pass the machinery and climb up in the clock chamber at noon, then when the sun goes overhead at noon, the light will shine in to the clock chamber and it will adjust itself and the chimes will come on. Brian Eno:So this, just to explain briefly before we play this. These are not bells, they're synthetized bells and I was experimenting with the idea of making bells with particular properties that most bells dont really have and in fact, since doing this, we have found a bell maker who is making bells with very unusual properties. He can specify the sets of harmonics that they have. So what you're about to hear doesnt really sound like any bells youve ever heard before and it probably doesnt sound like any bells that will ever exist. It's more sort of proof of concept of this idea of permutating 10 bells. So you can play that please. [Bells ringing] Brian Eno:I was hoping to show the cover. Danny Hillis:Stewart, do you have some questions for us? Brian Eno:This is for sale in the lobby by the way. And all proceeds benefit Long Now Foundation. [Applause] Brian Eno:So these are questions from the audience as filled in by Stewart. Stewart Brand:I'm looking for a kind of a rowdy one because this has been a little secret sounding lately. [Laughter] Stewart Brand:Yeah, here's a rowdy one. Either one of you can answer it. I can't tell if it's runes or hieroglyphs or what Danny Hillis:It's a piece of art. So actually, one we question we have from Kevin Kelly. You guys have been collaborating and conversing and having these road trips for quite a while now. And a legitimate question is, what have you learned from each other in a sense generically. Kevin asks Danny, are you more artistic from collaborating with an artist and are you more Scientific from collaborating from a scientist and inventor. Brian Eno:Well, thats a good question. I mean, one of the things thatDanny asked a very interesting question a few years ago, which was one that had been bothering me as well. He was asked by John Brockland as were a number of other people to come up with the question that most interested him as a scientist. He said, why do people do music? And if you think about that question, thats a profoundly interesting question. Why on earth would we bother to do this or painting or any of the other things? But music is a very mysterious art in general. It's very mysterious why we would bother to get excited about one color against another or one side against another. So weve talked about that quite a lot. Meanwhile, when were driving around, we play records a lot and Danny has discovered that he can sing, which he never knew before. In fact, I tried towell, to some extent I had some success in teaching him how to sing Acapela Gospel. Danny Hillis:Which I will not do now, dont worry. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:But you knowbut actually thatI was going to not use that example but something that fits in with that, which isthere's a kind of attitude about the world about being in the present, which I've learned from you. I've always been very much in the future in my mind, always thinking about the next thing and so on. And one of the things that you do very often is you will just stopwell stop by the side of the road and you'll see, you know, some crumpled up piece of metal thats lying there something like, and you'll just get fascinated by how the shadows or falling on edge or you know. Well spend 15 minutes there looking at it from different angles, or you know, a sound that you hear, you know, a transformer making or something like that. And it made me realize that how little I wasnt in my own body, in my own sense. I think this is partly what an engineering training teaches you to do is sort of abstract away from that and not actuallyand so I think as, you know, if I look even the design of the clock, I really shifted in thinking about where the important things were because even though I kind of wanted it to be about a conversation from the beginning. Mostly I thought about the kind of mechanical things, how would it work, how it would the materials last for 10,000 years and things like that. And I think, more and more I've thought about the important part of it is, what's the experience, what's the feel of it, what's theI mean, thats kind a new way of thinking. Stewart Brand:I think this question is one piece of in a way maybe every 10 years Long Now sort of check in publicly with itself and the world, how are we doing, what's going on, what's changed over this period of time. And so far, it's just the same set of peoplewho are around 10 or 20 years ago. But we aren't the same people anymore. And a fair question do we ask both of you now 20 years older and 20 years of actually astonishingly two easily bored people, bearing down on the same set of design, questions and framings, what's changed over that period of time. You came to us with beginners mind 20 years ago. You dont have beginners mind now, you have some other mind about this. What can you say about what's the difference is? Brian Eno:As Miles said when he was asked what he thought about the French revolutions. It's a bit too soon to say and it does [Cross talk] No, all I know now is that Ithis conversation is one I'm having quite a lot of the time with myself. So Ithe idea of the future is a much longer idea than it used to be. You know, the future for me used to be a decade or two decades I'm might think. And now I often hear people talking about things and I think, yeah, thats true for 10 years, maybe 20 years but what about a hundred? What about a thousand years? So I think there has been a genuine extension and I also Stewart Brand:Is that symmetrical? Is it past the deeper past? Brian Eno:Well, that might be symmetrical actually because I have also become much more interested in the deep past as well, you know. I think at least 50% of what I read is history essentially. Stewart Brand:Danny, are you reaching for back further? Danny Hillis:Certainly about half of what I read is history, thats true. Certainly it gives me a different perspective. When I see something, I mean, you know, when I visited, you know, the GettyI visited and saw this beautiful new building and thought, wow this will make great rubble. [Laughter] Stewart Brand:Albert Speer was ordered to design it that way but I dont feel-- Danny Hillis:Well Brian Eno:Design for the rubble. Stewart Brand:Design for great rubble. How are we different from that? Danny Hillis:I think again, maybe the one thing I've learned about long-term thinking is the difference between long-term planning and long-term thinking. Stewart Brand:Yeah, say more about that. My sense is we learned that at Yucca Mountain. Brian Eno:Yeah, Yucca Mountain is a great example. I guess I dont really believe in long-term planning, which is trying to take a long distance out and control the future for a long distance. So many of our attempts to look at for instance, nuclear waste disposal or things where you basically try to control the situation for 10,000 years. And in some sense, Yucca Mountain has sold us that. But Yucca Mountain, I actually think is a pretty good idea because everything is just sitting there in the can and within a hundred years, people will go in and get those and mine them forit's reversible. So it's really just a 100-year solution that gives you a lot of options for what to do in a hundred years. And so I've started realizing the right Stewart Brand:But we have a lot more politically retractable. To say, were just going to park in here for a hundred years and think about. Danny Hillis:Thats right. And thats indeed where were heading by default or less good 100-year solution. But the idea of creating options seems to be much more valuable than making really long-term plans. Brian Eno:Yes, but the resistance to that of course is that people feel secure with long-term plans and people dont feel secure with the idea that well always be improvising in which I think is something that we have started to come to accept more and more. I mean, we Stewart Brand:Okay. The hacker ethic was to try to make everybody into a hacker, capable ofthe maker movement is doing the same thing. Make everybody into a maker. And in the sense, you would likewith your Acapela and everything elsehelping make lots of people be artist you're making, helping people be inventors. As more and more people are comfortable being that kind of creative, does this kind of improvisational comfort come with it? Brian Eno:Yes. Well, I would hope so. I think it certainly is a trend that I'm seeing. I mean, actually the very interesting book came out in England. I sent you a copy but it hasnt arrived yet. It's by a historian called David Runciman and it's called The Confidence Trap and it's aboutit takes pics up from the top view and talks about democracy and how the sort of take home from the book is that democracy is by nature, messy and improvisatory. And the problems we always have it is that people dont like messy and improvisatory. So they are very drawn to authoritarian solutions because they look so clear. The trains run on time or whatever. So he says, the trains are never going to run on time. Just get used to it. It's always going to be a mess, at the edge of adapting it, the edge of its competence. Danny Hillis:I think that one thing that becomes clear when you look back at history is that they're kind of three different ways that people look at how time evolves and how progress happens. And they ship in importance and dominoes during different periods. So for example, in the west during the middle, during the dark ages, time was thought of as very secluded, that it justyou didn't expect things to be different a thousand years from now. They were pretty much the same as they were when your parents and your parents parents and that was the expectation. [Cross talk] Danny Hillis:Thats right. So thats just a regular circle. In Hinduism it kind of has that idea built in to it. It's just things go around in circles and your job in the world like that is to kind of get with the program and, you know, be part of the cycle, fit in. And then there's another kind of view of time, which is the one that I think has been dominant during most of our lifetimes and the arrow of progress, thats right. Were doing something. So if the cycle is the kind of the picture is. And interesting enough, the music of that time was kind of the cyclical, you know. And the music that sort of corresponds the arrow of progress is kind of the symphony because everythings under control and has a beginning and is headingdeveloping and everybodys following the score and is heading some place and it'sand the factory is kind of the, you know, you put in all kinds of random stuff and then you get out what you want at the end. So it's all very gold directed andit's the everythings getting better kind of point of view that we had growing up that were, you know, were going to conquer space or were going to, you know, just bigger and bigger frontiers. And so thats a kind of...and then what happens with that, then thats the sorts of illusion of control and then you start realizing things aren't quite sort of controlled. And then there's another way of thinking, which is more like Jazz, which is the improvisation, and then basicallyits not so much that were heading some place and it's notbut were not going around in circles either, right? Were kind of going with the flow and your jobso that your job in that kind of world is to be responsive, tuned in, paying attention and I think were heading in to a time where that kind of view of where we are is becoming more of the dominant thing. Were heading out to the progress where mindset and into theI think that the cycle, what happens then is that gets so chaotic that people long for the regularity of the cyclic thing and then, you know, that begins to rise. Stewart Brand:Question from Tanya. Our greatest fear so to speak how finite our time is. How does a clock counteract that sense of an ending and does it help relinquishor recontextualize that fear? Brian Eno:Thats a very nice question. I thinkthat would be wonderful if thats what happened. But I think it does in a way. I think that if you, you know, the origin of that phrase the Long Now, which was an idea I had years ago from when I lived in New York. It was really noticing that in New York where I happen to live, which was downtown in edgy, then edgy, before the bankers moved in. Now, people lived in a very, very confine sense of both here and now. So when they said here, they meant these few blocks. They didn't mean New York City or America. They meant this little area. Their sense of here was very small and their sense of now was very brief. Now, for they meant from the end of last week to the end of this week sort of thing, and I was thinking how a lot of societies have much, much, much more extended sense of now. You know, they think of now, you're actions now resonating in to the distant future and the things you do now being the consequence of things in the distant past. So one of the nice things about that way of thinking, which by the way isnt the only way of thinking and isnt necessarily the best way. It's an alternative. But one of the nice things about it is that you diminish an importance to some extent. Your life is not the primary event in the universe any longer. And I think thats very consoling actually. I think that, death is not such a terrifying thought if life is not so quite soif your life is not quite so precious and the star feature of everything. Stewart Brand:So you both diminish and you also become much bigger because you see yourself as kind of a thread in something much larger? Brian Eno:Yes. Danny Hillis:So, you know, I think I do see myself much more than I ever did is just a little thread in this story of human existence that does go over, you know, many millennia, you know, gone overcertainly it's been going for 10,000 years and I believe it will go for 10,000 more. So you feel a part of something bigger in some sense, the fact that, you know, you're only a little thread of that becomes less important. Stewart Brand:Yeah, you're both talking like old men. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:We are. Stewart Brand:Speaking as an even older man, I recognize the ramp. So in relationif you were to explain along now to a child, what would you say? What would you want the child to know about the Long Now in the sense of time? You both have kids. Theyve been around while you guys have been playing this stuff out, and you seen them be amused or bored or whatever and youve alsoyou both encountered public doingages of public dealing with this stuff. What connects if anything with the very young? Brian Eno:Well, of course I never explain anything like that to my daughters because one of the surest ways of turning kids away from something is toenthusiastically endorse it in their presence. [Laughter] Brian Eno:I was enthusiastically endorsing Stewart Brand:Thats the answer to the question. You dont explain it to a child. [Laughter] Stewart Brand:Okay. That makes sense. Danny? Youyour kids in? [Laughter] Danny Hillis:I think my kids are just more engaged in the fun of the activity of actually building the clock andand to tell you the truth, I think thats mostly how I'm engaged in. You know, these moments to sort of step back and decide what it all means and so on or not the normal thing. Stewart Brand:Right. Danny Hillis:The normal is just sort of getting in there and doing it. Stewart Brand:Okay. Thats great. You basically on a 20-year track that got set a long time ago and the fun in playing it out and of course were already starting to amuse ourselves. What the hell are we going to do in Nevada after the Texas clock is built? Danny Hillis:Right. And then we get in situations like this where you ask us like, you know, why are you doing and where are you heading and then we have to sort of make up answers. Brian Eno:Have to come up with an alibi. Danny Hillis:Right. Stewart Brand:Question from Alex for Danny. The past youve talked about the future getting closer with every year before the year 2000. And when you notice that, the future is shrinking and that set you in the process as an engineer trying to solve the problem. Do you see new horizons forming for society to imagine along now? So what's the year 2000 for a long time? What's it now if anything and sure to be anything. There really was the year 2000. I was there. [Cross talk] you couldnt get anybody to talk about 2003 or just wasactually it was a film. Danny Hillis:I dont sense another natural barrier coming up. I think that the global warming thing though is everybody sort of fear of the end and some stuff. And I dont think people think passed that. So I thinkso there's a timescale that sort of setfind out just a few centuries. And I do hear people now talking about that timescale. Stewart Brand:Yeah, I've done that too. It's a century-sized problem. Danny Hillis:Right. I dont hear people talking much passed that timescale of life with the assumption that we get that solved much. So that maybe is setting the bound of the current conversation. Stewart Brand:What do you hear, Brian? Brian Eno:Well, I hear quite a few people talking about the singularity as though it issomething thats going to happen. And I'm agnostic about it. I sort of doubt that it's going to happen because again, I think well meddle along in the same mess that we always have done. If it does happen, we won't notice it really. It will just happen and well carry on. Maybe it has happened actually. Danny Hillis:Maybe it didn't notice us. Brian Eno:They what? Danny Hillis:Maybe it has happened and it did not notice us. Brian Eno:Right. Stewart Brand:Thats right in there with Georgethere are aliens and they're already here. They're just very small. [Laughter] Stewart Brand:In fact, thats where the singularity went. It's in to these little creatures. Julie Hamwood asks, could you share about a challenge or problem youve had in your life that presented an urgent problem yet you approached it over a lengthy period of time with a long timeframe about it. [Cross talk] Danny Hillis:A personal problem. Stewart Brand:Or a problem that you took personally. You dont have to go completely. Danny Hillis:I mean, of course everyday I do it in designing the clock. I mean, I have Stewart Brand:Right. Danny Hillis:Right. So I ran into the Y10K bug in Microsoft Excel the other day. Stewart Brand:Explain that. [Laughter] Stewart Brand:It will be Microsoft stories for the next 10,000 years. Danny Hillis:No, it just doesnt handle 5-digit year numbers it turns out. Stewart Brand:How did this express himself? Danny Hillis:Well, I'm was building a spreadsheet calculating the position, various years would be in different times, and crashedyeah, did it wrong. I think in the design of the clock certainly everyday I run in to specific things. I mean, for example, the global warming, which is kind of this abstract discussion. If you're designing the synchronization system for the clock where the sun shines down the hole and lights up. You actually have to be able to calculate the altitude of the sun, which means knowing what day it is a certain amount of time from now, which means knowing how fast the earth is spinning. And if the earth warms and the polar ice caps melt, it actually makes a significant difference in how fast the earth is turning. And so you have to buildactually a correction system into the clock because of global warming that actually takes into account the possibility of maybe the ice caps will melt and maybe they won't. Stewart Brand:Question from Ben-- Danny Hillis:Climate change will the clock withstand. So the answer is it will withstand melting of the polar ice caps. Brian Eno:It's very high. It's 6,000 feet up. Danny Hillis:Yeah. It will Stewart Brand:The one in Texas is 6,000 feet? Danny Hillis:Yeah. Stewart Brand:Great. Okay. No problem. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:It's designed for example, handle big changing weather patterns. It doesnt need a sunny day except once every 10 years or so. So it is designed with the assumption that there will be things like volcanic eruptions. You don't get a clear sky for 10 years. It is designed to assume that, you know, the average temperature may get hotter or colder in the area that it is. Were designing it in a desert that, you know, it may get a lot more rainfalls. So were taking that into account. Stewart Brand:So this is prettyits rather wonderful in a way. The clock, by dealing with these problems and invites the people who think about the clock now or visit the clock in a while to engage basically the design process that you had to go through of thinking what kind of stuff happens over the long-term and then how do you invent-- Danny Hillis:We are literally right now talking to the climatology community asking for weather predictions under climate change scenarios for the spot where were building the clock. Stewart Brand:What are you getting? Danny Hillis:Were getting people who have speculations, you know, or things that could happen. Nobody is willing to say this will happen, but were trying to get the range of things that people are saying could happen. Stewart Brand:Okay. Mr. Eno is a Zen Buddhist. How do you reconcile the aims of the 10,000-year clock project with the Buddhist in notion of impermanence, asks Eric Schneider Brian Eno:I'm actually not a Zen Buddhist but I'm not embarrassed to be described as one. Stewart Brand:What are you? Do you have any belief structure or whatever? [Laughter] Brian Eno:Sounds like an accusation, Stewart. Stewart Brand:Well, I'm just checking. Brian Eno:No, I dont think I do actually. I think I'm somebody who believes in the muddle. Stewart Brand:The muddle? Brian Eno:I'm a muddlist. [Laughter] Brian Eno:I more and more think that things just muddle along, nearly everything just muddle along. Stewart Brand:Are there rituals that muddlers-- Brian Eno:Muddlers like me surrender to the muddle and love the process of surrendering to the muddle. Stewart Brand:Say more about surrender, Brian Eno. Brian Eno:Well, surrender, yes. Thats a subject that I'm very keen on. Shall I talk about that or Zen Buddhism? Stewart Brand:Surrender. Which are not totally under related, but go ahead. What do you got in surrender? Brian Eno:I'm sure I can find a way to tie thesemy answer to this question. It's an old interview. He's tricked. So I supposedI started making the kind of art that you saw before we came in, these big light installations and the kind of music I've been making for a long time, sort of suggests to people that they should just let it happen to them, they should surrender to it. And indeed the kind of behavior I see in my shows, my visual shows is that people slumped in chairs in a semi-comatose state. And thats actually the state I like to be in as well. I'm very happy in that state. And I thought about this and I thought, why do we like doing this, because clearly a lot of people do like doing it. They come not only to my shows but they do lots of other things that involves surrender like, they go to church or they go to parks or they sit by rivers where nothing much is happening, or they have sex with each other and surrender to that experience or they take drugs, and thats a kind of surrender as well. So I started thinking, there's this kind of umbrella, which I call surrender and underneath it, under the umbrella or sex, drugs, art and religion at least and a few other things as well. Those are all activities in which you deliberately lose yourself. You stop being you and you let yourself become part of something else. You surrender control of some things. And of course, this is a big theme in Zen Buddhism as you know. [Laughter] Brian Eno:But it is actually. The idea being that, you know, weve had about 5,000 years of increasing technical control and we pride ourselves quite naturally and quite reasonably on the fact that we are very good at control. And of course, we all enjoy the consequences of it, the results of it. On the other hand, we had about 2 or 4 million years of mostly having to surrender, mostly having to go with the flow of things and mostly having to learn to deal with whatever was thrown up by nature and the surroundings. And I think surrendering is a great gift that human beings have. And I think one of the experiences of art is relearning or rehearsing or continually trying again to be able to surrender properly. To be able to let things be out of our control and to live with them. And I suppose that theone of the things about the idea of thinking in terms of very long periods of time is what I was saying earlier, of losing that sense of yourself as the single focus of the universal existence and seeing yourself as surrendering to the idea of being one small dot on this long line reaching out to the edges of time in each direction. Is that anything about Zen? Stewart Brand:Danny isare there any elements of a surrender you're trying to build in before the experience of the clock in the mountain? Danny Hillis:Well, I guess I've come to increasingly appreciate that. Maybe thats what I was saying of what I've learned from Brian because I thinkwhat I was trying to say of sort of the bee in the moment, accept thebeing an engineer or I'm normally in the mode of not surrendering and fighting it and trying to wrestle it into the thing you wanted to be. And so for me, being able to get out of that mode, which is I do think the mode that you're in when you're looking at the crumpled up piece of metal down in the road. Brian Eno:Yeah. Danny Hillis:Is you're not trying to get it to be anything. Brian Eno:Thats right. Danny Hillis:You're just trying to take it for what it is. And thats Stewart Brand:So you're using this consciousness to design a place, which will be dark and out of time and scary? Danny Hillis:Exactly. So there are some specific things to try to get you to do that kind of surrender. So for instance, one of the things it does is thatfirst of all, it forces you to get away from your environment for a long time, like being far away. You have to spend a couple of days just getting there. And then it forces you by where it is on the mountain to wake up really early, so you're sleep-deprived and you're waking up before dawn to get up to the mountain before noon and then you go through this physical exertion to climbing up that mountain thats not easy. And also, it deliberately gets you into a kind of state of confusion, a little bit of fear really, of maybe thinking you're in the wrong place, maybeall of that really to get you to leave behind all that idea of, you know, your plan, your control. It's meant in some sense, get you to surrender. I mean, I've never really thought of it that way before. Just get you to give up on the idea that you're in control of the situation. And then, that all will set you up for the moment when you get to the clock. Stewart Brand:There are some scary things that happened along the way as I recall is overhearing some of the design conversations like this 300-foot spiral staircase is cut in living rock as I recall as you go up, the stairs get narrower and narrower. What's that about? Danny Hillis:Well, thats again, putting some sense thatokay, so for example, one of the things it does is, you go up that staircase andwhen you're at the top looking up there, you think you know where you're going because there's some lightliterally a light in the end of the tunnel, which you're heading up toward. But as you get up there, the stairs get smaller and smaller in fact, eventually they taper off to so small you couldnt possibly walk on them. And so you start of seeing that coming up and you realize my plan isnt going to work. [Laughter] Danny Hillis:And so thats an example and then, you know, at some point, you know, you go off in a different direction. Of course there are ways forward but they're different ways than maybe what you were expecting. So you end up having to turn awayget away from that idea of progress and heading toward the light and pick a side track andso those are deliberately designed in. They kind of get out of, maybe kind of fooled you in to thinking for a minute you have a plan and then maybe you realize you dont. You're not in control of the situation. Stewart Brand:Thats life. [Applause] Stewart Brand:This seminar about long-term thinking was brought to you by the Long Now Foundation. Thanks to fora.tv. You could see high quality videos of the talks online by joining Long Now as a member.