Cyrus Interviews Alexander Rose

June 27, 2007

rrasmussen teleported me to an interview. Watch the video here.

Photograph of Austin Ellison and Ducce Lykin in the audience.

Photograph of Cyrus and Alexander.
I’m listening to an interview in Second Life about Long Now Foundation…Here’s a small excerpt:

[14:47] You: yes
[14:47] Alexander Rose: The Long Now Foundation was started in 01996 by Danny Hillis (super computer designer) and Stewart Brand (creator of the Whole Earth Catalog) as an incubator for projects that might increase cultural attention span. It started when Danny told Stewart about his idea for large very slow clock that could be an icon for long term thinking. Stewart added the notion of a library, or long term information service that could help a culture remember its past.
[14:48] Cyrus Huffhines: yes!
[14:48] Kithrin Yalin is Offline
[14:48] Cyrus Huffhines: So is 77 Million Paintings, from its inception, another way to increase the cultural attention span?
[14:49] Alexander Rose: actually I have found Brian’s email about this which I will share here…
[14:50] Alexander Rose: “it’s about time and about stretching one’s sense of now. That’s why I keep sending these things to the Long Nowists: I’m sure there’s a connection between what I’m doing here and what we as a group are trying to achieve….”
[14:50] Alexander Rose: This was in response to another board member (Kevin Kelly” asking about its altar like form that it was presented in at the Venice Biennialle
[14:51] Alexander Rose: “And it does function as an altar – not so much because it’s a cross but because it induces the state of surrender which religious experience can also induce. I said rather flippantly during my press conference in Venice that perhaps this could be thought of as religion without God, but now I’m starting to think I may be on to something there.” Brian Eno
[14:51] Cyrus Huffhines: we will hunt images for the transcript
[14:52] Cyrus Huffhines: You mention the religious aspect, and it reminds me of the fact that Long Now by its very nature must extend beyond our own lifetimes
[14:52] Kithrin Yalin is Online
[14:53] Alexander Rose: yes but we have certainly made a conscious choice to not be a religion

[14:54] Alexander Rose: But we have a set guidelines that were designed specially around how to be long lived. Things like “take no sides”
[14:54] Alexander Rose: “ally with competition” is another very important one
[14:54] Cyrus Huffhines: yes
[14:55] Cyrus Huffhines: You once mentioned, I think after you finished the first prototype, that clocks and clock prototypes would continue to be created long after you were gone. The scale of the entire thing is so enormous.
[14:56] Cyrus Huffhines: and then with 77 Million, to watch all the permutations and variations it would take, at top speed, something like 9,000 years
[14:56] Cyrus Huffhines: so how do you reconcile work at such a huge scale with working in the here and now
[14:56] Alexander Rose: Well we certainly have dealines too…
[14:57] Cyrus Huffhines: lol
[14:57] Alexander Rose: We are a group of people that are very deep in technology. This is very much not about ignoring or rebelling against speed or tech.
[14:58] Cyrus Huffhines: told by Danny, right? can you tell it?
[14:58] Alexander Rose: Its more about finding some of the issues that are more necessarily long term
[14:58] Cyrus Huffhines: (board member Danny Hillis)
[14:58] Alexander Rose: The hall there was built in the 1300’s when it was the “new college”
[14:59] Alexander Rose: 50 years later when they needed to replace the beams they could not buy them readily in Europe anymore
[14:59] Alexander Rose: The story of the beams at New College Oxford is one of the best examples…
[14:59] Alexander Rose: However when they talked to the school forrester, he said “we have teh tree you planted”
[14:59] Alexander Rose: The trees I meants
[15:00] Alexander Rose: So they were able to replace these beams with the trees that were planted 500 years before
[15:00] Alexander Rose: It was this type of thinking that our founding board felt was not happenning anymore
[15:01] Alexander Rose: Something as simple as throwing down some acorns, solving a truly unsolvable problem if leveraged correctly
[15:01] Alexander Rose: So problems with the environment, hunger, education all have this feeling of being unsolvable now
[15:01] Alexander Rose: But in fact if you look at them much longer term they can become tractable
[15:02] Alexander Rose: anyway that was the basic inspiration around the Foundation.

[15:19] Alexander Rose: or there yes
[15:19] Inigo Kamachi: Can I ask a specific question about 77 million paintings in SL?
[15:19] Cyrus Huffhines: question from aisling sinclair: question for alexander rose: his ideas on what may be the most significant contributions to mechanical engineering and/or design in the next century? also, does he see possibilities for breakthroughs in bionics any time soon? thanks 🙂
[15:19] Alexander Rose: you bet, Angry Beth is here who did all the amazing work on it
[15:20] Inigo Kamachi: I only found this meeting by accident. How was I supposed to find out about it?
[15:20] Alexander Rose: Sorry we have two questions going on. Lets start with the one about 77 mIllion….
[15:20] Cyrus Huffhines: Angrybeth’s work is really briliiant and coming out on Friday, right here at 8pm
[15:21] Alexander Rose: I saw a preview yesterday and the work that she did as well as the others she worked with was really stunning
[15:21] Shy Ling is Offline
[15:21] Cyrus Huffhines: :O yeah it was
[15:21] Inigo Kamachi: OK, thank you. But having joined Long Now in SL, should I have seen info some how? I am new to SL, so maybe stupid question.
[15:21] Alexander Rose: Okay so I guess I should take the question about mechanics
[15:22] Cyrus Huffhines: go for it
[15:22] Alexander Rose: Re reading the question I am not sure I am too qualified to answer about the most significant mechanical advances and bionics…
[15:23] Jamesf991 Flanagan is Online
[15:23] Alexander Rose: But I would say that the advances in the intense miniaturization of components
[15:23] Alexander Rose: MEMS machining etc I think will be making machinery possible that will seem like magic to us now
[15:24] Alexander Rose: I would also say that the solid state developments in nitonol wire, piezzo electronics etc will also be very important
[15:24] Alexander Rose: anything else?
[15:25] Cyrus Huffhines: any more questions?

[15:31] Alexander Rose: So he has made the images open basically
[15:32] You: I haven’t seen the images yet but I wonder how it relates to his music.
[15:32] Alexander Rose: And I think this has interesting ramifications in a generative world like SL.
[15:32] Cyrus Huffhines nods
[15:32] Leece Xi is Online
[15:33] Alexander Rose: The images that the system starts with the generate the ‘paintings’ are a collection from over 30 years of his experience.
[15:33] Yngwie Krogstad: So is there any effort to get the people making TV’s to adopt this and make their TV’s more visually appealing? If a script could be added to them to create randomly changing textures on the screen when it’s not turned on, for example, they wouldn’t be just a plain static texture. Or even get them just to put in a painting instead of a black screen or a logo like JZ or CC on them.
[15:33] Alexander Rose: He very much thinks of colors and images in relation to his music and i defiantely feel that this work shows that.
[15:34] Alexander Rose: THere is also generative music that is part of the DVD that works in concert with the piece.
[15:34] You: That’s what I thought.
[15:34] Alexander Rose: There is no effort like that to my knowledge.

[15:36] Alexander Rose: Indeed. I dont have TV in the broadcast sense at my house, just a mac mini and monitor.
[15:36] Veritas Variscan: throught the HDTV
[15:36] Veritas Variscan: mmm
[15:36] Cyrus Huffhines: rtisan Hawks: With the long now way of thinking isnt SL almost too hear and now, for a large part of the people that are here, how do you plan for a long view in SL?
[15:36] Alexander Rose: I dont think we have to necessarily
[15:37] Alexander Rose: This is as much about the present as the past and future…
[15:37] Alexander Rose: I had a researcher from IBM India looking at one of the earliest clock prototypes. He listened through my whole demo and then said “in 3000 years they will be sacrificing virgins on this thing and all the blood and sinew will screw it all up”. I responded that while that may be true, before he looked at the Clock he likely had not thought about what our world would be like 3000 years from now… So in that respect it is already working.
[15:38] Artisan Hawks: lol
[15:38] Alexander Rose: So basically by simply changing the conversation, having the one we are having now, we succeed
[15:38] Artisan Hawks: interesting
[15:38] You: 🙂
[15:38] Rhiannon Chatnoir: even if the space fosters the thought of future then it is valuable
[15:38] Alexander Rose: yes.
[15:39] Alexander Rose: I feel as though we passed a question back there somewhere…

[15:46] Alexander Rose: Tell em more about recreating history?
[15:46] Cyrus Huffhines: word.
[15:46] Alexander Rose: Vertias>
[15:46] Veritas Variscan: Models can be created here
[15:47] Yngwie Krogstad: For clarification, my concern is that people are looking too short-term and thinking that the sky is falling, when it’s been thorougly shown that the Earth goes through constant cycles of warming and cooling. The Earth lives in millenia, but I see too many scientists and other public figures thinking much shorter than that, and I wonder just how big a problem this is in the long view.
[15:47] Veritas Variscan: Sims devoted to human history have alread y been created extensively
[15:47] Veritas Variscan: mathematical models, weather simulations, all these things can also be done here in SL
[15:47] Veritas Variscan: government is already doing simulations here
[15:48] Alexander Rose: Over the long view we know its changing no matter what. So preparing for it cant be a bad thing. We have two threads here. let me answer Veritas’ question.
[15:48] Veritas Variscan: comparisons can be drawn, analogous phenomenon
[15:48] Veritas Variscan: sorry
[15:48] Alexander Rose: No I am interested in this.
[15:48] Artisan Hawks: The media has a large part of contributing to a short view of things, does long now address this issue at all?
[15:48] Veritas Variscan: (I get all excited)

[15:49] Alexander Rose: I am basically pretty new to SL so learning about the simulation stuff is very cool. I think it has large potential for helping people understand long Term issues. Regarding Hawks question…
[15:50] Alexander Rose: I agree that the media really makes us feel as though we cant pay attnetion to things more long term.

[15:51] Alexander Rose: However examples of pieces done by media outlets supported by listeners like NPR etc show that there is interest for a deeper understanding.
[15:52] Alexander Rose: We now have the opportunity to choose our media more broadly than ever before and I think that will also increase squeezing out a lot of what we see today.
[15:52] Alexander Rose: If that is all, I will be signing off. But I really want to thank Cyrus and AngryBeth and Artisan Hawks for all their amazing and hard work on this. Also all the hosts of the sims. They deserve a round of applause.
[15:52] Yngwie Krogstad: That sounds like a positive thing. Lots of major media outlets seem to thrive on crises, and if they can’t find a crisis, they have to invent one. They seem to believe the money is in playing Chicken Little.
[15:53] Frans Charming applauds
[15:53] Xantherus Halberd applauds
[15:53] Yngwie Krogstad applauds
[15:53] Veritas Variscan applauds.
[15:53] Xantherus Halberd: w00t!!!
[15:53] Alexander Rose: applause!

http://www.blueairpictures.com/blog/

ugotrade.com/2007/06/28/the-long-now-foundation-brings-77-million-paintings-to-second-life/

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One Response to “Cyrus Interviews Alexander Rose”


  1. […] The complete interview between Cyrus and Alexander Rose is very profound. But these excerpts turned out to have even more resonance than I imagined at the time. And, yes that is for the next post. See you, Friday 8pm, on the Kula 1 Sim at The Commons Amphitheater. Stumble it! […]


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