The Long Now Foundation welcomes
Abby Smith Rumsey
(historian, media expert, author)
"How Digital Memory Is Shaping Our Future"
@ The Interval at Long Now: check-in begins at 6:30; talk will start at 7:30
Stay afterwards for drinks and conversation with our speaker
Abby's book When We Are No More will be on sale and she will sign it after the talk
Memory is not about the past, it is about the future. Historian and media expert Abby Smith Rumsey explores how digital memory, which cannot be preserved, will shape the future of knowledge and affect our survival.
Memory technologies from papyrus to print have given humans a unique survival advantage: allowing us to accumulate knowledge. These technologies shape our perception of history, time, and personal and cultural identity.
The capacity of our brains to remember lags far behind our capacity to generate information. Digital technology gives us an abundance of information, but creates a scarcity of attention that makes it hard for us to grasp what is important before it slips away. Unless we learn how to preserve memory in the digital age, we risk losing the traces of the past that are vital for building a future true to our commitment to democratic access to information.
What Oliver Sacks did for the physical mind, Abby Smith Rumsey is doing for our evolving digital mind—making the history and complexity of our collective memory vital to everyone.
— Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive
Long Now members can access a free livestream of this event online. The Studio of Edward Burtynsky is sponsoring The Interval’s live audio stream in 02016. Mercury Films and Studio Burtynsky’s forthcoming project Anthropocene (02017) looks at how civilization has re-engineered the world in ways that will persist into geological time. Their support enables us to stream these events for our members all over the world.
Abby Smith Rumsey is a historian who writes about how ideas and information technologies shape perceptions of history, of time, and of personal and cultural identity. She served as director of the Scholarly Communication Institute at the University of Virginia, and worked for more than a decade at the Library of Congress.
She has worked with former Soviet bloc governments and organizations directing programs to open up access to their libraries and archives. Rumsey has consulted on digital collecting and curation, intellectual property issues, and the economics of digital information for a variety of universities and the National Science Foundation.
Abby Smith Rumsey holds MA and PhD degrees in history from Harvard University where she specialized in Early Modern Russia and intellectual history. She has been a Fulbright Fellow and taught at Harvard and Johns Hopkins Universities. She lives in San Francisco.
“Rumsey takes us on a lucid and deeply thought-provoking journey into what makes the human species unique--the capacity to create external memory. This book will change how you think about our collective store of knowledge, and its future.”
–Paul Saffo, Stanford University / Long Now Board of Directors
Join us for a compelling consideration of how our memories will reach into the future.
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When & Where
The Interval at Long Now
The Interval at Long Now is a bar, cafe and event venue located in historic Fort Mason Center on San Francisco's north shore within view of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. We serve delicious beverages in a room full of mechanical wonders and thousands of books.
We are open daily 10AM to midnight. Events are typically on Tuesday nights a few times a month. Tickets usually go on sale 2 weeks prior to the event. Talks sell out quickly due to our limited capacity.
Long Now members can purchase tickets before the general public.
The Interval is home to The Long Now Foundation which is dedicated to long-term thinking through projects including building a 10,000-year Clock, the monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking (SALT), The Rosetta Project, PanLex, and Revive & Restore.