I should emphasize that rejecting longtermism does not mean that one must reject long-term thinking. You ought to care equally about people no matter when they exist, whether today, next year, or in a couple billion years henceforth. If we shouldn’t discriminate against people based on their spatial distance from us, we shouldn’t discriminate against them based on their temporal distance, either. Many of the problems we face today, such as climate change, will have devastating consequences for future generations hundreds or thousands of years in the future. That should matter. We should be willing to make sacrifices for their wellbeing, just as we make sacrifices for those alive today by donating to charities that fight global poverty. But this does not mean that one must genuflect before the altar of “future value” or “our potential,” understood in techno-Utopian terms of colonizing space, becoming posthuman, subjugating the natural world, maximizing economic productivity, and creating massive computer simulations stuffed with 1045 digital beings.
Wednesday, August 11th, 2021
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2016
Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016
This is my kind of talk—John Snow’s cholera map, the Yucca Mountain think-tank, the Pioneer plaque, the Voyager record, the Drake equation, the Arecibo signal, and the love song of J. Alfred Prufrock.
♫ These are a few of my fav-our-ite things! ♫
Thursday, September 17th, 2015
One failure mode is ‘I have run out of paper’, another is ‘my data has been sold to a company I don’t trust’, another is ‘my country has been invaded and they’ve seized all the servers’.
These are things to be designed for. These are user needs too. They have to be embraced.
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
The importance of long-term thinking in web design. I love this description of the web:
a truly fluid, chaotic design medium serving millions of imperfect clients
Monday, March 19th, 2012
Now this is some prioritisation I can admire:
I’m going to build valuable, reliable, sustainable web services that will last forever.
Wednesday, February 9th, 2011
Trying to design a warning message for future generations, without relying on language, writing or current semiotics.
We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture. This place is not a place of honor…no highly esteemed deed is commemorated here… nothing valued is here. What is here is dangerous and repulsive to us.