How To Build A 10,000-Year Clock | Answers With Joe

  • Published on Nov 16, 2015
  • The Clock of the Long Now is an ambitious, monumental project from the Long Now Foundation, headed up by Stewart Brand, Danny Hillis, and musician Brian Eno. The clock is meant to last 10,000 years, and the purpose of the clock is to promote long-term thinking.
    Subscribe -
    Follow me!
    Twitter, Periscope, and Blab:
    Housed inside a mountain, the clock was built according to 5 core principles:
    Longevity: The clock should be accurate even after 10,000 years, and must not contain valuable parts (such as jewels, expensive metals, or special alloys) that might be looted.
    Maintainability: Future generations should be able to keep the clock working, if necessary, with nothing more advanced than Bronze Age tools and materials.
    Transparency: The clock should be understandable without stopping or disassembling it; no functionality should be opaque.
    Evolvability: It should be possible to improve the clock over time.
    Scalability: To ensure that the final large clock will work properly, smaller prototypes must be built and tested.
    The clock is powered by the temperature fluctuations inside the mountain and is kept accurate by both pendulum movements and a solar phase lock system. It ticks only once per day and turns over once a millennium.
    Links to other videos on this topic:
  • EntertainmentEntertainment

Comments • 132

  • Kári Harðarson
    Kári Harðarson 15 days ago

    I wish you hadn't started this inane drum beat two minutes into the video - I really like listening to you uninterrupted. I know I am the only one who comments on this.

  • Zatchary Belltucker
    Zatchary Belltucker 2 months ago +1

    They forgot #6 DESTRUCTIBILITY: The clock should remain hidden from humans forever because they absolutely love to wreck shit

  • Kurt Schlarb
    Kurt Schlarb 2 months ago

    I built a few universe clocks for a few friends. They are made out of cherry. The needles on their indicators read 13.7 billion.
    When I presented them to friends, I included the guarantee that if the needle indicators did not move to 13.8 in a hundred-million years, just let me know, and I would make it right.

  • TherealTenman
    TherealTenman 2 months ago +12

    Future Joe Scott sent me here in his 2219 future video. This is a message to another future viewer.
    This is a meme.

    • VieraTail
      VieraTail 2 months ago +1

      Haha. I was wondering if anyone else did the same thing at the end of his "Message to 2219" video. It was brilliant, and I do hope that someone around that time will see it. :)

  • Allison
    Allison 2 months ago

    Knowing humans, they will probably think it was built by aliens 👽

  • pop ORBIT
    pop ORBIT 3 months ago

    What's wrong with the sundial?

  • Astute Observer
    Astute Observer 3 months ago

    Instead of spending 42 million on a clock, why not create a better work environment for Amazon workers. Increase pay or benefits perhaps. Bezos is just a hubristic piece of shit.

  • Adam Steidl
    Adam Steidl 5 months ago

    Seems a few problems the clock people have, are shared among those trying to "permanently" bury nuclear waste. Who knows what symbols or sounds will mean what, in 10k years??

  • D Millz
    D Millz 5 months ago +1

    Youre going to lose your bearings one day...

    Meaning a ball bearing in your chair. And the world will then end. Lol

  • Lil Rabbit
    Lil Rabbit 5 months ago

    The intro was inspiring...

  • fine93
    fine93 6 months ago

    Some tribe will find that clock and start worshiping it...

  • The Great Steve
    The Great Steve 6 months ago +1

    No god has ever existed.

  • 11Sister Morphine11
    11Sister Morphine11 6 months ago

    We could make a religion out of this.

  • 11Sister Morphine11
    11Sister Morphine11 6 months ago

    They should of called the clock, Big time rush.

  • Matt Roberts
    Matt Roberts 7 months ago

    Joe, those Gods still exist

  • Zach Davis
    Zach Davis 7 months ago

    sundial and gnomon... next question

  • Ryan Brummet
    Ryan Brummet 7 months ago

    Your rap made me spit my coffee all over the place 😂

  • discorobotification
    discorobotification 8 months ago

    BRIAN ENO :) :) :) :)

  • Elizabeth Shaw
    Elizabeth Shaw 8 months ago

    Future people are going to think we were weirdos!

  • Patrixia Villa
    Patrixia Villa 8 months ago

    If you are traveling in a time machine far into the future and you see someone else traveling into the past, it’s probably best if you don’t make eye contact. Just sayin’.

  • Patrixia Villa
    Patrixia Villa 8 months ago

    If you are traveling in a time machine far into the future and you see someone else traveling into the past, it’s probably best if you don’t make eye contact. Just sayin’.

  • G Blake
    G Blake 9 months ago

    So glib. Loads of people do it and eventually there will be no site left. Shameful

  • bobby blues
    bobby blues 9 months ago

    Who is going to accidentally discover it inside a mountain is hidden to be discovered by those who they intended it to be viewed by......interesting we would choose to leave a timer instead of leaving a povertyless moral and just model of society to push forward....they plan there deeds to be carried out over generations....most of us don't see past the end of the day!

  • rgerber
    rgerber 10 months ago

    the sound of rusty nails. Mr Joe Scott

  • Micky Cockerill
    Micky Cockerill 10 months ago

    How many times must he have practiced that rap!

  • Y O J I M B O 用心棒
    Y O J I M B O 用心棒 10 months ago

    What if Stonehenge and the like were ancient people's attempt to do exactly this?

  • Bryan Lockwald
    Bryan Lockwald 11 months ago

    I think that this clock already exists. We are surrounded by it.

  • Eric Clay
    Eric Clay 11 months ago +4

    Is it a smart hing to power it using temperature differential?
    That sounds like a not very stable/constant thing over thousands of year.
    Climate change alone could mess up the power source.

    • Y O J I M B O 用心棒
      Y O J I M B O 用心棒 10 months ago

      This is actually the most stable possible power source. As long as the earth, the sun, and the machine all continue to exist, it will have power.

    • ZedNova
      ZedNova 10 months ago

      Unless the planet stops turning, i think the difference in temperature between night and day will be large enough to power it regardless how livable the planet is

  • headq100
    headq100 11 months ago

    Hey dude Latin still exists... I know because I had to study it for TWO semesters for my degree. So... valve! (That means bye)

  • Mad Pyer
    Mad Pyer Year ago

    Lol they're probably going to think it counts down to the end of humanity, just like the mayans and their calendar

  • Iconoclastic Philosophy

    He worshipped gods that never really existed.

  • Inori Fay
    Inori Fay Year ago

    I love your level of self awareness about how you represent yourself.


    I live in Bulgaria - we dig Roman and Greek stuf up in our garden all the time - I mean bracelets, broaches, necklaces - proper cool stuff.

  • Lukas Aurelius
    Lukas Aurelius Year ago

    The year should start from the beginning of civilization, like the Jewish calendar, 5750+ years ago. But even they forgot what they are counting, lol. And choosing the beginning is kind of arbitrary anyway.

  • Kachlimpen
    Kachlimpen Year ago +10


  • ConfusionFusion
    ConfusionFusion Year ago +3

    I’ve been following the progress of the Long Now Foundation ever since I first read about another one of their projects 18 years ago: the Rosetta Project. Just like the Rosetta Stone was a tangible means to understand past languages, the Rosetta Project is working to create a ~3" diameter nickel disk which will be micro engraved with a primmer on all of humanity’s current languages. The idea is to get so many of these disks into circulation that even if some great calamity besets humanity and we lose the ability to understand some languages, we’ll always have these disks acting to preserve our connection to the past.

    • ConfusionFusion
      ConfusionFusion Year ago

      Lukas Aurelius : Actually, microscopes powerful enough to read the disk’s text aren’t anywhere as difficult to make as you’d think. Plus, one side of the disk has text that starts large enough to read without any magnification, and it gets progressively smaller and smaller until it’s microscopic. The idea is that anyone who comes upon one of the disks and notices the disappearing font will be inclined to find or build a magnifier which is strong enough to read the smallest text. Magnifiers that are that powerful, while they are more complex to build than smashing a couple rocks together, aren’t so complex that it would be like reinventing a computer. Hence the microprint in lieu of something like digital memory, which would take many many more years to re-develop. Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek made a microscope powerful enough to read the disk’s text with nothing more technologically advanced than melting a tiny blob of glass into a sphere, and that was in the 1670’s. So I think the people at the Rosetta Project have thought this through quite sufficiently.

    • Lukas Aurelius
      Lukas Aurelius Year ago +1

      ConfusionFusion - every time they use micro-engraving to make this stuff, they are assuming that there will always be microscopes. If we lose our tech, that will probably be one of the things we lose. So the future primitives will just gather all of the discs and melt them down to make arrowheads. Problem solved.

  • Bill Tkach
    Bill Tkach Year ago

    Very cool of u to draw the parallel between the clay shard u hold in our present and someone coming upon the Long Now in their present.

  • Hunter Bungay
    Hunter Bungay Year ago +2

    "he worshipped Gods that no longer exist" - the Gods never did exist as I understand what science considers evidence of such an existence.

    • Christopher McAuley
      Christopher McAuley Year ago +1

      How do you know they didn't exist? Do you exist? Does love exist? Does gravity exist? Does consciousness exist? Does time exist? Morality? Value? Ideas?
      Please tell me o wise sage?

  • J Dimis
    J Dimis Year ago +4

    Sounds like they thought of EVERYTHING.... EXCEPT what if the climate changes and the temperature difference used to drive the clock goes away from a ice age or global warming.....?

    • Brett Bates
      Brett Bates 4 months ago

      All that matters is that there's enough of a temperature differential between night and day which, in either case, should still work.

    • Russell Warren
      Russell Warren 5 months ago

      i know right, cowboys. what if the mountain collapses? or the sky falls down? ;)

      DEVAN KOSHELANYK 5 months ago

      they should've added more than one numeric system.

  • Roderick Molasar
    Roderick Molasar Year ago

    In 2008 I took the selfie you see here. I look older now. The gods have not been kind. Especially the one called Saturn or Chronos. He's a big mama-jama.

  • Silent Momentum2
    Silent Momentum2 Year ago

    The design of the clock reminds me so much of The Crucible from Mass Effect 3, a device that's a design of countless civilizations in the past adding their improvements into it.

  • Bad t8man
    Bad t8man Year ago

    The way he said a certain sentence made it sound like he was saying thar the planet no longer exists

  • British god
    British god Year ago

    Do a video about how bitcoins relate to the dark web

  • JZuVal
    JZuVal Year ago

    Who called the cops?? I'll miss your videos Joe :)))

  • Sean Vikoren
    Sean Vikoren Year ago

    Joe, you are the BEST. Incredibly, you could be even better. If only you pronounced the state of my birth (Nevada) correctly. The first 'a' is like the a in cat.

  • Arrhidaios Pydnaean


  • Stu nash
    Stu nash Year ago

    you're vts are the best fuck the haters

  • Robert Orr
    Robert Orr Year ago

    Hmmmm. Seems like the night sky already does this for us (between the Sun, Moon, naked eye visible planets and fixed stars).

  • Dick Butt
    Dick Butt Year ago

    He did all this cool shit!! SO I STOLE THAT SHIT!

  • Andrew Barrett
    Andrew Barrett Year ago

    This is great! I found the website way back before the prototype was finished in the 90s and am impressed with the progress. However, I don't understand how this clock works. I understand how most conventional mechanical clocks work, but this seems to have a different set of mechanical principles in play than conventional clocks in terms of the power train etc. Is there a video explaining how it works?

    • Dan Severns
      Dan Severns Year ago

      Andrew Barrett It works as a mechanical computer.

  • proxy boxie
    proxy boxie Year ago

    Disapointed you stole smh

  • Larry Scott
    Larry Scott Year ago +1

    If society collapsed, metal - all metal - would become precious.
    The Antikyyhera machine survived because it escaped the recycle bin. Looting gears? Looting stainless steel? Steel, any sort, and Fasteners would be would be irresistible.
    Metal stairs? Gone. Pendulum shaft? Gone. Chain? Omg the value of that would be enormous.

    MARIA LOYZI Year ago

    do 1000000 year clock

    MARIA LOYZI Year ago

    do 100000 year clock

  • Emil Sørensen
    Emil Sørensen Year ago

    The technical term for this thing in the future is "numenera", assuming it hasn't turned to drit in the meanwhile.

  • Shaun Smith
    Shaun Smith Year ago

    That's great and all... helps if you're a billionaire. The rest of us peasants will just have to accomplish the same thing with a sun dial.

  • Bradley Neon
    Bradley Neon Year ago

    As someone from Nevada, you pronounced Nevada wrong

  • WildSandwich
    WildSandwich Year ago

    I did the same thing... In 2008

  • Daniel M. Vinterhamn

    Shame, Joe!
    ..btw we love you..

  • NoOne
    NoOne Year ago

    Hey Joe, talking about things that must last forever, did you ear about Onkalo?
    It's a big hole in the ground in Finland, where the Finns plan to store their nuclear waste, for the next 500 000 years.
    It raised a lot of problems, and i think it would be an intersting subject for a video :)

  • кιℓℓυʍιηαтι

    I had to constantly think about the pyramids when hearing this. If we were thrown back into the stone age and wanted to build (some kind of) "time clock" a pyramid would be a good choice as for example the Gizah pyramid still stands without too great damage.

  • Epistemologically
    Epistemologically Year ago +13

    Turist stealing pieces of archeological sight are a big problem in rome, because of them, future generations might nob be able to have the beautifull though you had in the intro, because all the stolen pieces will be lost to history. You played a part in this, Shame on you
    (Said so, i would have done the same)

  • Nalc S
    Nalc S Year ago +1

    great video!

  • Paul Babcock
    Paul Babcock Year ago +2

    "God's that no longer exist" ? So Jove, Venus and mars once existed, but vanished once their worship ceased?

    • Patrixia Villa
      Patrixia Villa 8 months ago

      Gods only seem to exist as long as people believe in them. That’s why “group-think“ is so important to keep the god “alive”. Lots of dead gods and believers out there.

    • Lukas Aurelius
      Lukas Aurelius Year ago +3

      Paul Babcock - Yeah, they got demoted to being simple planets.

  • stringTheory80
    stringTheory80 Year ago

    I'm in Vegas I might get a chance to see it then

  • Mel Dempsey
    Mel Dempsey Year ago +14

    I have a piece of the Berlin Wall. I like knowing that a person smashed it to pieces with a hammer.

    • rocky balboa
      rocky balboa 8 months ago +2

      Puts a whole new meaning to the symbolism of the hammer and sickle

    • Mr. Meeseeks
      Mr. Meeseeks Year ago +1

      Can I buy it off you? That's fucking awesome.

    • Ethan Martinez
      Ethan Martinez Year ago

      Mel Dempsey fuck you

  • Green Brain Seaside
    Green Brain Seaside 2 years ago

    got my susbscription just because spreading the word about LongNow

  • Lupe Gonzalez
    Lupe Gonzalez 2 years ago

    love it!!

  • U & A
    U & A 2 years ago +22

    What if society collapses. Then is rebuilt in a totally different way. They might find the "clock" and in trying to figure out what it was accidently set off the display starting the glorious music. They might figure we worshipped music somehow and made a huge music box to worship our music gods.

    • Lord Biffus
      Lord Biffus Year ago

      They would probably try everything to repeat the music

    • Andrew Barrett
      Andrew Barrett Year ago

      Margaret Phillips Can we build a 10,000 year orchestrion?

  • Juan Ignacio Carrizo
    Juan Ignacio Carrizo 3 years ago +43

    What if some Joe Scott from the year 12,016 stole the clock too?

  • Jan Cloosterman
    Jan Cloosterman 3 years ago

    Hey that's something else at 4:00! How many takes did it take you to get it right?

    • Joe Scott
      Joe Scott  3 years ago +1

      Just one, my man. #rapgod

  • Conway79
    Conway79 3 years ago

    _What's the meaning of Stoneheeeeeeeeeenge?_

  • Eli Rutter
    Eli Rutter 3 years ago

    1:58 and Joe becomes Andy Bernard for a moment

    • Joe Scott
      Joe Scott  3 years ago +1

      Ha! I think that was in my head actually. :)

  • Kevin Kevech
    Kevin Kevech 3 years ago

    I think this is a great idea. It's exactly the kind of thing we need to help us think of ourselves as a species as well as individuals. Also, it has a cool name, and as we know, that always helps.

  • DrG0nz071
    DrG0nz071 3 years ago

    Gonzo fist on the shelf!