Jeff Bezos Is Building A Giant Clock That Can Keep Time For 1000 Years

In the wide open space of West Texas, hidden within a towering mountain, a massive timekeeping device is silently measuring the passing of seconds, minutes, and even centuries. Jeff Bezos, the forward-thinking creator of Amazon, has collaborated with computer scientist Danny Hillis to construct a clock that is meant to withstand the trials of time itself — an astounding span of 10,000 years, to be precise.

The idea originated from Hillis, in the 1980s, and was brought into reality through the efforts of the Long Now Foundation. This clock, a monumental creation, serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of long-term thinking. Hillis imagined a clock that would tick only once every year, with a century hand that would move every 100 years, and a cuckoo that would appear at each millennium. The clock is not simply a machine; it represents the concept of deep time and aims to encourage people to envision possibilities beyond the boundaries of their own lifetime.

Bezos, who supports the project, has contributed a significant $42 million to its building. The clock, according to Stewart Brand, co-founder of the Long Now Foundation, acts as a counterbalance to the “pathologically short attention span” of contemporary society. It is envisioned as a captivating, thought-provoking, and iconic sign that will change people’s perceptions of time, much to how pictures of Earth from space changed people’s perceptions of the surrounding landscape.

The 10,000-Year Clock, standing hundreds of feet tall within the Texan mountain, features meticulously crafted dials and a chime generator designed by ambient music maestro Brian Eno. Although the completion date remains uncertain, the clock has been in the making since 2018, with meticulous preparation work, including the excavation of a 500-foot deep shaft, starting years earlier.

While the clock is a marvel of engineering and ambition, it has its fair share of critics. Some view it as a manifestation of ivory tower thinking and Silicon Valley utopianism, fueled by immense wealth. In 2020, WIRED published an article denouncing the project as a “Gilded Age distraction.” Regardless of the criticisms, the clock persists, ticking away as a reminder that some visions stretch far beyond the confines of contemporary skepticism. In the end, only time will tell if this grand experiment in long-term thinking stands as a beacon or a folly in the annals of human history.

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