Why Jeff Bezos is helping to create a 10,000 Year Clock inside a Texas mountain

One of the tunnels that will lead to the 10,000 Year Clock (Credit: 10000yearclock.net)

Based on his recent comments to shareholders about Amazon.com’s willingness to be misunderstood for many years, we knew Jeff Bezos was good at taking a long view.

But it turns out that his view is much, much longer than most people knew.

On a new website, the Amazon founder explains his involvement in an extraordinary project to construct a clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years.

An excerpt from his introductory message …

It’s a special clock, designed to be a symbol, an icon for long-term thinking. It’s of monumental scale inside a mountain in West Texas. The father of the Clock is Danny Hillis [co-founder of the Long Now Foundation]. He’s been thinking about and working on the Clock since 1989. He wanted to build a Clock that ticks once a year, where the century hand advances once every 100 years, and the cuckoo comes out on the millennium. The vision was, and still is, to build a Clock that will keep time for the next 10,000 years. I’ve been helping Danny with the project for the last half dozen years. As I see it, humans are now technologically advanced enough that we can create not only extraordinary wonders but also civilization-scale problems. We’re likely to need more long-term thinking.

The clock is currently under construction inside a mountain in the Sierra Diablo Range in West Texas. See Bezos’ full message for all of the details, including plans for special “anniversary chambers” — for the 100, 1,000, and 10,000 year marks – that will be left for future generations to animate.

Also see this post by Kevin Kelly for a great behind-the-scenes look at the project.

(Via Boing-Boing)

  • Guest

    Congratulations to Mr. Bezos in delivering on this 10,000 year vision!

  • Gu

    Hope they don’t mess up on leap years

  • Anonymous

    It’d be very impressive if the clock lasted that long.  I’m unaware of any human creation that’s lasted like that.  

    • Guest

      There are cave paintings over 30,000 years old that have lasted to today. Granted they are not continuously operating devices like clocks, but they are certainly human creations.

  • Johnbjr

    This is not the first project to try to figure out how to build an artifact that might be around 10,000 years from now. I remember, when I was a student at University at Buffalo, that some of the faculty in Architecture there were involved with designing the kinds of structures, signs, images, even cultural practices, that would be needed to warn people for 10,000 years hence of the dangers of a radioactive waste disposal site.

  • Debbie

    what is the purpose for the clock?