A language to alert humans of the future

Dr. Thomas A. Sebeok, of the Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies at Indiana University, never imagined the request the Ohio Office of Nuclear Waste Isolation would make to him: to build a language system to warn people of 10000 years in the future of the places where potentially hazardous nuclear waste is buried.

Professor Sebeok devised an extremely ingenious communication system. Geni.com

The problem is the impossibility of creating a communicative system immutable for so long. What did he come up with? Turn to superstition and myth. Sebeok pointed out that possibly a myth, a curse added to those sites, like the curses of Egyptian tombs, could survive long enough to sow the necessary distrust in the people of the future to avoid these places.

To ensure the survival of this system, he suggested the creation of a “nuclear priesthood” made up of physicists, philologists and semioticians who, in the role of the former priests, would be responsible for spreading and updating the myth from generation to generation. Despite being a brilliant idea, it was rejected and the problem remains.

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