5 Ways We’re Attempting to Communicate With the Future
It would be pretty sweet to be able to pick up some sort of temporal telephone and give the future a call. For life-changing science like the cure for cancer, or checking how that whole global warming thing shakes out, sure, but also just to ask the big-brained rulers of the future if Ligma is still around. For better or for worse (likely better, if it turns out anything like most movies), we’re still light-years away from any sort of time travel.
That said, we do have ways of communicating with the future, it’s just that the messages are sent at the exact speed of, well, time. We can’t call their cell, but we can leave notes on the fridge and hope the adhesive holds up for a couple of millennia. Now, whether all the effort will be worth it or these time capsules are melting down along with the rest of our planet in inevitable heat death before ever being dug up, that’s left in fate’s hands. Regardless, our current generation is pretty heavily invested in leaving some mementos for the future. Such as…
The Crypt of Civilization
It might be a scientific pursuit, but whoever named this thing definitely had a flair from the dramatic. It sounds like a riff-heavy stoner metal album, not a sterile time capsule, but a time capsule it is. The largest in the world, in fact, something that’s more of a hermetically sealed, 200-square-foot room than something as quaint as a “capsule.” The footage isn’t the only above-average number involved, either. Most time capsules are built with a couple decades or a century or two of dormancy in mind. Sealed in 1940, the date this particular crypt’s contents are set to drop is the year 8113.
It contains everything from the expected records of historical events and figures, to household appliances, to a phonograph with English lessons in case the Queen’s tongue is long dead. It was created by a historian named Thornwell Jacobs who was frustrated at how little we knew about the daily goings-on of ancient civilizations who weren’t thinking ahead far enough to take notes. Being that it was created in 1940 by a man named Thornwell Jacobs, it’s also accidentally a crash-course in racism for future folks.
The Voyager Golden Record
This next entry might not reside anywhere on Planet Earth, but given that we weren’t expecting it to be scooped up anytime soon, any communication it provides will likely be far in the future. This is the golden record that was sent into space on the Voyager in 1977. It’s not just the playlist etched in that contains information, either. This thing is packed chock-full of messages from the past, down to the cover art that features an IKEA-like pictorial guide to decoding the record, as well as a bit of uranium that could be used to tell how old it is when someone finally snags it.
The actual collection of bangers contained within the record is extensive. After some encoded images in binary, spoken greetings in dozens of languages and “sounds of the planet” (read: ASMR for aliens), the record dives directly into an earth-wide rock block. It’s an eclectic mix, as expected, that covers everything from traditional tribal music to Bach and even, no joke, “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry.
Hey, if we go ass-up before we ever get to talk to aliens, at least the universe will be treated to some sick riffs.
If the golden record ever is discovered by an alien or future civilization, at least we gave them a good spread of music, making it more likely they’ll find at least something they like. Another piece of media that’s been time-locked is a little more confident in itself, and we’ll unfortunately be dead before we ever find out if that was wise. I’m talking about the movie 100 Years, which is currently locked behind bulletproof glass until its inaugural viewing in 2115.
Even weirder is that this isn’t some sort of record of the times, a recording of the happenings and people of our era to be reviewed by a future audience for great knowledge. It’s instead a sci-fi film directed by Robert Rodriguez. Because if there’s one thing that ages well, it’s a movie that relies on lots of special effects. Of course, it could be such a great movie that it ascends beyond any obsolete bits of movie magic. It could also be an absolute bona-fide stinker. It’s up to our kids, and Rotten Tomatoes 2.0, to figure that out.
Svalbard Global Seed Vault
No, this isn’t a building infiltrated by James Bond in a high-budget porn parody. It’s instead a scientific safeguard stored away on the island of Spitsbergen in Norway. What’s both stored and protected here isn’t information, per se, but instead something that, with each passing day, seems smarter to squirrel away: seeds. For nearly a million different types of crops, including 200,000 different varieties of rice alone.
The United Nations started planning to save relevant seeds in 1996, and in 2004, they officially established the Crop Trust to make it happen. Ecologically, given how things are tilting, it seems like a pretty prescient decision. Thanks to a lot of advance effort, money and an island with the approximate temperature of a witch’s tit, future populations are protected against the sad possibility of life without fried rice.
Graffiti of Dicks
Look, it may not be as pretty or as scientifically valuable (outside of some very specific biological knowledge) as the rest of the things on this list, but the fact is, graffiti sticks around just as long as walls do. We’ve uncovered enough ancient wall pieces to know that they tend to stand the test of time. So who’s to say that someday, a future archaeologist won’t be using his vibro-duster to reveal the throbbing shaft of a spray-painted penis on the wall of what used to be known as “Brooklyn”?
They’ll also probably assume, based on murals, that the Notorious B.I.G. was an actual and mighty king — and hey, they’re not that far off.