Yesterday’s post about SETI was in the works since last week. Soon after it went live, I found out about SETIstars, the SETI Institute’s effort to raise $200,000 so they can get the Allen Telescope Array out of hibernation and back online. And soon after that I was contacted by SETI’s PR firm, who requested some of A Life’s Work footage of the ATA in case some press outlet is looking for moving images. I was happy to provide it, for the folks at SETI who have been so generous to me.
I like the crowdfunding idea, and I think this could be a good way for SETI to get the ATA up and running again. But I think what really needs to happen is something bigger. What needs to happen is a shift from, you guessed it, short-term to long-term thinking. SETI is engaged in an activity that is pushing the limits of today’s technology.
Think of the 1960s space program. The space race, whatever its sinister basis, resulted in an innovation explosion (it had nothing to do with that weather balloon that crashed in Roswell, really). People who are in the position to fund endeavors like SETI (governments, corporations, the SuperRich) would do well, by their constituents, shareholders and legacy, to think not in terms of quarters or fiscal years, but in terms of decades and centuries.
It’s simple: not supporting ventures like SETI, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, Arcosanti, and Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is detrimental to our future.
Okay, stepping off the soapbox now.
Here’s an article in Wired about SETIstars.