Läs vår intervju med Alexander Rose om långsiktigt tänkande och varför det är viktigt. Den 18 maj talar han under Branschdagarna.

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Alexander Rose är industridesigner och VD för Long Now Foundation, en organisation som arbetar med att främja långsiktigt tänkande hos både individer och i samhället. Organisationen har sitt hem på The Interval i San Francisco, där de också driver bar och kafé, och sedan 2003 arrangerar seminarier på temat långsiktigt tänkande.

What´s with all this long thinking? What good do you hope it will do?
– There are issues in the world that are both very important for a thriving civilization, and that take a long time to do or see the effects of. Examples include climate change, educational reform, asteroid impacts, and pandemics to name a few. All of these take decades of work, documentation and monitoring to make effective changes for good. Right now there are not many mechanisms or proper incentive structures to do this kind of work.

Alexander Rose Foto: Chris Michel

Can you point to any changes you have seen in this area since you started out in 1996?
– We have certainly seen our work being used by policy makers, teachers, and even science fiction authors. It is very difficult to measure impact in exact terms but I think there is beginning to be a seed shift in thinking around certain issues as we continue to see examples of how short term thinking fails us.

How does one learn to think more long term?
– Thinking long-term is different for each person or organization. One way to think long-term is to make sure that any choices you might be making will actually increase optionality for someone (even yourself) in the future, rather than decreasing optionality. Our hope is to simply inspire people to at least look at anything they are doing to see if a longer term perspective may help.  This could mean looking out a few more years, decades or centuries.  There is no way to tell people how to think, the only thing we can do is provide some inspiration which is what we hope to do with our projects and speaking series.

Your time frame is 10 000 years. How did you come up with that number?
– It was about 10,000 years ago that the last ice age retreated and allowed for agriculture and eventually cities that began what we now call modern civilization. Our hope is to be able to contextualize where we are after that 10,000 years along with the next 10,000 years, and think of ourselves in the middle of a 20,000 year story, rather than at the end of a 10,000 year story.

How “long term” are you personally? Has working with Long Now changed you?
– I certainly think about the way I build things very differently and even to some extent my feelings as a father in a different light because of this work. Of course I still have to get things done on a day to day basis, but I try and think about my work and my life as part of a much longer continuum and make choices that will hopefully make life better for people who come after me.

You are leading the project of building a clock that will last for at least 10 000 years. When do you think it will be finished?
– We don’t have a finishing date yet, but a lot of it is now done and we hope to get back to installing it once the restrictions of the pandemic have been lifted.

Foto: Rolfe Horn/Long Now Foundation