San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
This is a Free public event, no ticket is necessary, but RSVPing is appreciated. Steven's presentation will begin at 6:30pm.
We live in an era of mass extinction of linguistic heritage. Thousands of years of ancestral knowledge and stories are vanishing with the last speakers of hundreds of languages. Come and find out how mobile devices and social media are being used to preserve the “wisdom of the tribe” for generations far into the future.
Linguists worldwide are engaged in an urgent task of recording the world’s languages while there is still time. Oral cultures are in particular jeopardy because they lack a written record. However, the languages are disappearing more quickly than they can be preserved, and so a new effort is trying to ramp up the effort using mobile technologies.
Steven Bird has been testing a new mobile app in Amazonia, Melanesia, and Central Asia. The app has been designed by Steven and his team to permit preliterate people to record and translate their stories and songs. Steven will run a hands-on demonstration of the app, and facilitate a discussion of some thorny issues it raises, and some ingenious solutions.
Long Now's occasional series of interactive Discussion Nights at The Interval takes place on Mondays. These events are free and open to the public. Special guests introduce a topic for conversation, and sometimes an activity, in which everyone attending can participate. Mondays are also Long Now Member nights (and members get a discount on everything on Mondays).
The above photos are from the village of Terra Preta, near Manaus, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. Steven’s team worked with local speakers of the Nhengatu language to record, translate, and transcribe the stories of the rainforest. One of the products is a story book illustrated by the children of the village, which has been uploaded to the Internet Archive where anyone can access it.
Steven Bird is a Senior Research Associate at the Linguistic Data Consortium at UPenn and Associate Professor of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He travels extensively to remote indigenous communities and through a variety of projects he works to bring the power of technology to bear on efforts to preserve the world’s endangered languages.
We are thrilled to have Steven join us Monday during his brief stop in the Bay Area. And we hope you will join us as well. The Interval is open as usual throughout the night, serving drinks and bar snacks.
Come learn how a mobile app helps preserve traditional cultures in Amazonia and beyond!
Please RSVP to help us plan and let us know what languages you speak!
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.