• San Francisco opens forward-thinking cafe and meeting place for futurists

    2014-06-13

    San Francisco is a United States travel hotspot, largely thanks to its diversity. The city has something to offer to any visitor, whether they're on a business trip or a family travel outing. This summer it's catering to a crowd that so far doesn't even have a market niche - futurist travelers.

    Technology companies have been a large, and sometimes controversial, part of the lifestyle of San Francisco for a long time now. The city's inclusive culture and high concentration of wealthy young people bring in tech heads of all types, even drawing employees away from Silicon Valley, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

    Thinking ahead
    Suiting its technology-friendly reputation and openness to new ideas, San Francisco is home to what may be the only futurist cafe around. Based in the Fort Mason Center, a former military complex, the Interval is a venture by the Long Now Foundation, also headquartered in the building. The Long Now Foundation is an organization that seeks to encourage global sustainability by encouraging people to think on a much longer timescale. Specifically, its founders want others to think about how their actions might affect civilization throughout the next 10,000 years, according to the organization's website. To that end, members of the Long Now Foundation also write dates in a way that expresses their belief in the 10,000-year timescale. For example, the Interval's website says that the bar opened in June of 02014

    A repository for the future
    Part of the Interval's mission is to serve as a gateway to the Long Now Foundation's ideas. The bar features a library called the Manual for Civilization, which will eventually consist of around 3,500 books, including literary masterpieces, works of futurism and technical books on engineering and civics. They were selected for their usefulness in "sustaining and rebuilding civilization" by Long Now's board and members. According to The New York Times Style Magazine, 1,000 books have already been collected. The Interval will also hold lectures catering to the futurist crowd.

    The bar also features art by composer Brian Eno, a member of the Long Now Foundation. He has created an ambient soundtrack for the space that will evolve over time based on generative algorithms. Eno will provide visual art created by a similar method, with ever-changing displays of light. According to the Long Now blog, the work is the only one of its kind on permanent display anywhere in the world.

    Of course, it would not be much of a cafe without drinks, but so far the Interval has not revealed a menu. However, plans are in the works to staff the bar with another first - a robotic barista.

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