Based in Australia, the indestructible monolith will collect information about the downfall of civilisation, to help potential future inhabitants
Early next year, an indestructible ‘black box’ will be built in Australia to record civilisations’ self-destruction. The monolith will collect data about the steps we take towards climate catastrophe, with the hope of preventing future civilisations from making the same mistakes.
As reported by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the recorder will work in the same way as an aeroplane black box. It will collect two types of data, including “measurements of land and sea temperatures, ocean acidification, atmospheric CO2, species extinction, and land-use changes, as well as things like human population, military spending, and energy consumption”, and “contextual data” like newspaper headlines, social media posts, and key takeaways from climate events like COP.
Set to be built on remote land in Tasmania, the solar-power controlled device (which is, according to The Times, “the size of a bus”) will be filled with storage drives and have access to the internet, with batteries providing back-up power. Made from steel and granite, the box is intended to be indestructible, and can allegedly store nearly half a century’s worth of data.
“The idea is if the Earth does crash as a result of climate change, this indestructible recording device will be there for whoever’s left to learn from that,” Jim Curtis, a co-creator of the project, told ABC. “It’s also there to hold leaders to account – to make sure their action or inaction is recorded.” Curtis works with marketing communications company Clemenger BBDO, which is developing the non-commercial black box with the University of Tasmania and art collective the Glue Society.
The creators themselves can’t say what will happen if civilisation does self-destruct and someone from the future finds the box. “It’s impossible to anticipate who or what will find it,” they told ABC. “But it can be assumed that it will not be of any use unless it is discovered by someone or something… with the capability of understanding and interpreting basic symbolism.”
“We are exploring the possibility of including an electronic reader that stays within the box and will be activated upon exposure to sunlight, also reactivating the box if it has entered a long-term dormant state as a result of catastrophe,” they continued.
The box is already recording, but will be officially up and running next year. Those interested in observing its data bank will be able to see collected information online after its launch. Anyone visiting the monolith will reportedly be able to wirelessly connect to it – though the developers haven’t confirmed why.
You can read more about Earth’s black box here.