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Programs

The Next Thousand Years
Television Series

 

HOME | OVERVIEW | PARTICIPATING SCHOLARS | QUOTES FROM SCHOLARS

WORKSHOPS 1 2 3 | EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH

 

Overview

Can we predict the future? No. But perhaps, for the very first time, we can make an attempt to look at the past and the current trends in human cultural development and gain some insights into the possible directions that humanity might take in the next thousand years. Advances in scientific fields as varied as medicine, genetics and genetic engineering, biology, ecology, nanotechnology, robotics, space exploration, and cosmology continue to push back the frontiers of human knowledge. These advances are allowing scientists to project trends and speculate about the future with a greater degree of confidence than ever before.

For the first time in human history, we may actually be able to see patterns that suggest some directions our human future may take. The Foundation For the Future is inaugurating an ambitious and exciting new program – a major television series entitled The Next Thousand Years – to address these trends and uncover these insights.

The television series will take us on a tour of the possible long-term future of our species, led by some of the greatest scholars of our time. Imagine the television series Carl Sagan might create if he were alive to update Cosmos today. Imagine a guided tour of the future led by social and physical scientists, artists, and philosophers who spend their lives working to understand the possibilities for the future of our species. Imagine an entertaining, fact-based journey through the eyes of some of the most brilliant minds on Earth today.

Concept

The concept for The Next Thousand Years television series grew out of the work of the Foundation For the Future’s Humanity 3000 Program. Humanity 3000 brings together some of the most prominent thinkers on our planet each year to discuss and debate the critical factors that may have significant impact on the long-term future of humanity.

Nearly 200 scholars from around the world have participated in the Foundation’s seminars, workshops, and symposia. These scholars have included leading thinkers from a wide range of scientific, social, and artistic fields from many different cultures around the world.

Our purpose is not to predict the future, or even to plan for any specific future. Our purpose is to bring together the best minds on the Earth from different fields of human endeavor to discuss trends in science and technology, and human cultural development. Our goal is to document the scholarly discussions in print, in video, and on the Internet, and to assemble a permanent archival record of these discussions for posterity. In the process of reviewing the videotaped conversations of our past events, it became evident that the scholars’ ideas and their views of the thousand-year future of humanity would make an exciting, educational, thought-provoking, science-based television series. And that’s how The Next Thousand Years project was born.

The Next Thousand Years television series will leverage the resources of the Foundation For the Future to create a major international television project that will incorporate the themes of the Humanity 3000 Program and involve the majority of scholars who participate in Foundation For the Future activities.

Quotes from Scholars

The Foundation has established a Scholar Advisory Board for the television series. The Board will participate in the development of the project and recommend experts in different fields who will be invited to participate in program episodes. Here is a link to excerpts from some of the letters we have received from scholars so far: [Quotes]

Television Programs

The television series is planned to comprise four one-hour programs, envisioned below. These program concepts are not yet finalized and will be modified and changed based on suggestions and recommendations from the project’s Scholar Advisory Board.

Program 1: Earth and Beyond. Covering the broad sweep of time from the Big Bang to the rise of humanity, this program will examine human-Earth interactions that pose questions concerning the long-term livability of the planet, then discuss the evolution of the solar system and natural catastrophes that might threaten the planet such as asteroid strikes and gamma ray bursts, space travel, and the role of humans in the universe.

Program 2: The Future Human. This program evaluates the potential for changing humans in yet-unforeseen ways through advances in genetics and germline engineering, cloning, nanotechnology, etc. Issues related to the future of medicine and possible further human speciation will be explored.

Program 3: The Evolution of Culture. With the human community as its scope, this program will consider such subjects as conscious evolution, the impact of globalization, and the future of culture conflict.

Program 4: The Horizons of Knowledge. The final program in the series examines what is likely to happen to human thought in the future, discussing subjects such as the evolution of human intelligence, scientific and religious views of the world, new forms of education, and the development of artificial intelligence.

TV Series Scholarship

The Foundation’s intent is to ensure that The Next Thousand Years television series will not only represent diverse cultural views of reality, but also incorporate the most rigorous scholarship in presenting those views. While the underpinnings of this television series are science based, some programs will contrast our scientific understanding of the natural world with religious and animistic beliefs to show how different cultures and different ethnic groups approach reality and envision the future in different ways.

Each program in the series will have its own editorial advisory team of scholars who will review program scripts for content and accuracy. Each program will have its own producer, its own writing team, and a rigorous scholarship base.

Production Workshops

The Foundation plans to hold a production workshop for each of the programs in the series. These workshops will bring together scholars, segment producers, and scriptwriters who will work together to develop scripts that are dramatic, educational, and entertaining. The workshops are intended to flesh out the most salient topics on the subjects at hand. The participating scholars in each workshop will select what they believe are the most important subject areas to be covered, identify the scholars who should be interviewed on camera, identify significant past events that should be dramatically reenacted to add historical drama, identify which locations around the world should be filmed to help tell a compelling story, and identify the most important visions of the future that should be simulated by computer graphics.

Producers and scriptwriters attending these workshops will be armed with lists of questions to be answered by the program scholars. Scriptwriters will stay in contact with their program editorial advisory teams for ongoing feedback on content and accuracy. Program scripts will go through a scholarship review process before they are finalized for production.

Scholar Interviews

The series will include on-camera interviews with dozens of scholars, scientists, technologists, and researchers involved in assessing the past biological and cultural evolution of humanity, evaluating current worldwide cultural activities, and discussing trends that might give insight into the possible future directions our species might take.

Location Filming

The series will be filmed at many locations throughout the world. Filming will take place at the institutions and laboratories where cutting-edge research is under way in numerous fields of human endeavor, from medical research and genetic engineering to the life and physical sciences, robotics, artificial intelligence, cosmology, space exploration, and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.

Dramatic Reenactments

The series will stage and film dramatic reenactments of historical events that have changed the course of human cultural development during the past several tens of thousands of years. These glimpses of significant events in the past will give us some perspectives on where we might be headed in the next thousand years.

TV Series Schedule

The Next Thousand Years television series is expected to take four phases to plan and produce. The first phase is dedicated to project planning. Key activities during this phase are writing the master project plan, including drafting program treatments, identifying and recruiting scholar consultants, identifying potential co-production companies, completing a demonstration reel and series presentation materials, developing budgets and schedules, and identifying and negotiating with potential funding sources.

The second phase will be dedicated to pre-production planning. During this phase, the Foundation will raise financing, conclude co-production agreements, hire program producers and writers, conduct four program workshops with consulting scholars and writers, identify interviewees and shooting locations, decide on dramatic segment re-creations, identify and write computer graphic animations for each program, write and review program scripts, set up logistics for shooting locations, and prepare detailed program budgets and shooting schedules.

The third phase will be dedicated to production and post-production. Filming and post-production on the four programs are expected to take two years. The fourth phase will be broadcast or cablecast of the series.

Advisors and Consultants

The Foundation has established a Scholar Advisory Board for the series, and is constituting teams of consulting scholars for the four programs. Nearly 75 prominent scholars from around the world have already agreed to participate in the project.

Educational Outreach Program

An extensive educational outreach program is planned for The Next Thousand Years television project, featuring an interactive website and the development of high school- and college-level curriculum materials from the resources created for the series. In addition, biennial television program updates are anticipated, based on the continuing activities of the Foundation’s Humanity 3000 Program.

Additional Information

If you wish to obtain additional information on The Next Thousand Years television series, please email:


Chairperson of The Next Thousand Years Scholar Advisory Board
Coordinator of Scholar Activities and Program Workshops


Project Administrator