10,000 Year Clock projects a future for humanity far beyond the harried now Inside a mountain somewhere in Texas a massive clock is clinking into existence. Housed in a cave deeper than the pyramids are tall, the 60-metre high timepiece is a day’s walk from anywhere. Behind a steel door, visitors will find a spiral staircase cut into rock by giant robotic chainsaws. They will climb to a winding platform to rotate a lever that lifts 4,500-kilogram weight drives that power the clock, along with thermal energy gathered from the mountaintop. Bells will chime in 3.5 million different sequences as decades, centuries and millennia pass by. This is not the largest clock in the world, but it is the longest. Created by a team of polymaths, inventors, engineers, machinists, stonecutters and a billionaire who is passionate about the future, this clock will keep time for 10,000 years. It is a bulwark against the end of history. The clock is the brain child of a US think-tank that, along with other determined futurists from around the globe, is trying to encourage constructive long-term thinking in a population increasingly averse to looking ahead. Back in the olden days – 1964 – one of the great futurists, science fiction writer and inventor Arthur C. Clarke described his vision of what was to come, at the World’s Fair in New York. His predictions ranged from the bizarre (the creation of a slave race of bio-engineered super chimpanzees as home helps) to the prescient (a world perhaps 50 years hence in which we would be able to instantly contact each other from anywhere on earth, “even if we don’t know their actual physical location”.) Nor was he alone in his imaginings. Inspired by the impending millennium, people conjured holidays under the sea, space tourism and food that could be printed. Preparations were made for pandemics and total network collapse. But as the clocks ticked over to January 1, 2000, a certain change slipped by quietly. The cultural turning point that had once been 60, 30 or 10 years hence was suddenly 1000 years ahead. In the space of one second, the next millennium was cast into unfathomable scope – and the future began to shrink. MORE