Peter Schwartz Seminar Primer

“The Starships ARE Coming”

Tuesday September 17, 02013 at SFJAZZ Center, San Francisco

Peter Schwartz likes taking a long view. He’s a founding board member of The Long Now Foundation and in his career as a scenario planner he’s at the forefront of futurist thought, known for his book, The Art of the Long View, a canonical text of thinking long-term, and for founding the Global Business Network, a strategic planning consulting firm. In a Long Now SALT in 02008 he debated historian Niall Ferguson about the potential for human progress, arguing strongly for the importance of optimism. “Optimism” he concluded, “lets you imagine how you can overcome problems, and those possibilities motivate change.”

Schwartz’s long view has, in the last few years, begun to extend well off-planet, past Mars and the asteroid belt, and even beyond the Oort Cloud – in a Long Now event in 02010, he asked NASA Ames Research Center Director, Pete Worden about the possibility of starships that might take humans out of our own solar system. In response, Worden announced that NASA and DARPA had just begun a program to fund realistic, scientific research into the prospects of what they were calling 100-year starships:

Long Conversation – Pete Worden Announces 100-Year Starship from The Long Now Foundation on Vimeo.

Since then, thinking and planning for interstellar travel has snowballed. The inaugural 100 Year Starship Symposium was held in 02011, with a second in 02012 and the third later this month. Each event has gathered dozens of papers seeking to collectively establish a rough sketch of the technological, physical and social engineering interstellar travel will require.

Starship Century is an anthology just released (and on sale at the upcoming lecture) that features writing by Peter Schwartz, Stephen Hawking, Martin Rees, Neal Stephenson and many others on the existential necessity, the voluminous challenges, and the unprecedented promise of travelling to the stars.

Peter Schwartz has applied a bit of his world-renowned scenario planning to the possibility of starships and he brings our interstellar future into view on September 17th at SFJAZZ Center. You can reserve tickets, get directions and sign up for the podcast on the Seminar page.

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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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