New Modality Catalyst:
Alexander Rose is The New Modality's resident combat robot specialist and one of our Catalysts. Here's more about him:
Zander, what's your favorite bio of yourself?
Here you go: "Alexander is an industrial designer and executive director of The Long Now Foundation, which focuses on promoting long-term thinking. He founded The Interval — a cafe, bar, and home of The Long Now Foundation — and he facilitated a range of the Long Now's projects including The Rosetta Project (an archive of all documented languages), Long Bets (an arena for acountable predictions), the monthly Seminars About Long Term Thinking, Long Server (software projects supporting digital continuity), and others.
"Alexander writes about building artifacts and institutions that last and is building an all-mechanical 10,000 Year Clock with computer scientist Danny Hillis. He graduated with a bachelor of arts honors degree from Carnegie Mellon University in Industrial Design in 01995, and attended the Art Center College of Design. After that, he was an artist in residence at Silicon Graphics Inc., and a founding partner of the robotics company Inertia Labs.
"Alexander's combat robots have won over six world championship titles, appearing in the hit TV show BattleBots. He has built large pyrotechnic displays for the Burning Man festival, robotic bartenders, and other dangerous machines. Alexander was a world champion paintball player holding multiple world titles with his team the Ironmen from 1990 through 1995. At Carnegie Mellon University, Alexander was the lead designer for a record-setting human powered vehicle team.
"Alexander lives in California on the Sausalito waterfront and enjoys mountain biking, climbing, and mountaineering whenever he can get out."
“I have been thinking about new forms of higher education where a cohort of students gather in an amazing city under a mentor or two to create their own college degree. ”
What are some of your own favorite past projects? Why do you feel great about them?
The Clock of the Long Now — a clock that will last ten thousand years — has been the professional project I've worked on for over two decades. I am always amazed at the type of people that are attracted to work on it, both incredible engineers, but also people interested in art and philosophy.
My BattleBot (Bronco) is, in a way, the a polar opposite of the Clock project, designed to create a spectacle for only three minutes.
The Interval was a passion project to create a new type of gathering space here in San Francisco — the place where new types of conversations happen.
What’s a specific project that you’re excited about *right now*? (It can be yours, or someone else’s.)
The latest project that I'm starting now with The Long Now Foundation is called The Continuity Project: How Organizations Last. We are beginning the research — both for ourselves, and to publish more broadly — about what are the reasons and methods that some of the world's oldest organizations, practices, and even natural systems have persisted.
What's a relatively small, highly achievable dream of a better world that you sometimes think about but haven't done yet?
I have been thinking about new forms of higher education, where a cohort of students gather in an amazing city under a mentor or two to create their own college degree. They could all take the required classes together through online lectures, but then work with a mentor to craft their full degree. This way, they get the socialization of college, and the social pressure to help them complete classes and have discussions, but almost none of the oppressive overhead.
What are your favorite links that will help our audience learn about you, your life, your work, and your values?
New Modality Catalysts
The New Modality is about experiments in culture — and the people who do those experiments. NewMo Catalysts are people who do things we admire and want to celebrate. They also help us stay accountable to our values. To learn more about NewMo Catalysts (or nominate someone to be a Catalyst), check out the Catalyst FAQ.
This profile was edited by Michael J. Coren. Michael is a journalist focused on business, technology, and science — especially climate science — living in San Francisco. More about him at his NewMo profile
The information in our Catalyst profiles usually comes directly from the subjects, and we usually don't fact-check them. You can learn more about The New Modality's fact-checking and epistemological ideas by reading the page about our process for truth and transparency.