DEEP TIME: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia.

Benford, Gregory.

ISBN 10: 0380975378 / ISBN 13: 9780380975372
Published by New York: Avon, (1999.) dj, 1999
Hardcover
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SIGNED hardcover first edition - First printing. A non-fiction work by this award winning writer. SIGNED on the title page. References, index. 225 pp. Near fine in a fine dust jacket (remainder line, crease to front endpaper.). Bookseller Inventory # 51976

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Bibliographic Details

Title: DEEP TIME: How Humanity Communicates Across ...

Publisher: New York: Avon, (1999.) dj

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

Human civilization has evolved to the point at which we have begun consciously sending messages into the far future. How should we communicate who we are, what we know, to asyet-unmet intelligent beings elsewhere in both time and space? Will they be able to decipher what we say? And what information will we leave to Earth's occupants a million years hence? How can we address an unknown destiny in which human culture itself may no longer exist?

Combining the logical rigor of a scientist with the lyrical beauty of a novelist, Gregory Benford explores these and other fascinating questions in a provocative analysis of humanity's attempts to make its culture immortal, to cross the immense gulf that such deep-time messages must span in order to be understood. In clear, crisp language, he confronts our growing influence on events hundreds of thousands of years into the future, and explores the possible "messages" we may transmit to our distant descendants in the language of the planet itself -- from nuclear waste to global warming to the extinction of species.

We are already sending messages into nearby space; in the coming ages we will be able to launch probes accurately to other stars. Our indelible legacy to future generations, or to the next occupants of this planet, is already being constructed. As we begin our incredible journey down the path of eternity, Gregory Benford masterfully calls forth some of the intriguing, astounding, undreamed -- of futures which may await us in deep time.Human civilization has evolved to the point at which we have begun consciously sending messages into the far future. How should we communicate who we are, what we know, to as-yet-unmet intelligent beings elsewhere in both time and space? Will they be able to decipher what we say? And what information will we leave to Earth's occupants a million years hence? How can we address an unknown destiny in which human culture itself may no longer exist?Combining the logical rigor of a scientist with the lyrical beauty of a novelist, Gregory Benford explores these and other fascinating questions in a provocative analysis of humanity's attempts t make its culture immortal, to cross the immense gulf that such deep-time messages must span in order to be understood. In clear, crisp language, he confronts our growing influence on events hundreds of thousands of years into the future, and explores the possible "messages' we may transmit to our distant descendants in the language of the planet itself-from nuclear waste to global warming to the extinction of species.

Review:

Physicist and science fiction author Gregory Benford says there are two main impulses behind human efforts to communicate with future societies. The first, "High Church," shouts beauty, ego, and awe across the millennia: See how amazing our pyramid-building skills were? The Seven Wonders of the World would fall into this category--if they had lasted. Monuments, cathedrals, tombs, anything that says, "This great object meant something to us." On a much more mundane (and human) level is the "Kilroy" impulse: I lived! You needn't look hard to find evidence of this temporal communication: graffiti is as old as humanity, and latter-day taggers are following in the footsteps of Greek mercenaries (who left their names all over Egyptian monuments, Lord Byron (who carved his name into the Temple of Poseidon), and legions of anonymous ancient scribblers.

So, humans want and are able to communicate (wordlessly and otherwise) over thousands of years. But, asks Benford, can we accurately convey information over millions of years, or longer? We may need to do just that in order to responsibly protect future beings from our current, long-reaching messages--nuclear waste, climate change, extinction of species. Benford was part of a team of artists and scientists trying to come up with ways of saying "WARNING" to humans (or other beings) in the distant future. Deep Time is a fascinating look at the nature of communication and the future implications of things we do today. It's a terrifically intelligent, detailed, and comprehensive long view, with a message sorely needed by short-lived, but brainy, humans. --Therese Littleton

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