Have you ever imagined how life would look in a thousand years, like the land you are on right now? Try imagining how that exact piece of land will look a thousand years in the future! Well, those living in the year 3023 will be able to know due to the Millennium camera, changing the way humanity can conceptualize the future.
The device, created by Jonathan Keats, an experimental philosopher at the University of Arizona, will take the world’s longest photo-recording span over a thousand years. Specifically, it will show the people living in Arizona in 3023 what has changed over the centuries. The design of the camera is a pinhole camera, invented about 1,000 years ago, while the camera consists of a steel pole with a cylinder made of copper on the top. When light comes in through the cylinder, it goes through a small hole in a sheet made of 24-carat gold. Then it moves onto the surface that has been painted with rose madder, an oil paint pigment. Over the centuries, the light that travels in will fade the surface that was coated in rose madder. When the picture is finally revealed, the parts that have not been changed will be clearer, while the stagnant parts will stay blurry.
This camera is placed on a hiking trail on Tumamoc Hill which overlooks Tucson, Arizona. It is purposely set next to a bench so that it motivates the hikers to pause their hike, take a seat, and imagine what the future might hold for the landscape.
Keats says that: “Most people have a pretty bleak outlook on what lies ahead. It’s easy to imagine that people in 1,000 years could see a version of Tucson that is far worse than what we see today, but the fact that we can imagine it is not a bad thing.” Of course, as with any ambitious project, he acknowledges that this might not work.
The purpose of this project is to motivate the people living currently to take care of our planet and to show the people in 3023 how much the world changed over the last thousand years. The people in 3023 can even reflect on if these changes were positive or negative and what their impact on the environment was. This project can be very encouraging, especially when it comes to inspiring us to take better care of our planet. If individuals were to gain knowledge about this camera, then they can imagine how the future will be and make better decisions that support environmental preservation. If we had a project like this a thousand years ago, it would have been eye-opening to be able to see how the world changed over the centuries!