Laura Welcher


Laura Welcher, Ph.D. is a linguist with interests in the future of human communication, and how it will be mediated by technology. She is currently works at The Long Now Foundation where she is Director of Operations and The Long Now Library. One of the Long Now Library projects she has worked on the most extensively is The Rosetta Project, an effort to gather documentation on the world's nearly 7,000 languages, and create an archival backup of the collection—The Rosetta Disk—that can last and be readable for thousands of years, a purpose-built "Rosetta Stone" for the future.

Principles and practices for long-term communication and archiving are important for METI, since interstellar messages may not receive a reply for tens, hundreds, or even thousands of years depending on where messages are directed. There are many challenges in designing meaningful messages for intelligent beings that are different from ourselves. There are also challenges, perhaps less extreme but still very real, in creating messages that are accessible and meaningful to humans that are not ourselves, but our descendants in the deep future.