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The story of the Clock of the Long Now


People who supported the Clock Project
W Daniel Hillis Scientist
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You know, when I think about the Clock Project and how wonderful it's been, I mean one of the things that's amazing is every time I've needed to do a piece of it I've had a friend that's stepped forward. Like, first Jacqui Safra to build that first prototype, then Nathan Myhrvold stepped forward and let me design the orrery, the next phase, and then Jeff came and funded the construction of the clock in Texas, the full-scale clock, and it's just, I mean, what a blessing to be alive at a time with the sort of people who are willing to support a dream like this. I'm just so incredibly grateful for it.

W Daniel Hillis (b. 1956) is an American inventor, scientist, author and engineer. While doing his doctoral work at MIT under artificial intelligence pioneer, Marvin Minsky, he invented the concept of parallel computers, that is now the basis for most supercomputers. He also co-founded the famous parallel computing company, Thinking Machines, in 1983 which marked a new era in computing. In 1996, Hillis left MIT for California, where he spent time leading Disney’s Imagineers. He developed new technologies and business strategies for Disney's theme parks, television, motion pictures, Internet and consumer product businesses. More recently, Hillis co-founded an engineering and design company, Applied Minds, and several start-ups, among them Applied Proteomics in San Diego, MetaWeb Technologies (acquired by Google) in San Francisco, and his current passion, Applied Invention in Cambridge, MA, which 'partners with clients to create innovative products and services'. He holds over 100 US patents, covering parallel computers, disk arrays, forgery prevention methods, and various electronic and mechanical devices (including a 10,000-year mechanical clock), and has recently moved into working on problems in medicine. In recognition of his work Hillis has won many awards, including the Dan David Prize.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes George Dyson

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Clock of the Long Now, Jacqui Safra, Nathan Myhrvold

Duration: 46 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2016

Date story went live: 05 July 2017