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CASBS Partnership with the Long Now Foundation

Long Now
Dec 11 2015

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In early 2015 CASBS announced a new collaboration with The Long Now Foundation in San Francisco. Since May of that year, CASBS fellows and affiliates have appeared regularly as part of the foundation’s Conversations at The Interval series of salon talks. The Interval is a bar, café, museum, and social hub intended “to help make long-term thinking more instinctive, rather than difficult and rare.”  Three members of the CASBS 2014-15 class – D. Fox Harrell, Valentina Bosetti (pictured at right), and Maryanne Wolf – kicked-off the partnership with separate talks on subjects ranging from imagining social identities through computing, perceptions of climate change risk and uncertainty, and changing the reading brain in a digital culture.

The CASBS 2015-16 class deepens the collaboration with at least a half-dozen fellows appearing at The Interval. On November 3, renowned anthropologists Frances Morphy and Howard Morphy (Australian National University) jointly delivered a riveting presentation, “In the Footsteps of the Ancestors: The Dreamtime in the Politics of the Present.” You can read about their appearance here.

The Morphys’ talk exemplifies the synergy between the two organizations. “Long Now’s mission is to foster long-term thinking and the CASBS speakers we’ve worked with all have been able to put their subjects in perspective on a scale of centuries or millennia,” said Alexander Rose, Long Now’s executive director. “It has been an excellent fit, and we’re really happy to work with CASBS and their impressive group of fellows to expand the larger conversation about humans, culture, and time.”

On January 26, economic historian and CASBS fellow Louis Hyman (pictured below) spoke about “The New Deal You Don’t Know,” guiding The Interval audience through forgotten but important aspects of actions the U.S. government took in the 1930s to reinvent the engine of capitalism. The background served as backdrop for a discussion as to whether 21st century capitalism will require yet another reinvention.

Louis Hyman

The Interval will host salon talks by CASBS fellows Edward Slingerland and Andrew Chignell on April 26 and June 28, respectively. Check the CASBS web site in the spring for topics. Salon talks this summer will feature CASBS fellows Rose McDermott and James Holland Jones, as well as CASBS board member and tech luminary John Seely Brown and former CASBS fellow Fred Turner. You can find biosketches of all current CASBS fellows here.

Michael McElligott, producer of the Conversations at The Interval series, could not be more delighted by the pool of talent collected at CASBS.

"The Center brings top scholars from around the country and the world to the Bay Area,” said McElligott. "Not only the quality, but the breadth of subject matter that they cover is so impressive. We’re working closely with CASBS to bring some of those historians, anthropologists, technologists and others to The Interval's speaking series. These are exactly the kind of accomplished experts that we love to present to our audience. All the CASBS talks have been wonderful: informative and thought-provoking. It continues to be a great partnership."

In addition to the series at the Interval, four previous speakers at the Long Now’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking are former CASBS fellows: Daniel Kahneman, Stephen Lansing, Paul Romer and, twice, Philip Tetlock. Watch video of Tetlock's most recent talk on "Superforecasting" here.

Photos courtesy of The Interval at Long Now

Written by Mike Gaetani