Memory loss

The Long News: stories that might still matter fifty, or a hundred, or ten thousand years from now.

Today, humans speak to each other in nearly 7,000 languages; it’s estimated that 90% of those languages will be gone by 02050, displaced by English, Spanish, or Chinese. Meanwhile, there’s a broader question about how well we’re preserving  the rest of the world’s cultural heritage. But while we may be losing our collective memories, the thoughts of individuals are more and more likely to live on.

Some recent news stories about losing, or preserving, human culture:

1. What we have here is a failure to communicate:

65,000-year-old language goes extinct

Why half of the world’s languages are in serious danger of dying out

2. Goodbye to all that:

Machu Picchu, Barcelona church on threatened list

3. Culture goes back further than we imagined:

Oldest ‘writing’ found on 60,000-year-old eggshells

Modern behavior found half-million years earlier than previously thought

4. Speak, memory:

Device turns thoughts into speech

Researchers show brain waves can ‘write’ on a computer

Brain scanners can tell what you’re thinking about

New camera promises to capture your whole life

We invite you to submit Long News story suggestions here.

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What is the long now?

The Long Now Foundation is a nonprofit established in 01996 to foster long-term thinking. Our work encourages imagination at the timescale of civilization — the next and last 10,000 years — a timespan we call the long now.

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