Douglas Engelbart

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pages: 193 words: 19,478

Memory Machines: The Evolution of Hypertext by Belinda Barnet

augmented reality, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bill Duvall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, game design, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, John Markoff, linked data, mandelbrot fractal, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, publish or perish, Robert Metcalfe, semantic web, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, Vannevar Bush, wikimedia commons

Time to do things like roam around Brown University gathering documents and stories from Andries van Dam and the Hypertext Editing System (HES) team; time to rummage through the Vannevar Bush archives at the Library of Congress looking for interesting correspondence; time to interview Doug Engelbart and feel embarrassingly starstruck; and time to travel to Keio University in Japan to meet Ted Nelson. I also had time to ponder how it all might fit together, and more deeply, if it is even possible to say that a technical system ‘evolves’. What, exactly, am I tracing the path of here? In one of those delightful recursive feedback loops that punctuates any history, I discovered that Doug Engelbart is also concerned with how technology evolves over time – so concerned, in fact, that he constructed his own ‘framework’ to explain it. Inspired, I went off and xx Memory Machines interviewed one of the world’s most eminent palaeontologists, Niles Eldredge, and asked him what he thought about technical evolution.

(van Dam 1999) As we now know, however, in less than a decade journalists (and executives) would be typing on computer keyboards. In late 1968 van Dam finally met Doug Engelbart and attended a demonstration of NLS at the Fall Joint Computer Conference. As we explored in Chapter 4, this was a landmark presentation in the history of computing, and the audience, comprised of several thousand engineers and scientists, witnessed innovations such as the use of hypertext, the computer ‘mouse’ and screen, and telecollaboration on shared files via video conferencing for the first time. The NLS demo was celebrated in December of 2008 at its 40th anniversary with almost all of the original team led by Doug Engelbart on stage and Andries van Dam as the outsider commentator. 106 Memory Machines The Hypertext Editing System (HES) IBM 2250 Display console at Brown University.

From 1968 on, research into hypertext systems focused not on the creation of personal devices, but on distributed systems. The technology of networked communication became the early stages of the Internet. Doug Engelbart’s NLS was one of the first nodes in the fabled ARPANET, which eventually spread its wires around the globe to become the Internet. However, as van Dam observed in an interview with the author: I don’t think […] that any of us truly envisioned that you could have what we have today, because the issues of interoperability just seemed far more insurmountable in those days. We didn’t have networks with the kind of bandwidth that you do today. So, I certainly never foresaw the World Wide Web. It surprised me. (van Dam 1999) Van Dam says he didn’t foresee the Web; neither he nor Doug Engelbart could have imagined where their technologies would lead. But it is undeniable HES became the first working example of hypertext on commercial equipment, and in that sense Nelson believes it became an image of potentiality for future hypertext technologies.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

Intertwingled: The Work and Influence of Ted Nelson (History of Computing) by Douglas R. Dechow

3D printing, Apple II, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, cognitive dissonance, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, game design, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, pre–internet, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, software studies, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

Again, this was at a time when the whole idea of text on a screen was seen as a waste of processing power, let alone bizarre “nonsequential” text. In 1965, unless you were working on Doug Engelbart’s team or could afford a system with video-type display (Nelson reasons it “would cost less than a secretary” in his paper, at $37,000 in 1965 money, which would be a well-paid secretary), computers were expensive things with more important jobs to do. For most organisations they still didn’t have screens. I should also stress that, in 1965, text was not data—it was something academics and journalists manipulated with typewriters. As Doug Engelbart told me in 1999, the whole concept of a human being sitting in an interactive feedback loop with a computer, manipulating symbols on a screen, was foreign to most people in the 1960s.It was wacky even in the seventies, when we had it working–real hypermedia, real groupware working.

Ted Nelson Frode Hegland1 (1)10 Elm Lodge, SW6 6NZ London, UK Frode Hegland Email: frode@hegland.com 12.1 Introduction I’d like to talk about Ted the man, limits, connections, some pretty broad history, all leading up to why I believe Ted is limitless. I was born in Norway. Land of vikings, socially connected politics. Ancestral home of Ted Nelson and Doug Engelbart. A land of fjords. For me the picture has changed to a view of the Thames. I now live in London, greatest city in the world, but I won’t go on and on about that. What I do: I’m a software developer in the school of Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson. To me, interactivity is paramount – that’s what all my work is about. My main project and product is Liquid, which allows you to do useful things directly to selected text in any Mac OS X application. The idea is that when you come across something that sparks your interest, you can act on it immediately, without any real thought or effort.

Hugo’s Book Service, Chicago 9. Nelson TH (1993) Literary machines. Mindful Press, Sausalito 10. Nelson TH (2010) Possiplex: movies, intellect, creative control, my computer life and the fight for civilization. n.p., available at Lulu: http://​www.​lulu.​com/​shop/​ted-nelson/​possiplex/​paperback/​product-14925222.​html 11. Nelson TH (2013) Eulogy for Douglas Engelbart. Speech at Technology legend: honoring Douglas Engelbart, computer history museum, mountain view California, December 9th 2013. http://​www.​youtube.​com/​watch?​v=​FNCCkhADpiw 12. Smith LC (1991) Memex as an image of potentiality revisited. In: Nyce J, Kahn P (eds) From memex to hypertext: vannevar bush and the mind’s machine. Academic, London, pp 261–286 13. Wolf G (1995) The curse of Xanadu. Wired 3(6). http://​www.​wired.​com/​wired/​archive/​3.​06/​xanadu.​html 14.


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What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry by John Markoff

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, California gold rush, card file, computer age, computer vision, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, different worldview, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, general-purpose programming language, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hypertext link, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Mahatma Gandhi, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Robert X Cringely, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The previous year, he had introduced the idea of an all-magnetic computer at an industry technical conference and now was planning to deliver a report on the group’s work at the Philadelphia meeting. His traveling companion, Douglas Engelbart, was a member of Crane’s small team of engineers that was exploring magnetic storage and magnetic computing systems. The two men frequently socialized and were both devotees of Greek folk dancing, which they performed in their homes on the Midpeninsula. Yet Engelbart presented special managerial headaches for Crane. A dreamy engineer with a mind of his own, Doug Engelbart was not an easy person to control. He had joined the group in 1957, and though he recognized that he had to earn his keep by working on SRI projects, he had arrived with his own agenda: a scheme for building a machine to “augment” human intelligence.

“UC Student on Strike Over ROTC,” San Francisco Chronicle, October 20, 1959. 2 | Augmentation 1.Don Nielsen, SRI vice president, personal communication, November 4, 2001. 2.Draft paper, 1961, Douglas C. Engelbart Collection, Stanford Special Libraries, Stanford University. 3.Memo, March 14, 1961, Douglas C. Engelbart Collection, Stanford Special Library, Stanford University. 4.Doug Engelbart, “The Augmented Knowledge Workshop,” in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on the History of Personal Workstations, ed. Adele Goldberg (New York: ACM, 1988), p. 190. 5.D. C. Engelbart, “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework,” prepared for Director of Information Sciences, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, October 1962, p. 5. 6.Ibid., p. 6. 7.Douglas Engelbart, oral history, interview by John Eklund, Division of Computers, Information, and Society, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute, May 4, 1994. http://americanhistory.si.edu/csr/comphist/englebar.htm. 8.Oral history, interview by Lowood and Adams. 9.M.

Computers until then were hulking behemoths deemed useful for large organizational tasks, ranging from check processing to calculating missile trajectories. Doug Engelbart realized that computing could be more than data processing. Previously, teams of humans had served a single computer; now, the computer would become a personal assistant. The notion flowed directly from Vannevar Bush’s Memex, and Xerox researcher Alan Kay’s Dynabook—a fantasy concept of a powerful, wirelessly networked portable computer—was to embody the idea a decade later. Indeed, it has become one of the enduring touchstones of Silicon Valley, and it was born in Doug Engelbart’s search for ways to elevate the power of the human mind. In the 1962 report, he also described a writing machine that would dramatically alter the process of working with ideas.


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The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution by Walter Isaacson

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Debian, desegregation, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Norman Macrae, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Terrell, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, wikimedia commons, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The best account of Engelbart is Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Co-evolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford, 2000). This section also draws on Douglas Engelbart oral history (four sessions), conducted by Judy Adams and Henry Lowood, Stanford, http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/hasrg/histsci/ssvoral/engelbart/start1.html; Douglas Engelbart oral history, conducted by Jon Eklund, the Smithsonian Institution, May 4, 1994; Christina Engelbart, “A Lifetime Pursuit,” a biographical sketch written in 1986 by his daughter, http://www.dougengelbart.org/history/engelbart.html#10a; “Tribute to Doug Engelbart,” a series of reminiscences by colleagues and friends, http://tribute2doug.wordpress.com/; Douglas Engelbart interviews, in Valerie Landau and Eileen Clegg, The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas Engelbart (Next Press, 2009) and http://engelbartbookdialogues.wordpress.com/; The Doug Engelbart Archives (includes many videos and interviews), http://dougengelbart.org/library/engelbart-archives.html; Susan Barnes, “Douglas Carl Engelbart: Developing the Underlying Concepts for Contemporary Computing,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, July 1997; Markoff, What the Dormouse Said, 417; Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, 110; Bardini, Bootstrapping, 138. 23.

This section also draws on Douglas Engelbart oral history (four sessions), conducted by Judy Adams and Henry Lowood, Stanford, http://www-sul.stanford.edu/depts/hasrg/histsci/ssvoral/engelbart/start1.html; Douglas Engelbart oral history, conducted by Jon Eklund, the Smithsonian Institution, May 4, 1994; Christina Engelbart, “A Lifetime Pursuit,” a biographical sketch written in 1986 by his daughter, http://www.dougengelbart.org/history/engelbart.html#10a; “Tribute to Doug Engelbart,” a series of reminiscences by colleagues and friends, http://tribute2doug.wordpress.com/; Douglas Engelbart interviews, in Valerie Landau and Eileen Clegg, The Engelbart Hypothesis: Dialogs with Douglas Engelbart (Next Press, 2009) and http://engelbartbookdialogues.wordpress.com/; The Doug Engelbart Archives (includes many videos and interviews), http://dougengelbart.org/library/engelbart-archives.html; Susan Barnes, “Douglas Carl Engelbart: Developing the Underlying Concepts for Contemporary Computing,” IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, July 1997; Markoff, What the Dormouse Said, 417; Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture, 110; Bardini, Bootstrapping, 138. 23. Douglas Engelbart oral history, Stanford, interview 1, Dec. 19, 1986. 24. The Life excerpt, Sept. 10, 1945, was heavily illustrated with drawings of the proposed memex. (The issue also had aerial photographs of Hiroshima after the dropping of the atom bomb.) 25. Douglas Engelbart oral history, Smithsonian, 1994. 26. Douglas Engelbart oral history, Stanford, interview 1, Dec. 19, 1986. 27.

Landau and Clegg, The Engelbart Hypothesis. 28. Douglas Engelbart oral history, Stanford, interview 1, Dec. 19, 1986. 29. The quote is from Nilo Lindgren, “Toward the Decentralized Intellectual Workshop,” Innovation, Sept. 1971, quoted in Howard Rheingold, Tools for Thought (MIT, 2000), 178. See also Steven Levy, Insanely Great (Viking, 1994), 36. 30. Douglas Engelbart oral history, Stanford, interview 3, Mar. 4, 1987. 31. Douglas Engelbart, “Augmenting Human Intellect,” prepared for the director of Information Sciences, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Oct. 1962. 32. Douglas Engelbart to Vannevar Bush, May 24, 1962, MIT/Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium, archives, http://www.dougengelbart.org/events/vannevar-bush-symposium.html. 33. Douglas Engelbart oral history, Stanford, interview 2, Jan. 14, 1987. 34.


Possiplex by Ted Nelson

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Bill Duvall, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, cuban missile crisis, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, HyperCard, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Murray Gell-Mann, nonsequential writing, pattern recognition, post-work, RAND corporation, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Vannevar Bush, Zimmermann PGP

BROTHERS I actually have real brothers, but I’ll honor their privacy here. I have had a number of spiritual brothers, who form a part of this story for the inspirational effects they have had on me. TIM AND DOUG AND STAN Timothy Leary and Douglas Engelbart and Stan Dale have all spontaneously called me ‘brother’. I accept this with honor and pride. (That term of praise triangulates the coordinates of my soul, and almost makes the rest worthwhile.) DOUG ENGELBART ESPECIALLY Doug and I, Marlene and Karen have gotten like family. We have hung out in California, Japan and England. ST. DOUG ! The author and Douglas Engelbart on the patio of Doug's home, August 2010. Unretouched frame selected from video by Marlene Mallicoat; halo is optically authentic. Doug and I are bound by a shared dislike of how the world has veered from what we think is right, and we overlook our differences.

The history of the 21st Century may never be written. Surely the population collapse will come before that time. But can the outcome be better? Can better document systems help us, as Doug Engelbart hoped long ago, to solve the complex and urgent problems of today? Can we ever— • reduce the dangers of nuclear weapons? • create peace and justice in the middle east? • reduce pollution? • fight poverty and injustice? • slow population growth? • turn back global warming? • save the last rain forests? And on and on. I will not try to enumerate today’s global problems. These are the "complex urgent problems" Doug Engelbart warned us about long ago, which he unswervingly sought tools and methods to solve. (Doug's work was swept aside by paper simulation and the cult of fonts.) The Club of Rome said there was only one global problem, and they called it the Problématique.

For three years I had been keeping notes on file cards, and I already had a terrible problem with these notes. Many of my file cards belonged in several places at once— several different sequences or projects. Each card—call it now an entry or an item--*should be stored only once. Then each project or sequence would be a list of those items. Each entry would seem to be in each of its different projects, but it would only exist in one place, and the lists would point to it. * Or in Doug Engelbart’s terminology, a statement. Of course, you would also want to see (from each entry) its different contexts—its different transclusions-- and compare them side by side. This perfectly reasonable premise—being able to see all the contexts of re-use-- was to drive my work to the edge of madness, as recounted later. In hindsight, you could say that by bringing down the Xanadu project, this requirement can be said to have created the World Wide Web, in rather the same way that the assassination of Julius Caesar brought about Augustus.


pages: 431 words: 129,071

Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It's Doing to Us by Will Storr

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, bitcoin, computer age, correlation does not imply causation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, gig economy, greed is good, invisible hand, job automation, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, Lyft, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mortgage debt, Mother of all demos, Nixon shock, Peter Thiel, QWERTY keyboard, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Future of Employment, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, Travis Kalanick, twin studies, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

In fact, as we’re talking about Rand, this seems staggeringly unlikely. Book Six: The Digital Self A man, Doug Engelbart, appearing in a headset: My account of the story of Doug Engelbart, ARC, EST and Stewart Brand was mostly sourced from: What the Dormouse Said, John Markoff (Penguin, 2005); From Counterculture to Cyberculture, Fred Turner (University of Chicago Press, 2006); The Network Revolution, Jacques Vallee (Penguin, 1982); Bootstrapping, Thierry Bardini (Stanford University Press, 2000); ‘Chronicle of the Death of a Laboratory: Douglas Engelbart and the Failure of the Knowledge Workshop’, Thierry Bardini and Michael Friedewald, History of Technology (2003), 23, pp. 191–212; ‘Douglas Engelbart’s lasting legacy’, Tia O’Brien, Mercury News, 3 March 2013. A video of Engelbart’s presentation is widely available online.

‘There is an impression that Doug goes off in a corner and hatches ideas’ . . . etc.: Bootstrapping, Thierry Bardini (Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 198–200. Engelbart was treating his people like ‘laboratory animals’: ‘Chronicle of the Death of a Laboratory: Douglas Engelbart and the Failure of the Knowledge Workshop’, Thierry Bardini and Michael Friedewald, History of Technology (2003), 23, pp. 191–212, at p. 206. who raced back to his company, Apple Computer: Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson (Abacus, 2015), pp. 96–7. Engelbart recalled meeting Jobs in the 1980s: ‘Douglas Engelbart’s lasting legacy’, Tia O’Brien, Mercury News, 3 March 2013. Fred Turner, would archly note that: ‘Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, the book that changed the world’, Carole Cadwalladr, Guardian, 5 May 2013. In 1995, Brand told Time Magazine: As quoted in the exhibition ‘You Say You Want a Revolution?

If the ‘age of perfectionism’ is one filled with opportunities for us to feel like failures, then the rise of neoliberalism, the financial crisis and the harshly competitive world it’s all left us with is clearly a major part of it. But another is the internet and social media, which have become increasingly dominant, in our time, especially in the lives of the young. It’s in this milieu that the self-esteem generation has become the selfie generation. BOOK SIX The Digital Self Black screen. Polite applause. A man, Doug Engelbart, appearing in a headset. He wore a black tie, fastened high and tight; his eyes in shadow beneath heavy brows that gave him an air of distance and melancholy. Many of the technology experts in the audience considered Engelbart a ‘crackpot’. They had no idea he had, upon his desk that day, pieces of technology that were as if from a time machine. Engelbart was touching the future, and he was about to show them it.


pages: 459 words: 140,010

Fire in the Valley: The Birth and Death of the Personal Computer by Michael Swaine, Paul Freiberger

1960s counterculture, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Google Chrome, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Jony Ive, Loma Prieta earthquake, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, stealth mode startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog

In December 1968, the Fall Joint Computer Conference (FJCC) took place in San Francisco, and it included a presentation by Douglas Engelbart and his colleagues from what was then called the Stanford Research Institute, later SRI, in Menlo Park, a few miles up the peninsula from Cupertino. Engelbart, an angular man who spoke quietly and efficiently, took the stage decked out in microphone and headphones, and seated himself in front of a bizarre device that featured a keyboard and other odd implements. Behind him was a screen, on which much of the demonstration would play out. * * * Figure 70. The mother of all demos The input devices used by Douglas Engelbart at the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference when he put on “the mother of all demos” (Courtesy of Doug Engelbart) The demo was like opening a window into the future. It showed how a computer could deal with common chores like planning one’s tasks for the day.

And Engelbart controlled it all with an extraordinary device called a mouse that had an apparently telepathic link with a dot (they called it a “bug”) that moved around the screen, specifying where instructions would take effect. By using the “mouse,” Engelbart could click on a word and jump to another location in the document or to another document. * * * Figure 71. The first mouse Douglas Engelbart invented the mouse in 1964 as an input device. This first one was carved from a block of wood. (Courtesy of Doug Engelbart) The demonstration got even more interesting when Engelbart introduced one of his team members via a video/audio link. This man also sat in front of a device like Engelbart’s, and wore a microphone and headphones. Both he and Engelbart were in front of television cameras so they could speak to each other. And both, it soon became clear, could also work on the documents on Engelbart’s screen, taking turns controlling that telepathic bug, manipulating the document collaboratively in real time while talking and seeing one another in half of the split-screen display.

The demo anticipated many breakthroughs that wouldn’t reach computers for a generation. It included collapsible and expandable outline lists, text with embedded links to other documents as in web browsers today, a mouse, a one-handed chording keyboard that left one hand free for the mouse, and live video and audio conferencing with a user in another city. And this was in 1968. * * * Figure 72. Douglas Engelbart Tech visionary Engelbart holds his original wood-block mouse alongside a more modern descendant. (Courtesy of Doug Engelbart) Engelbart presented more innovation that day than most acknowledged greats of the field achieved in a lifetime, and he was still a young man. When he finished, the audience gave him a standing ovation. It was later called “the mother of all demos,” and the National Museum of American History (at the Smithsonian) has preserved elements of it.


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Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots by John Markoff

"Robert Solow", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, airport security, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, Asilomar, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Bill Duvall, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, call centre, cellular automata, Chris Urmson, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, data acquisition, Dean Kamen, deskilling, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, factory automation, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Grace Hopper, Gunnar Myrdal, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, hive mind, hypertext link, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of the wheel, Jacques de Vaucanson, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Kodak vs Instagram, labor-force participation, loose coupling, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, medical residency, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Rodney Brooks, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, semantic web, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Singularitarianism, skunkworks, Skype, social software, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, superintelligent machines, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tenerife airport disaster, The Coming Technological Singularity, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, zero-sum game

His concern for the thousands of maimed veterans coming back without limbs and with increasing the power and effectiveness of military decision-makers inspired him to push agency dollars into human augmentation projects as well as artificial intelligence. That meant robotic arms and legs for wounded soldiers, and an “admiral’s advisor,” a military version of what Doug Engelbart had set out to do in the 1960s with his vision of intelligence augmentation, or IA. The project was referred to as PAL, for Perceptive Assistant that Learns, and much of the research would be done at SRI International, which dubbed the project CALO, or Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes. It was ironic that Tether returned to the research agenda originally promoted during the mid-1960s by two visionary DARPA program managers, Robert Taylor and J. C. R. Licklider. It was also bittersweet, although few mentioned it, that despite Doug Engelbart’s tremendous early success in the early 1970s, his project had faltered and fallen out of favor at SRI. He ended up being shuffled off to a time-sharing company for commercialization, where his project sat relatively unnoticed and underfunded for more than a decade.

The central topic of this book is the dichotomy and the paradox inherent in the work of the designers who alternatively augment and replace humans in the systems they build. This distinction is clearest in the contrasting philosophies of Andy Rubin and Tom Gruber. Rubin was the original architect of Google’s robot empire and Gruber is a key designer of Apple’s Siri intelligent assistant. They are both among Silicon Valley’s best and brightest, and their work builds on that of their predecessors—Rubin mirrors John McCarthy and Gruber follows Doug Engelbart—to alternatively replace or augment humans. Today, both robotics and artificial intelligence software increasingly evoke memories of the early days of personal computing. Like the hobbyists who created the personal computer industry, AI designers and roboticists are hugely enthusiastic about the technological advances, new products, and companies clearly ahead of them. At the same time, many of the software designers and robot engineers grow uncomfortable when asked about the potential consequences of their inventions and frequently deflect questions with gallows humor.

Shakey simply didn’t work very well. Fortunately Stanford Research Institute was a big place and Duvall was soon attracted by a more intriguing project. Just down the hall from the Shakey laboratory he would frequently encounter another research group that was building a computer to run a program called NLS, the oN-Line System. While Shakey was managed hierarchically, the group run by computer scientist Doug Engelbart was anything but. Engelbart’s researchers, an eclectic collection of buttoned-down white-shirted engineers and long-haired computer hackers, were taking computing in a direction so different it was not even in the same coordinate system. The Shakey project was struggling to mimic the human mind and body. Engelbart had a very different goal. During World War II he had stumbled across an article by Vannevar Bush, who had proposed a microfiche-based information retrieval system called Memex to manage all of the world’s knowledge.


pages: 171 words: 54,334

Barefoot Into Cyberspace: Adventures in Search of Techno-Utopia by Becky Hogge, Damien Morris, Christopher Scally

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, corporate social responsibility, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Fall of the Berlin Wall, game design, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, information asymmetry, Jacob Appelbaum, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, MITM: man-in-the-middle, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Socratic dialogue, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

In fact, Moore’s law is now expected to hold true until at least 2015. Douglas Engelbart, an electrical engineer who would later catch Brand’s attention, had intuitively understood Moore’s Law many years before it had been put into words, and in the late fifties and early sixties had set about designing the prototypes for components of the personal computers Engelbart was sure would result from this massive scaling of computer power. It was Brand’s encounters with Engelbart that switched him on to the cognitive potential of an alternate technology to psychedelics. “Basically,” Brand continues, “I was just being in the Bay area paying attention to interesting people. So for the same reason I was paying attention to Ken Kesey, I was paying attention to Doug Engelbart.” In December 1968, Engelbart demonstrated a number of his experimental ideas to a conference of computer scientists in the San Francisco Convention Center.

But it is most notable for the general-purpose information storage and retrieval machine it proposes, the “memex”. According to John Markoff, author of What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counter-culture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, at around about the time America’s atom bomb destroyed the city of Hiroshima – killing 80,000 of its residents, maiming tens of thousands more, and ending Japan’s involvement in World War II – Doug Engelbart was sailing out of San Francisco harbour on his way to do his military service in the Philippines. He and his co-passengers even saw the VJ Day celebrations beginning on the shore as they sailed away. It was in the Philippines that Engelbart marked time in a grass hut that had been converted into a library. And it was in this library that he read “As We May Think”, and decided to make Bush’s memex a reality.

Bush describes his vision: Photocells capable of seeing things in a physical sense, advanced photography which can record what is seen or even what is not, thermionic tubes capable of controlling potent forces… cathode ray tubes… In fact, the memex reminds me of the disembodied Heath Robinson creations I saw littering the floor in the basement at the Chaos Communication Congress. But outside of Chaos, your average 21st-century computer user will be more familiar with the computer components that Doug Engelbart troubled himself over than with anything Vannevar Bush wrote about. Ask a child to draw a computer and he will draw a keyboard, screen, mouse and – possibly – a box sitting next to it. Yet the box is the computer – the rest of it is just input and output devices. Engelbart was not an acid head, but according to John Markoff he, like Brand, had taken part in the IFAS experiments, with mixed results.


pages: 319 words: 90,965

The End of College: Creating the Future of Learning and the University of Everywhere by Kevin Carey

Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, Bayesian statistics, Berlin Wall, business cycle, business intelligence, carbon-based life, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, David Heinemeier Hansson, declining real wages, deliberate practice, discrete time, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Downton Abbey, Drosophila, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Google X / Alphabet X, informal economy, invention of the printing press, inventory management, John Markoff, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, low skilled workers, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, natural language processing, Network effects, open borders, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, pez dispenser, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, technoutopianism, transcontinental railway, uber lyft, Vannevar Bush

the average sticker price of attending a public four-year university increased by roughly 80 percent: College Board, Trends in College Pricing 2013. 6: THUNDER LIZARDS he came across an article: John Markoff, “Computer Visionary Who Invented the Mouse,” New York Times, July 3, 2013. he finished a PhD in electrical engineering: Doug Engelbart Institute, “Dr. Douglas C. Engelbart Curriculum Vitae,” http://dougengelbart.org/about/cv.html. In handwritten notes summarizing his speech: Doug Engelbart, “Augmented Man, and a Search for Perspective,” Stanford Research Institute, December 16, 1960. The team used the tools they developed as they built them: Douglas Engelbart and William English, “A Research Center for Augmenting Human Intellect,” AFIPS Conference Proceedings of the 1968 Fall Joint Computer Conference 33, San Francisco, December 9, 1968, pp. 395–410. Venture capital investment in education technology companies increased: “Global Ed Tech Financing Hits Record in Q1 2014,” CB Insights, April 5, 2014, http://www.cbinsights.com/blog/ed-tech-venture-capital-record.

EPGY is sophisticated but inflexible, said Koller, and after a while she and her daughter started watching Khan Academy videos instead. They were more satisfying, because the experience was more “Web 2.0,” which is a way of describing online environments in which large numbers of people communicate and collaborate, learning and making together. Suppes’s original Teletype math program came before Doug Engelbart and his team showed the world what the future of networked collaboration would look like. People like forming communities with other people. Koller was right about the virtues of Web 2.0. But this is also what you have to say when you’re a platform and don’t have the time, money, expertise, or business model to build, as Coursera claims to, “the world’s best courses, online, for free.” When such courses actually come to exist in the near future, they will combine the best of both worlds: flexibility, sharing, and collaboration married to sophisticated AI built around the latest theories of cognition and learning.

It is hardwired into an enormous generator of business development and technological innovation, a machine fueled by money, ambition, idealism, and the iron laws of physics. That machine was created, beginning in the crucial period following World War II, to search for old, expensive institutions and burn them to the ground. And in the last several years it has turned its gaze toward the cathedrals of learning. — DOUGLAS ENGELBART grew up during the Great Depression on a farm outside Portland and studied at the nearby land-grant university, Oregon State. He was drafted into the Navy and found himself working as a radar technician on a small island in the Philippines, where he came across an article that had recently been published in the Atlantic: “As We May Think,” by Vannevar Bush. He spent the rest of his life making Bush’s prophecies come true.


The Dream Machine: J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal by M. Mitchell Waldrop

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Apple II, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, fault tolerance, Frederick Winslow Taylor, friendly fire, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Wiener process, zero-sum game

At age thirty- seven, ten years younger than Lick himself, he was a handsome, dark-haired, but THE PHENOMENA SURROUNDING COMPUTERS 211 rather lonely fellow-the quiet sort who ordinarily might not stick in your mem- ory. But then once you got to know him a bit, you saw that much of this man's quietness came from his habit of listening-deeply, profoundly listening to every- thing that was happening around him, and trying to work out its most funda- mental meaning. And then when he did talk, his soft, diffident baritone somehow managed to be hypnotic in its intensity. His name was Douglas Engelbart. It was in December 1950, says Doug Engelbart, thinking back to the morning when it all changed for him. He was twenty-five years old, and by every objec- tive measure, life was good. A decade earlier he'd been a semipoor teenager in the semirural outskirts of Portland, Oregon, still getting up every morning to milk the family cow. Now he was several years out of school, with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering plus two years' experience as a navy radar techni- cian.

Nonetheless, with the clarity of more than thirty years' hindsight, computer pro- fessionals of a certain age have come to look back upon Engelbart's presentation as one of the defining moments of their generation. By December 1968, the fu- ture as envisioned by the ARPA community was beginning to take shape, how- ever sketchily. And now here was Doug Engelbart, expanding by an order of magnitude their sense of what that future might really mean. The name Wood- stock wouldn't acquire its modern connotation for another nine months, not until the weekend of August 15-17, 1969, and a certain rock concert in the hills of upstate New York. But if ever there was an event that qualified as ARPA's Woodstock, this was it. THE IMP GUYS In January 1969, barely a month after Doug Engelbart's extravaganza in San Francisco, Larry Roberts formally announced that Engelbart's group at SRI would serve as the nascent ARPA network's Network Information Center. No surprise there.

"Lick owned a Messerschmitt three-wheeled vehicle for a while," Taylor recalls, laugh- ing. "He enjoyed unusual cars." But most important, they shared a passion for human-computer symbiosis. Robert W. Taylor was easily the most enthusiastic disciple J. C. R. Licklider ever had in Washington, if not in the entire country. It THE INTERGALACTIC NETWORK 261 was Taylor who pulled out all the stops to get NASA funding for Doug Engelbart. It was Taylor who put NASA money into a number of specific efforts within Proj- ect MAC-and even funded a study of interactive, computer-assisted air-traffic control at BBN. And it was Taylor who was brought over to ARPA in early 1965- on Lick's enthusiastic recommendation-to serve as a deputy to Ivan Sutherland. Taylor had a grand time at ARPA. His young boss was smart, honest, forthright, and exceedingly well informed-a pleasure to work with.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism by Fred Turner

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, computer age, conceptual framework, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, future of work, game design, George Gilder, global village, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, market bubble, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, peer-to-peer, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Richard Stallman, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Hackers Conference, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

One of the groups consisted of the researchers associated with Douglas Engelbart’s Augmentation Research Center (ARC) at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and later Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), and the other was made up of computer hobbyists affiliated with the People’s Computer Company and, later, the Homebrew Computer Club. Stewart Brand moved back and forth between these communities, and the Whole Earth Catalog served as inspiration to members of both. In the Bay area in this period, the dynamic of personalization that had long been at work within some parts of the computer industry and the ideals of information sharing, individual empowerment, and collective growth that were alive within the counterculture and the hobbyist community did not so much compete with as complement each other. In Douglas Engelbart’s ARC group, computers had long seemed to be natural tools with which to expand the intellectual capacity of individuals and their ability to share knowledge.

Perhaps the people to whom this book owes the most are those whose lives and work it explores. They have been extraordinarily open and [ x ] Acknowledgments forthcoming, devoting hours and sometimes days to helping me understand their histories. For all of their help, I’d like to thank Bob Albrecht, Dennis Allison, John Perry Barlow, Reva Basch, Keith Britton, Lois Britton, John Brockman, Michael Callahan, John Coate, Doug Engelbart, Bill English, Lee Felsenstein, Cliff Figallo, David Frohman, Asha Greer (formerly Barbara Durkee), Katie Hafner, Paul Hawken, Alan Kay, Kevin Kelly, Art Kleiner, Butler Lampson, Liza Loop, John Markoff, Jane Metcalfe, David Millen, Nancy Murphy, Richard Raymond, Danica Remy, Howard Rheingold, Louis Rossetto, Peter Schwartz, Mark Stahlman, Gerd Stern, Shirley Streshinsky, Larry Tesler, Paul Tough, Jim Warren, and Gail Williams.

In addition to product news, T h e W h o l e E a r t h C a t a l o g a s I n fo r m at i o n Te c h n o l o g y [ 81 ] the Supplement offered articles and letters from and about the communities Brand had visited. The first issue of the Supplement, for instance, included letters from Pranksters Ken Kesey and Ron Bevirt; Peter Rabbit of Drop City and, more recently, the Libre Commune; and Steve Durkee from the Lama Foundation, and an exchange between Steve Baer, who had designed the dome housing at Drop City, and Dave Evans, a staffer at Doug Engelbart’s Augmented Human Intellect project at the Stanford Research Institute. It also featured a detailed description of how to build a solar water heater, four pages of free events and services in New York City, and announcements for several experiments in living and building, including an advertisement for Paolo Soleri’s desert utopia, Arcosanti, and a proposal for “A Libertarian Nomadic Association in Southern California.”


pages: 222 words: 70,132

Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google, and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy by Jonathan Taplin

1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, Amazon Mechanical Turk, American Legislative Exchange Council, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, basic income, battle of ideas, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, bitcoin, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, David Brooks, David Graeber, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, equal pay for equal work, Erik Brynjolfsson, future of journalism, future of work, George Akerlof, George Gilder, Google bus, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, labor-force participation, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, packet switching, Paul Graham, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Sam Altman, Sand Hill Road, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, smart grid, Snapchat, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, The Chicago School, The Market for Lemons, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, Travis Kalanick, trickle-down economics, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, universal basic income, unpaid internship, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, winner-take-all economy, women in the workforce, Y Combinator

The best recording ever of Ray Charles is Ray Charles Live from a 1959 Atlanta stadium show with a big band. This is where you can find the inexorably cathartic and impossibly slow “Drown in My Own Tears.” Chapter Three: Tech’s Counterculture Roots Although I never got to meet Doug Engelbart, I was fortunate enough to have spent time with some of the founders of the Internet, including Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee, and most especially John Seely Brown, who has been a mentor to me for the past seven years. Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2000). Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008), and John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said (New York: Viking, 2005), are both wonderful resources around the story of the early Internet.

But how do we keep this sense of the arc of history and culture when we are flooded with the fierce urgency of now? How do we really take advantage of the Internet’s original purpose to decentralize its control and deepen our knowledge base? Perhaps the answer lies in understanding the countercultural roots of the Internet. CHAPTER THREE Tech’s Counterculture Roots He was dealing lightning with both hands. —Computer scientist Alan Kay 1. It was raining like hell outside, and Doug Engelbart was pacing nervously on the stage. A tall, fit forty-three-year-old wearing a crisp white shirt and blue tie, with streaks of gray showing in his neatly parted hair, he looked like he could work for NASA or the Defense Department. And he did, in the sense that for the past several years the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), in Menlo Park, California, had funded his quixotic quest to invent the future.

Imagine the first performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring but without the boos and walkouts. People were thunderstruck by this radical upending of what a computer could be. No longer a giant calculation machine, it was a personal tool of communication and information retrieval. 2. It is not an exaggeration to say that the work of Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Mark Zuckerberg stands on the shoulders of Doug Engelbart. Yet Engelbart’s vision of the computing future was different from today’s reality. In the run-up to the demonstration, Bill English had enlisted the help of Whole Earth Catalog publisher Stewart Brand, who had produced the Acid Tests with Ken Kesey two years earlier. Engelbart felt that Brand might help make his show into a multimedia event. Kesey and Brand’s LSD festival had forever cemented San Francisco’s link to what Fred Turner in his book From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism describes as the New Communalists.


pages: 244 words: 66,599

Insanely Great: The Life and Times of Macintosh, the Computer That Changed Everything by Steven Levy

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, computer age, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, information retrieval, information trail, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Productivity paradox, QWERTY keyboard, rolodex, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush

Engelbart quit his job, moved to Berkeley with his new bride, and earned a Ph.D. in the budding field of computer science. He was hired by a think tank called the Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and he set up a group that he called the Augmentation Research Center. He cajoled a small grant from the government, and set out to change the way the world worked. And did. I once went to visit Doug Engelbart. His employer in 1983, the inheritor of what was left of the Augmentation Research Center, was a phone networking company called Tymshare. Amazingly, the building that housed Engelbart was in Cupertino, a quick turn off Bandley Drive. Unbeknownst to either of us as we spoke, less than two blocks away, Apple Computer's Mac Team was working feverishly to realize some of Engelbart's dreams (though they were hardly aware of the man himself).

Like Bush before him, Engelbart complained that the accumulated knowledge of humanity had exceeded our ability to handle it. Only by "augmenting man's intellect" could we remedy this situation-resulting in better comprehension of problems, quicker solutions to those problems, and the conquest of previously insoluble problems. And here was the news: The tools to perform this task were at hand. Here is how we will work in the future. And then Doug Engelbart predicted systems in which individuals would have personal computer workstations, networked to each other, and would even compose documents in which "trial drafts can be rapidly composed from rearranged excerpts of old drafts ... you can integrate your new ideas more easily and thus harness your creativity more continuously." Yes. In 1963, when computers cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and when those few people who worked with computers generally did so by submitting stacks of punched cards to authorized tenders, here was a man who for years had envisioned word processing and networking.

As windows open and shut, and their contents reshuffled, the audience stared into the maw of cyberspace. Engelbart, with a no-hands mike, talked them through, a calming voice from Mission Control as the truly final frontier whizzed before their eyes. It was the mother of all demos. Engelhart's support staff was as elaborate as one would find at a modern Grateful Dead concert. The viewers saw a projection of Doug Engelbart's face, with the text of the screen superimposed on it. At one point, control of the system was passed off, like some digital football, to the Augmentation team at SRI, forty miles down the peninsula. Amazingly, nothing went wrong. Not only was the future explained, it was there, as Engelbart piloted through cyberspace at hyperspeed. Now, so many people claim to have been at the demonstration that it's sort of a modern version of Babe Ruth's called home run.


pages: 394 words: 118,929

Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Scott Rosenberg

A Pattern Language, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, c2.com, call centre, collaborative editing, conceptual framework, continuous integration, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Santayana, Grace Hopper, Guido van Rossum, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, index card, Internet Archive, inventory management, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Larry Wall, life extension, Loma Prieta earthquake, Menlo Park, Merlin Mann, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Potemkin village, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, Ruby on Rails, semantic web, side project, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, slashdot, software studies, source of truth, South of Market, San Francisco, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Therac-25, thinkpad, Turing test, VA Linux, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, web application, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Before you know it, you have dozens of channels to stay on top of, and staying in the loop can easily eat up much of a workday. In the early days of programming, teams shared their knowledge on paper, in loose-leaf binders known as project workbooks, around which evolved complex processes of coordinating updates. (Brooks’s Mythical Man-Month devotes many pages to these rituals.) But as soon as programmers could move off paper, they did. The original digital groupware was Doug Engelbart’s NLS, the 1960s-era template for so much of what would unfold in the personal computing revolution to follow. Each new iteration of groupware has represented another stab at Engelbart’s notion of bootstrapping—using the tools of computing to improve the effectiveness of developing computing tools. At OSAF the mirror logic of this phenomenon was almost painfully vivid: As OSAF’s programmers wrestled with different schemes for coordinating their work, it would become a rueful ritual for them to exclaim how much easier it would be to build Chandler if only they had Chandler itself.

As work on Chandler plodded forward in the first half of 2004, Kapor and his team became steadily more convinced that the key to making better progress was to improve their software to the point where they could begin using it themselves—to make Chandler dogfood-able. The term dogfooding may be popularly associated with Microsoft, but the practice is far older. At Xerox’s legendary Palo Alto Research Center, where modern personal computing was invented in the 1970s, “We use what we build” was the motto of research team leader Bob Taylor. And that formulation was simply a variation on Doug Engelbart’s bootstrapping. The goal of bootstrapping was to rev up a feedback loop so that today you would use the tool you invented yesterday to build a better one for tomorrow; dogfooding, by contrast, had the more modest and pragmatic aim of speeding up bug-finding and bug-fixing by shoving developers’ noses into their products’ flaws. Kapor always had one particular customer in mind for dogfooding: himself.

Recurring things repeat, but recursive things repeat in a special way: They loop back into themselves. They are tail-eating snakes. Mathematically speaking, “recursion” describes a function that calls itself; in computer science, recursion refers to defining a function in terms of itself. The logic of recursion allows simple, compact statements to generate complex and elaborate output. It lies at the heart of many of computing’s most celebrated and inspiring systems and ideas. Doug Engelbart’s notion of bootstrapping was a recursive technique for accelerating human progress. Lisp—the language invented in the late 1950s by John McCarthy that, decades later, still inspired many of OSAF’s programmers—is one great recursion machine. Alan Kay likes to point to McCarthy’s “half-page of code at the bottom of page 13 of the Lisp 1.5 manual” and praise it as the “Maxwell’s equations of computing”—concentrated, elegant statements that distilled the field’s fundamental principles just as James Clerk Maxwell’s four equations had laid out the essential workings of electricity and magnetism at the dawn of the machine age.


pages: 615 words: 168,775

Troublemakers: Silicon Valley's Coming of Age by Leslie Berlin

AltaVista, Apple II, Asilomar, Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA, beat the dealer, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Byte Shop, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer age, discovery of DNA, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, fear of failure, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, game design, Haight Ashbury, hiring and firing, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, inventory management, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, Leonard Kleinrock, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, packet switching, Ralph Nader, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, software as a service, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, union organizing, upwardly mobile, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce

He was involved in the launch of a new program in computer graphics at the University of Utah, a program whose graduates would come to include the founders or key minds behind Pixar-Disney Animations, Adobe, Silicon Graphics, Xerox PARC, and Atari.45 Forever concerned about getting like-minded people together, he also initiated a conference for graduate students working with his principal investigators. Many of those students would go on to do pioneering and critical work in computer science. Taylor continued to travel to visit principal investigators, all of whom had ARPA-funded projects they were working on in addition to the network. A demonstration by one of those researchers, a craggy-faced forty-two-year-old engineer named Doug Engelbart at the Stanford Research Institute, impressed Taylor. Taylor had quietly been supporting Engelbart’s rather out-there research since 1961, when Taylor, then at NASA, had funded Engelbart to build a new interactive computing system that included, among its many innovative features, the world’s first computer mouse.46 (Taylor later said, “Remember when NASA was advertising Tang [the bright-orange-colored drink consumed by astronauts] as its big contribution to the civilized world?

A researcher in California would be able to point to a spot on his interactive terminal, and thousands of miles away, at MIT for example, someone else on a networked computer would be able to see that cursor move. Taylor told Licklider about the demonstration, and the two men included a detailed description of it in their 1968 “The Computer as a Communication Device” article. They told their readers, “If our extrapolation from Doug Engelbart’s meeting proves correct, you will spend much more time in computer-facilitated teleconferences and much less en route to meetings.” More significantly, Taylor insisted that Engelbart find a way to show more people what this system could do. “I was working with the rest of the computer world, as well as with Engelbart,” he recalls. “Engelbart’s project was way off in weird land, compared to all my other projects, and I wanted the other project people to see it.”

“I was a damn good circuit designer. My design was definitely better.” What Do We Do with These?  NIELS REIMERS Some three hundred people, most of them Stanford students, had shown up by 7:30 on that May morning in 1969, determined to shut down a satellite office of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) a day after the People’s Park protests had rocked Berkeley. SRI’s much larger headquarters facility, where Doug Engelbart had done the work unveiled six months earlier in the Mother of All Demos, was four miles north, in Menlo Park. This satellite office, located only a few blocks from the southern edge of the Stanford campus, housed a computer that protesters claimed was analyzing activities of Communist insurgents in Southeast Asia. The protesters, many from a radical Stanford student organization called the April Third Movement, wanted that analysis—and any other work associated with the war in Vietnam—stopped.1 The group dragged signs, sawhorses, and a steel crane boom from a nearby construction site onto Oregon Expressway, a major east–west thoroughfare.


Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Writing Science) by Thierry Bardini

Apple II, augmented reality, Bill Duvall, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Grace Hopper, hiring and firing, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, invention of hypertext, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Rulifson, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, packet switching, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, the medium is the message, theory of mind, Turing test, unbiased observer, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

, BOOTSTRAPPING Douglas Engelhart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing THIERRY BARDINI S 1 A N I. 0 R 0 U N 1 V I R 1 I Y PRE S 1 A N I' 0 R D, C ALl I' 0 R N 1 A Stanford UnIversIty Press Stanford, CalIfornIa @ 2000 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford JunIor UnIversity LIbrary of Congress CatalogIng-In-Publication Data BardIni, Thierry. Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, coevolutIon, and the ongins of personal computIng / ThIerry Bardinl. p. cm - (Writing science) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-8°47-3723-1 (alk. paper) - ISBN 0-8°47-3871-8 (paper: alk. paper) I. MIcrocomputers-History. 2. Human-computer InteraCtIon. 3. User Interfaces (Computer systems). I. TItle. II. Senese QA 76.17. B37 2000 004.16'09-dc21 00-°56360 @ This book IS pnnted on acid-free, recycled paper. OrigInal prIntIng 2000 Last figure below indIcates year of thIS prIntIng: 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01 00 Printed In the UnIted States of AmerIca CONTENTS I l/ustratlons IX Preface XI Introduction: Douglas Engelbart's Crusade for the Augmentation of Human Intellect I I. Language and the Body 33 2.

How have technical designs based upon the values and visions of early tech- nical innovators shaped the way users integrate present-day computers into their work? To understand the answers to these questions, and with them, the origins of personal computing, it is necessary to begin by understanding the contribu- tions of Douglas Engelbart and the concerns that motivated them. Famous and revered among his peers, Engelbart is one of the most misunderstood and per- haps least-known computer pioneers. This book proposes to remedy this, and not only for the sake of a case study or to claim a spot for Douglas Engelbart in the pantheon of the computer revolution, but also because such an enter- prise teaches us many lessons in the development, diffusion, and effect of the defining technology of the twentieth century: the computer. This book is intended for various audiences and answers different expec- tations accordingly.

The linkIng and relinking of objects by the Brain IS actually a language, but not a language like ours (since It IS addressIng Itself and not someone or some- thIng outsIde Itself). - PHI LIP K. ole K , Val,s Very few people outside the computer industry know Douglas Engelbart, the leading figure of the Augmentation of Human Intellect project, and among those people, many still credit him only with technological innovations like the mouse, the outline processor, the electronic-mail system, or, sometimes, the windowed user interface. These indeed are major innovations, and today they have become pervasive in the environments in which people work and play. But Douglas Engelbart never really gets credit for the larger contribution that he worked to create: an integrative and comprehensive framework that ties to- gether the technological and social aspects of personal computing technology.


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The Secret War Between Downloading and Uploading: Tales of the Computer as Culture Machine by Peter Lunenfeld

Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, anti-globalists, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business cycle, butterfly effect, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, East Village, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Grace Hopper, gravity well, Guggenheim Bilbao, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, social software, spaced repetition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the medium is the message, Thomas L Friedman, Turing machine, Turing test, urban planning, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, walkable city, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

They had a kind of erotics of simulation in mind—the pleasure of doing something and then doing everything with these machines. The possibilities seemed endless. I call the next generation the Aquarians, and they were like painters eyeing a blank canvas or sculptors circling a block of marble. The Aquarians: Douglas Engelbart and Alan Kay In 20 or 30 years, you’ll be able to hold in your hand as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city, or even the whole world. —Douglas Engelbart It’s not the technology that lives. It’s the dream that lives. —Alan Kay Doug Engelbart worked in the world that the Plutocrats ruled, but made the world in which we live. He drew inspiration from the visions of the Patriarchs, and they funded his campaign against the culture of the Plutocrats. As an army radio operator in the Philippines just after World War II, Engelbart read Bush’s seminal article, “As We May Think,” and its vision sustained him all the way through graduate school and into his first positions in California.

The technology was there, the dream of participation was not just alive, it was thriving, but the Aquarians couldn’t sell it to the masses. And selling to the masses is one way to be remembered, at least in the United States. Selling to the masses is what Hustlers were born to do. The Hustlers: Steve Jobs and Bill Gates Who can afford to do professional work for nothing? —Bill Gates, 1976 Real artists ship. —Steve Jobs, 1983 162 HOW THE COMPUTER BECAME OUR CULTURE MACHINE If J.C.R. Licklider and Douglas Engelbart are obscure talismans even among the best-informed computer users, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are iconic, triumphal nerds.20 Jobs at his height was perhaps the most intriguing businessperson in the world, and one of the few people to have built multibillion-dollar companies in two different industries, with Apple computers and Pixar animated films. Gates was the CEO of Microsoft, and as cab drivers from Calcutta to Cancún can tell you, for years the richest person in the world.

Certainly over the short term this rate can be expected to continue, if not to increase. Over the longer term, the rate of increase is a bit more uncertain, although there is no reason to believe it will not remain nearly constant for at least 10 years. That means by 1975, the number of components per integrated circuit for minimum cost will be 65,000. I believe that such a large circuit can be built on a single wafer.” 14 . See Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001). 15 . See John Markoff, What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer (New York: Viking, 2005). For a broader sense of the California spiritual landscape, see Erik Davis, Visionary State (San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2006). 16 . There is no book-length biography of Kay, although there should be.


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Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet by Katie Hafner, Matthew Lyon

air freight, Bill Duvall, computer age, conceptual framework, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, fault tolerance, Hush-A-Phone, information retrieval, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, natural language processing, packet switching, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy

Dave Evans, who, with Ivan Sutherland, later started Evans and Sutherland, a pioneering graphics company, was at Utah putting together a system that would take images and manipulate them with a computer. Evans and his group were also interested in whether the network could be used for more than just textual exchanges. Stanford Research Institute (later it severed its ties to Stanford and became just SRI) had been chosen as one of the first sites because Doug Engelbart, a scientist of extraordinary vision, worked there. Several years earlier, when Bob Taylor was at NASA he had funded Engelbart’s invention of the first computer mouse (Engelbart received a patent for the device as an “X-Y position indicator for a display system”), and for years afterward Taylor pointed with pride to his support of Engelbart’s mouse. Engelbart had been in attendance at the 1967 Ann Arbor meeting of ARPA’s principal investigators when Taylor and Larry Roberts announced that a dozen or so of them would be expected to tie their computers together over an experimental network and that each site would be expected to make its computer resources available on the network.

Valid: Not before 12 Apr 1977 1321Z Suspend: After 19 Apr 1977 0000Z Spelling-errors-this-message: 0 Spelling-errors-to-date: 23 Weather: Light rain, fog Forecast: Clearing by morning Psych-evaluation-of-sender: Slightly unstable Security-level: Public Security-sublevel: 0 Authority-to-send: General Authority-to-rcv: General #-people-in-terminal-room: 12 XGP: UP-cutter not working Ht/Wt-sender: 76/205 Machines: M&Ms available but almond machine is empty M&Ms-Last Nickel: 17 HDR-chksum: 032114567101 ----------------------------------------------------------- Brian, I do not understand your concern about the size of message headers. Bob. Why can’t we configure headers to print only the pieces of the header we choose to read? Reid asked. “Go ahead and put in thirty-four different header fields,” he said. “All I ever really want to look at is ‘from’and ‘date.’” Others agreed. The ideal program would allow users to design their own headers. At least one elaborate mail system, Doug Engelbart’s NLS JOURNAL MAIL, offered an “invisible information” feature that allowed selective viewing of a great deal of header data. On May 12, 1977, Ken Pogran, John Vittal, Dave Crocker, and Austin Henderson launched a computer mail putsch. They announced “at last” the completion of a new mail standard, RFC 724, “A Proposed Official Standard for the Format of ARPA Network Messages.” The standard they were proposing contained more than twenty pages of specifications—syntactical, semantic, and lexical formalities.

Arthur Norberg and Judy O’Neill’s awesome report, “A History of the Information Processing Techniques Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency” also guided us through biographical material and through the early years of IPTO. The report served as the basis for their book Transforming Computer Technology: Information Processing for the Pentagon, 1962–1986 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996). Paul Baran and Professor Manley Irwin supplied the information concerning AT&T’s lawsuits against parties thought to be depriving AT&T of revenues. Doug Engelbart’s patent for his mouse came on November 17, 1970. It is patent No. 3,541,541. Chapter Three The history of Bolt Beranek and Newman was based on personal interviews with Dick Bolt and Leo Beranek. The description of Lincoln Laboratory was based on interviews with Wes Clark, Frank Heart, Larry Roberts, and Len Kleinrock. The description of events surrounding the request for proposals for the Interface Message Processor was based on interviews with Jerome Elkind, Frank Heart, Dave Walden, and Severo Ornstein, as well as various interviews conducted by the Charles Babbage Institute.


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Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet by Claire L. Evans

"side hustle", 4chan, Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, British Empire, colonial rule, computer age, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Doomsday Book, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, East Village, Edward Charles Pickering, game design, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Honoré de Balzac, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, old-boy network, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pets.com, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, rolodex, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, subscription business, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Y2K

Sprawling, self-referential novels like Ulysses or Finnegan’s Wake are like flattened hypertexts, and scholars love to cite “The Garden of Forking Paths,” a short story by the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, as the height of precomputer hypertext. “This web of time,” Borges wrote, “the strands of which approach one another, bifurcate, intersect or ignore each other through the centuries—embraces every possibility.” He may have loved the World Wide Web. The Web as we know it isn’t modeled on Borges, Joyce, or the Talmud. The most famous hypertext pioneers are men—Doug Engelbart, Jake Feinler’s mentor at Stanford, incorporated hypertext into his oNLine System, and Ted Nelson, a Bay Area counterculture hero, coined the word and has championed utopian hypertext ideas for decades—but the Web appeared on the scene only after hypertext principles and conventions had been explored for nearly a decade by brilliant female researchers and computer scientists. They were the architects of the hypertext systems that time forgot, systems with names like Intermedia, Microcosm, Aquanet, NoteCards, and VIKI, the earliest ontological frameworks of the information age.

She was intrigued by the sheer volume of information, and the seemingly Sisyphean task of organizing it into a useful database. Realizing she was more interested in information itself than in chemistry, she took a job at Stanford helping scholars with technical research—gathering reprints and running around to different libraries before summarizing her findings on index cards, much as a search engine works today. At Stanford, Jake worked in a basement lab. It wasn’t long before an upstairs neighbor, Douglas Engelbart, began popping down to her office for organizational advice. Engelbart had invented a computer system called NLS (oNLine System) in the late 1960s, a predecessor to the modern personal computer in both form and philosophy, and the first system to incorporate a mouse and a keyboard into its design. NLS was so visionary that the first time Engelbart presented it in public is generally known in tech history as “the Mother of all Demos.”

“And I’d say, ‘What are all those people doing upstairs, staring at television sets?’” Whatever it was, it made technical research look boring. One day, when Engelbart came down to visit her office, Jake asked him for a job. He told her he didn’t have one, but he kept her in mind and, six months later, he came back. “I have a job now,” he announced. It had nothing to do with index cards; instead, Douglas Engelbart introduced Jake Feinler to the wild new world of networked computing. Her life would never be the same. In the fall of 1969, one of Engelbart’s machines had been on the receiving end of the first transmission between two host computers on the ARPANET. The connection crashed halfway through, truncating that very first Internet message from LOGIN to the somewhat more prophetic LO. By 1972, when Jake joined Engelbart’s team, Stanford was one of thirty-odd nodes on the growing national ARPANET; it was also home to the Network Information Center, the NIC, a central office for ARPANET affairs (everyone involved in the ARPANET in those days calls it “the Nick,” like the name of an old friend with a reputation).


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Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson

Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning

Some will say that this is merely a matter of software, which is intrinsically more adaptable than hardware like televisions or cellular phones. But before the Web became mainstream in the mid-1990s, the pace of software innovation followed the exact same 10/10 pattern of development that we saw in the spread of other twentieth-century technologies. The graphical user interface, for instance, dates back to a famous technology demo given by pioneering computer scientist Doug Engelbart in 1968. During the 1970s, many of its core elements—like the now ubiquitous desktop metaphor—were developed by researchers at Xerox-PARC. But the first commercial product with a fully realized graphical user interface didn’t ship until 1981, in the form of the Xerox Star workstation, followed by the Macintosh in 1984, the first graphical user interface to reach a mainstream, if niche, audience.

In his memoirs, Francis Crick reports that he first hit upon the complementary replication system of DNA—each base A matched with a T, and each C with a G—by thinking of the way a work of sculpture can be reproduced by making an impression in plaster, and then using that impression, when dry, as a mold to create copies. Johannes Kepler credited his laws of planetary motion to a generative metaphor imported from religion; he imagined the sun, stars, and the dark space between them as the celestial equivalents of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When computer science pioneers like Doug Engelbart and Alan Kay invented the graphical interface, they imported a metaphor from the real-world environment of offices: instead of organizing information on the screen as a series of command-line inputs, the way a programmer would, they borrowed the iconography of a desktop with pieces of paper stacked on it. Kekulé didn’t think the benzene molecule was literally a snake from Greek mythology, but his knowledge of that ancient symbol helped him solve one of the essential problems of organic chemistry.

Kelly at Johns Hopkins University, restriction enzymes are found in bacteria and can cut DNA at specific sequences, thus paving the way for the future of recombinant DNA molecules. GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE (1968—1974) The use of visual metaphors to represent data on a computer screen, along with the concept of a mouse as pointing device, dates back to a legendary demo by the Stanford professor Douglas Engelbart. Elements of the GUI were also evident in Ivan Sutherland’s 1963 program Sketchpad. The idea was refined and expanded by the Xerox PARC lab in the early 1970s. INTERNET (1970--1975) Assisted by many other computer scientists, the American Vinton Cerf designed and created the original model of the Internet, building on his early research and experiments with packet-switching networks, supported by the U.S.


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Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together by Thomas W. Malone

agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Asperger Syndrome, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, business process, call centre, clean water, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, future of work, Galaxy Zoo, gig economy, happiness index / gross national happiness, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telegraph, inventory management, invisible hand, Jeff Rulifson, jimmy wales, job automation, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, knowledge worker, longitudinal study, Lyft, Marshall McLuhan, Occupy movement, Pareto efficiency, pattern recognition, prediction markets, price mechanism, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Coase, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social intelligence, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Uber for X, uber lyft, Vernor Vinge, Vilfredo Pareto, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

Wright, “Factors Affecting the Cost of Airplanes,” Journal of the Aeronautical Sciences 3, no. 4 (1936): 122–28; Boston Consulting Group, Perspectives on Experience (Boston: Boston Consulting Group, 1972). 9. Abraham Bernstein, “How Can Cooperative Work Tools Support Dynamic Group Process? Bridging the Specificity Frontier,” in Proceedings of the 2000 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (New York: Association for Computing Machinery, 2000), 279–88. 10. An early example of the idea of cyber-human learning loops is Doug Engelbart’s concept of “bootstrapping” collective intelligence. See Douglas Engelbart and Jeff Rulifson, “Bootstrapping Our Collective Intelligence,” ACM Computing Surveys 31, issue 4es (December 1999), doi:10.1145/345966.346040. Unlike the concept of business process reengineering, which was popular in the 1990s, cyber-human learning loops assume that change is continuous rather than the result of occasional large redesign projects. See Michael Hammer and James Champy, Reengineering the Corporation (New York: HarperBusiness, 1993).

Bob Gibbons provided extensive comments on the comparisons of different species of superminds in chapter 11; Randy Davis gave me detailed comments on technical (and many other) issues in numerous chapters; and all of the following provided other useful comments: Rob Laubacher, Patrick Winston, Erik Duhaime, Jeff Cooper, Ian Straus, Vint Cerf, Judy Olson, Mel Blake, Mark Klein, Anita Woolley, David Engel, and Laur Fisher. I am also grateful to four people whose work influenced this book more than is reflected in citations alone. First, Douglas Engelbart (1925–2013), who invented the computer mouse and did other pioneering work on interactive computing environments, is perhaps more than any other single person responsible for the idea that groups of people and computers—together—can be more intelligent than either can alone. Second, I was very inspired by the history of life on earth and the provocative speculations about its future in Robert Wright’s book Nonzero.

Pierre Levy defines it as “a form of universally distributed intelligence, constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effective mobilization of skills.” See Levy, L’intelligence collective: Pour une anthropologie du cyberspace (Paris: Editions La Decouverte, 1994). Translated by Robert Bononno as Collective Intelligence: Mankind’s Emerging World in Cyberspace (Cambridge, MA: Perseus Books, 1997). And Douglas Engelbart defines the closely related term collective IQ as a community’s “capability for dealing with complex, urgent problems.” See Engelbart, “Augmenting Society’s Collective IQ,” presented at the Association of Computing Machinery Conference on Hypertext and Hypermedia, Santa Cruz, CA, August 2004, doi:10.1145/1012807.1012809. Each of these definitions provides useful insights, but as we’ll see, the broader definition used here allows us to derive insights by comparing and contrasting very different forms of collective intelligence. 3.


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Computer: A History of the Information Machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly, William Aspray, Nathan L. Ensmenger, Jeffrey R. Yost

Ada Lovelace, air freight, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, borderless world, Buckminster Fuller, Build a better mousetrap, Byte Shop, card file, cashless society, cloud computing, combinatorial explosion, computer age, deskilling, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, Frederick Winslow Taylor, game design, garden city movement, Grace Hopper, informal economy, interchangeable parts, invention of the wheel, Jacquard loom, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, light touch regulation, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, optical character recognition, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pirate software, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, Turing machine, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, women in the workforce, young professional

Almost all the ideas in the modern computer interface emanated from two of the laboratories funded by ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office in the 1960s: a small human-factors research group at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and David Evans’s and Ivan Sutherland’s much larger graphics research group at the University of Utah. The Human Factors Research Center was founded at the SRI in 1963 under the leadership of Doug Engelbart, later regarded as the doyen of human-computer interaction. Since the mid-1950s, Engelbart had been struggling to get funding to develop a computer system that would act like a personal-information storage and retrieval machine—in effect replacing physical documents by electronic ones and enabling the use of advanced computer techniques for filing, searching, and communicating documents. When ARPA started its computer research program in 1962 under the leadership of J.C.R.

The Macintosh was launched in 1984, and its user-friendliness was unrivaled for several years. COURTESY OF CHARLES BABBAGE INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA. The Osborne 1, announced spring 1981, was one of the first attempts at a portable personal computer. Although the machine would fit under an airplane seat, it was inconveniently heavy and was sometimes described as “luggable” rather than “portable.” COURTESY OF COMPUTER HISTORY MUSEUM. Douglas Engelbart established the Human Factors Research Center at the Stanford Research Institute in 1963. In the era before personal computers, he helped shape the way computers would be used for office work. This photograph, taken about 1968, shows him with his best-known invention, the point-and-click mouse, which subsequently became universal on desktop computers. COURTESY OF SRI INTERNATIONAL. Bill Gates has engendered more interest and controversy than any other figure in the history of the computer.

At the time he wrote those words, the intellectual problems involved in constructing a memex-type information system using computer technology had, in principle, been largely solved. J.C.R. Licklider, the head of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office, for one, was working as early as 1962 on a project he called the Libraries of the Future, and he dedicated the book he published with that title: “however unworthy it may be, to Dr. Bush.” In the mid-1960s, Ted Nelson coined the term hypertext and Douglas Engelbart was working on the practical realization of similar ideas at the Stanford Research Institute. Both Nelson and Engelbart claim to have been directly influenced by Bush. Engelbart later recalled that, as a lowly electronics technician in the Philippines during World War II, he “found this article in Life magazine about his [Bush’s] memex, and it just thrilled the hell out of me that people were thinking about something like that. . . .


Howard Rheingold by The Virtual Community Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier-Perseus Books (1993)

Apple II, Brewster Kahle, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, experimental subject, George Gilder, global village, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, license plate recognition, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Oldenburg, rent control, RFC: Request For Comment, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telepresence, The Great Good Place, The Hackers Conference, urban decay, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, young professional

Mandel, who joined the WELL the same day as Dhawk, a few weeks before I joined, was another one of the instant online regulars, along with me, the freelance writer, and Onezie, the schoolteacher, and Dhawk, the Baptist minister turned Unix hacker, and Maddog, the Deadhead radio producer, and a dozen others. Mandel's employer is SRI International (which started out as Stanford Research Institute, where Jacques Vallee and Doug Engelbart did some of the pioneering research in computer conferencing in the 1970s). Municipal and national governments and the biggest corporations in the world pay SRI for a few hours of Tom Mandel's pontifications about the future of publishing or paper or transportation or--and here I can see his wicked grin-communication. Tom not only is paid well for his WELL addiction, he was applauded for it by his clients and the consulting firm that employs him.

HLR http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/3.html Introduction Chapter One: The Heart of the WELL Chapter Two: Daily Life in Cyberspace: How the Computerized Counterculture Built a New Kind of Place Chapter Three: Visionaries and Convergences: The Accidental History of the Net Chapter Four: Grassroots Groupminds Chapter Five: Multi-user Dungeons and Alternate Identities Chapter Six: Real-time Tribes Chapter Seven: Japan and the Net Chapter Eight: Telematique and Messageries Rose: A Tale of Two Virtual Communities Chapter Nine: Electronic Frontiers and Online Activists Chapter Ten: Disinformocracy Bibliography Chapter Three: Visionaries and Convergences: The Accidental History of the Net While driving to work one day in 1950, Douglas Engelbart started thinking about how complicated civilization had become. What were humans going to do about managing this complex new world that technology had helped us create? Engelbart asked himself what kinds of tools we use to help us think. "Symbols" was the answer that came to him, the answer he had been taught as an engineer. Could we use machines to help us deal with symbols? Why not computers?

As big government and big business line up to argue about which information infrastructure would be better for citizens, it is the right of the citizens to remind elected policymakers that these technologies were created by people who believed that the power of computer technology can and should be made available to the entire population, not just to a priesthood. The future of the Net 26-04-2012 21:43 howard rheingold's | the virtual community 7 de 43 http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/3.html cannot be intelligently designed without paying attention to the intentions of those who originated it. From ARPANET to NREN: The Toolbuilders' Quest Douglas Engelbart might have remained a voice in the wilderness, one of the myriad inventors with world-changing devices, or at least the plans for them, gathering dust in their garages. And you might still be required to wear a lab coat and speak FORTRAN in order to gain access to a computer. But Engelbart got a job in the early 1960s doing some respectably orthodox computer research at a new think tank in Menlo Park, California, the Stanford Research Institute.


pages: 611 words: 188,732

Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Bob Noyce, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, Byte Shop, cognitive dissonance, disintermediation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Elon Musk, frictionless, glass ceiling, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, HyperCard, hypertext link, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge worker, life extension, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, new economy, nuclear winter, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, paypal mafia, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pez dispenser, popular electronics, random walk, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, social graph, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Startup school, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, The Hackers Conference, the new new thing, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y Combinator

Alan Kay: So then they went to Ampex, which had just started doing high-res video recording, and got a huge Ampex recorder and they did the entire presentation on it and it was running while the live thing was going on just in case something fucked up. Doug Engelbart: There were boxes that could run two videos in and you turn some knobs and you can fade one in and out. With another one you can have the video coming in and you can have a horizontal line that divides them or a vertical line. It was pretty easy to see we could make a control station that could run it. Alan Kay: Bill was the one who designed this whole thing, who made this whole display system and everything else. Bill was the coinventor of the mouse; he was not really a second banana. Doug Engelbart: Bill just built a platform in the back with all this gear. Alan Kay: Engelbart was the charismatic one. Bill was the engineer. Doug Engelbart: The four different video signals came in and he would mix them and project them.

That messed things up to today. Bruce Horn: Computing could have been this incredible tool for everybody. That was the vision of people like Doug Engelbart, Alan Kay… people like that. They were all basically trying to make the world a better place through computing. And personal computing is the most powerful way to extend an individual’s human abilities. That’s the bottom line. So for example, one of the things that Doug always said is “boosting mankind’s capability for coping with complex urgent problems.” That was the point of his work, his life’s work. Andy Hertzfeld: We couldn’t be in the world we are living in today with Doug Engelbart’s approach. Doug Engelbart did not care about making his software accessible. He really couldn’t care less. Doug didn’t care about it being easy to learn or really that easy to use.

John Battelle: I don’t know how I feel about that, to be honest. Jeff Skoll: I get this image in my head of these very powerful overgrown kids who don’t quite know what they have, and the rest of the world is just sort of at their disposal, and so what happens next? BOOK ONE AMONG THE COMPUTER BUMS The best way to predict the future is to invent it. —ALAN KAY The Big Bang Everything starts with Doug Engelbart Doug Engelbart was the first to actually build a computer that might seem familiar to us, today. He came to Silicon Valley after a stint in the Navy as a radar technician during World War Two. The computer then (and, in postwar America, there was only one computer) was used to calculate artillery tables. Engelbart was, in his own estimation, a “naïve drifter,” but something about the Valley inspired him to think big.


pages: 352 words: 120,202

Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology by Howard Rheingold

Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, card file, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, computer age, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, experimental subject, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacquard loom, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, pattern recognition, popular electronics, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Tools For Thought by Howard Rheingold April, 2000: a revised edition of Tools for Thought is available from MIT Press, including a revised chapter with 1999 interviews of Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, Alan Kay, Brenda Laurel, and Avron Barr. Tools for Thought is an exercise in retrospective futurism; that is, I wrote it in the early 1980s, attempting to look at what the mid 1990s would be like. My odyssey started when I discovered Xerox PARC and Doug Engelbart and realized that all the journalists who had descended upon Silicon Valley were missing the real story. Yes, the tales of teenagers inventing new industries in their garages were good stories. But the idea of the personal computer did not spring full-blown from the mind of Steve Jobs. Indeed, the idea that people could use computers to amplify thought and communication, as tools for intellectual work and social activity, was not an invention of the mainstream computer industry nor orthodox computer science, nor even homebrew computerists.

Think of how that would let you cut loose in solving problems!" After thirty often-frustrating years of pursuing a dream that the computer industry has long ignored, Doug Engelbart still can't keep the excitement out of his soft voice and the faraway look out of his eyes when he talks about the prospects he foresaw at twenty-five, and has pursued ever since. But he's not sure whether today's generation of computerists, with all their fancy hardware, are getting any closer to the real issues. Although history has proved him to be an accurate visionary in many ways, but perhaps a less-than-ideal manager of projects and people, and even his friends use the word "stubborn" in describing his attitudes about his theories, Doug Engelbart still wields the power of a quiet person. The magnetism of his long-envisioned goal is still strong for him, so strong that a good deal of it still radiates when he talks about it.

Indeed, the idea that people could use computers to amplify thought and communication, as tools for intellectual work and social activity, was not an invention of the mainstream computer industry nor orthodox computer science, nor even homebrew computerists. If it wasn't for people like J.C.R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Bob Taylor, Alan Kay, it wouldn't have happened. But their work was rooted in older, equally eccentric, equally visionary, work, so I went back to piece together how Boole and Babbage and Turing and von Neumann -- especially von Neumann - created the foundations that the later toolbuilders stood upon to create the future we live in today. You can't understand where mind-amplifying technology is going unless you understand where it came from. Chapter One: The Computer Revolution Hasn't Happened Yet Chapter Two: The First Programmer Was a Lady Chapter Three: The First Hacker and his Imaginary Machine Chapter Four: Johnny Builds Bombs and Johnny Builds Brains Chapter Five: Ex-Prodigies and Antiaircraft Guns Chapter Six: Inside Information Chapter Seven: Machines to Think With Chapter Eight: Witness to History: The Mascot of Project Mac Chapter Nine: The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Thinker Chapter Ten: The New Old Boys from the ARPAnet Chapter Eleven: The Birth of the Fantasy Amplifier Chapter Twelve: Brenda and the Future Squad Chapter Thirteen: Knowledge Engineers and Epistemological Entrepreneurs Chapter Fourteen: Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond Footnotes Dedicated To Nathan Rheingold, who gave me the most important thing a man can ever give his son: an example.


pages: 323 words: 92,135

Running Money by Andy Kessler

Andy Kessler, Apple II, bioinformatics, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business intelligence, buy and hold, buy low sell high, call centre, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, family office, full employment, George Gilder, happiness index / gross national happiness, interest rate swap, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, knowledge worker, Leonard Kleinrock, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, Marc Andreessen, margin call, market bubble, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, packet switching, pattern recognition, pets.com, railway mania, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Sand Hill Road, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Toyota Production System, zero-sum game

“Well, that VA hospital half a mile from here, at Willow and 101, is where Ken Kesey wrote One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Something may have spilled in the water.” “Not funny. Especially from you, Mr. Tech Investor.” “What do you mean?” “Everything you use today on your PC, Doug Engelbart demo’ed 30 years ago.” “Like what?” “Like the mouse.” “I thought that was Steve Jobs.” “Nope.” “OK, I was just kidding. Jobs stole it from Xerox PARC.” “Wrong again. It was Doug’s.” “What else?” “Hypertext.” “I thought that was that whacky Xanadu guy, Nelson something or other.” “Wrong again, sport Doug. Oh my god, here he comes!” Sharon exclaimed. “I just wanted to thank you for inviting me. I’m Doug Engelbart.” “Well, you are more than welcome. I’ve wanted to meet you The Augmenter 119 because we have four boys over here that create enough noise to simulate a small but effective nuclear device.

“Well, they’re probably not true.” “They’re true,” Sharon gurgled. “Have you met Sharon?” “No, hi, I’m Doug Engelbart.” “You . . . you . . . you . . . I know . . . I’m . . . Hi.” Sharon was goo-goo–eyed. “Doug, she claims to know your work, studied your work.” “Well, how nice to know my work. I’ve been in a few textbooks.” “Yaba . . .” Sharon was trying to say something profound, maybe she even was. “I think Sharon needs some more wine. Doug, let me get you some too. Anyway, thanks for coming. Enjoy the party.” Now I was curious. It was time to find out more about my neighbor, who somehow must have gone deaf over the years, if he can’t hear my kids screaming. A quick Web search the next day for Doug Engelbart pulled up a bunch of news stories. There was a picture of him getting some sort of medal from Bill Clinton.

There was no stock I could go out and buy tomorrow morning on that insight, but somehow I think Doug described not only the scale I was hunting for, but scale that was going to last for a very long time. Maybe the alphabet analogy is a good one, but after thinking about it, I think Doug Engelbart is a modern King James. I know that sounds odd, but so does scaling human knowledge. Think about it—the King James Bible took religion out of the hands of the high priests and put it into the hands of the people. An entire generation became literate just to be able to read the King James version of the Bible. These same people went on to work in manufactories of the Industrial Revolution, where literacy came in handy to speed up training of workers. Doug Engelbart’s augmentation effort took computers out of the hands of the high priests of the corporate information technology centers. Some call it democratization, but I like to look at it as a literacy move.


pages: 218 words: 63,471

How We Got Here: A Slightly Irreverent History of Technology and Markets by Andy Kessler

Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, animal electricity, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, Mitch Kapor, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

This is the type of joke that programmers live for at 4 AM while waiting for their programs to compile. The name was quickly changed to UNIX. On December 9, 1968, a symposium was held in San Francisco called the American Federation of Information Processing Societies' Fall Joint Computer Conference. With a billing like that, I’ll bet you’re sorry you missed it. A group of researchers at the Stanford Research Institute led by Doug Engelbart had been working since 1962 on a topic they called “Augmented Human Intellect,” and were set to present their findings. A snoozer right? It would turn out to be one of the most important gatherings in technological history. Engelbart got up and demonstrated a few things his team was playing with, built onto something called NLS or oN Line System. On a computer screen with both graphics and text were multiple windows, a text editor with cut and paste, and an outline processor.

If you were stuck, a help system would provide assistance based on the context of what you were looking for. The 1,000-plus attendees were stunned. This was 1968, with hippies roaming aimlessly through San Francisco. Yet here was this guy who laid out the map for the personal computer industry and Internet that would unfold over the next 35-plus years. And the microprocessor was still two years away from being invented! Doug Engelbart is the unsung hero of the computer and information revolution. And I’m not just saying that because he lives next door to me and doesn’t call the police when my kids are outside screaming so loud that sometimes I feel like calling in the National Guard to quiet them down. Engelbart’s augmentation ideas, while not implemented for another 15 years, took the horizontalization of the technology business a step further.

At a certain cost of computing power, when elasticity kicked in, computers had to be cheaper than rooms of humans. Augmenting often meant replacing, and helping those who remained. It also meant the creation of jobs elsewhere to create these tools. SOFTWARE AND NETWORKS 135 Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and Michael Dell and Lotus spreadsheet founder Mitch Kapor - these guys are great implementers. More power and riches to them, of course, but Doug Engelbart laid out their future and that of the personal computer. Not much more needs to be said (that others haven’t already overwritten.) An entire industry followed Doug’s map to create high margin intellectual property. Computers were not just for boring accounting functions; they really could augment the human race, and increase efficiency and productivity by replacing costly repetitive human functions. *** From the 1978 introduction of the Apple II computer to the 1981 announcement of the IBM PC (IBM bean counters estimated they would sell 250,000 over the life of the PC), the world has been flooded with smaller, cheaper and faster computers: 100-plus million new ones get sold every year.


pages: 379 words: 109,612

Is the Internet Changing the Way You Think?: The Net's Impact on Our Minds and Future by John Brockman

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Asperger Syndrome, availability heuristic, Benoit Mandelbrot, biofilm, Black Swan, British Empire, conceptual framework, corporate governance, Danny Hillis, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Emanuel Derman, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, Google Earth, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of writing, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, lifelogging, lone genius, loss aversion, mandelbrot fractal, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Rodney Brooks, Ronald Reagan, Schrödinger's Cat, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart grid, social graph, social software, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, trade route, upwardly mobile, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

Now there is a nearly infinite pool of accessible information that becomes my knowledge in a heartbeat measured in bits per second. For those of us who wallow in the world of knowledge for pleasure and profit, the Internet has become a vast extension of our potential selves. The modern Internet has achieved much of what Ted Nelson articulated decades ago in his vision of the Xanadu project, or Doug Engelbart in his human augmentation vision at SRI. Nearly all useful knowledge is now accessible instantaneously from much of the world. Our effective personal memories are now vastly larger—essentially infinite. Our identity is embedded in what we know. And how I think is an expression of that identity. For me, the Internet has led to that deep sense of collaboration, awareness, and ubiquitous knowledge that means that my thought processes are not bound by the meat machine that is my brain, nor my locality, nor my time.

I urge researchers and educators to look more systematically where I’m pointing. When I started out as a freelance writer in the 1970s, my most important tools were a library card, a typewriter, a notebook, and a telephone. In the early 1980s, I became interested in the people at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) who were using computers to edit text without physically cutting, pasting, and retyping pages. Through PARC, I discovered Douglas Engelbart, who had spent the first decade of his career trying to convince somebody, anybody, that using computers to augment human intellect was not a crazy idea. Engelbart set out in the early 1960s to demonstrate that computers could be used to automate low-level cognitive support tasks, such as cutting, pasting, and revising text, and also to enable intellectual tools, such as the hyperlink, that weren’t possible with Gutenberg-era technology.


pages: 559 words: 157,112

Dealers of Lightning by Michael A. Hiltzik

Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, beat the dealer, Bill Duvall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, business cycle, computer age, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Thorp, El Camino Real, index card, Jeff Rulifson, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, oil shock, popular electronics, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Crocker, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the medium is the message, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, zero-sum game

The screen showed how a user could select a single word in a text document and be instantly transported to the relevant portion of a second document—the essence of hypertext, found today, some thirty years later, on every World Wide Web page and countless word-processed documents. At the conclusion of the bravura performance Doug Engelbart, previously a prophet without honor, was rewarded with a standing ovation. In 1971 Taylor, whose ARPA funds had helped pay for that demo, was intent on somehow importing Engelbart’s interactive vision into PARC. The only question was how to do it without also importing Doug Engelbart. The problem was that the master’s inspirational dreams were inseparable from his inflexible and self-righteous disposition. One admirer called him “a prophet of biblical dimensions,” a role he fit down to his physical appearance. Tall and craggy, with deepset eyes and a hawklike nose, he might have been carved from a slab of antediluvian granite.

Almost from the moment Larry Tesler joined PARC as a recruit from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab, he felt out of place. His main job was to write software for POLOS, the “PARC On-Line Office System,” which was Bill English’s scheme to reengineer Doug Engelbart’s interactive multimedia system using the superior resources that Xerox money could buy. The work was being handled by a group of engineers English had raided from Engelbart, and they went at it with all the quasi-religious enthusiasm they had once felt working for the great man himself. What made Tesler feel like a stranger was a rather fundamental disagreement he had with his colleagues: He thought POLOS was ridiculous. Larry Tesler had never worked for Doug Engelbart. Not having partaken of the master’s heady wine, he was troubled by POLOS’s complexity. As imported from Engelbart’s lab, the system required users to learn a dizzying array of commands and key sequences involving the mouse, keyboard, and—especially frustrating—a bizarre device known as the “keyset.”

He sketched out something called the “memex,” which he described as “a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility.” The mechanism of consultation would be “associative indexing…whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and automatically another. This is the essential feature of the memex.” Doug Engelbart first encountered Bush’s memex in a magazine article he found in an a Red Cross library in Manila, where he was awaiting transport home from his World War II service. He succumbed to the author’s vision of a world of interlinked data as though to a sorcerer’s spell. By the time he left Berkeley a few years later with a Ph.D. in engineering, he had decided that his mission in life would be, in effect, to turn the memex into reality.


pages: 313 words: 84,312

We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production by Charles Leadbeater

1960s counterculture, Andrew Keen, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, c2.com, call centre, citizen journalism, clean water, cloud computing, complexity theory, congestion charging, death of newspapers, Debian, digital Maoism, disruptive innovation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, game design, Google Earth, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Jean Tirole, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, lone genius, M-Pesa, Mark Shuttleworth, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microcredit, Mitch Kapor, new economy, Nicholas Carr, online collectivism, planetary scale, post scarcity, Richard Stallman, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social web, software patent, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Whole Earth Catalog, Zipcar

The best way through this plethora of material, to find the person and the information you are looking for, is to rely on We-Think: the power of shared intelligence to sort wheat from chaff, whether through search engines, collaborative filters, wikis, or recommendations from trusted blogs and friends on social networks.15 The web’s tendency to promote sharing is not just a matter of necessity and some clever software. It has deeper roots in the academic and hippie culture that spawned the web in the 1960s. The best way to understand that story is to start with Doug Engelbart. The digital communards Nearly 40 years ago, Doug Engelbart stood before the cream of America’s fast-emerging computer industry gathered in Brooks Hall in San Francisco. On a giant screen he showed how they might: edit text directly on the screen of a computer using a keyboard and a mouse; insert links into a document leading to another related document; mix text with graphics and video; and connect one computer to another several miles away using a phone line.

Media and culture used to be an industrial business dependent on large printing presses and expensive television studios, making products for the mass audiences needed to sustain their costly operations. The spread of the web means more people than ever can have their say, post their comment, make a video, show a picture, write a song. The more I-Think there is, the more content and information we create, the more we will need We-Think to sort it. The anti-industrial ideas of the 1960s counter-culture, bringing together Doug Engelbart’s vision of distributed and decentralised technologies and Fred Moore’s ethic of sharing, underpin hopes that we might still be able to create egalitarian, self-governing communities. Finally, We-Think revives pre-industrial forms of organisation: the commons, peer-to-peer working, community innovation and folk creativity. We-Think is so potent because it mixes the brand-new – the blog and the wiki – with the very old.


pages: 272 words: 64,626

Eat People: And Other Unapologetic Rules for Game-Changing Entrepreneurs by Andy Kessler

23andMe, Andy Kessler, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, British Empire, business cycle, business process, California gold rush, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, disintermediation, Douglas Engelbart, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, George Gilder, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, libertarian paternalism, low skilled workers, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, Netflix Prize, packet switching, personalized medicine, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, profit motive, race to the bottom, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social graph, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transcontinental railway, transfer pricing, wealth creators, Yogi Berra

But as technology Scales, more and more of its power is sucked into the task of interfacing with us stupid humans. Often, technology is productive for early adopters who easily figure out how to use it, and then painfully unproductive for the next several hundred million people to jump onboard. This can last for years and years. But real success comes from hiding the technology from users. Inventor (and my next-door neighbor) Doug Engelbart had a dream of human augmentation, and gave the ultimate demonstration at an Association of Computing Machinery meeting back in 1968, with menus and hypertext and his wooden three-button mouse. You can find the video online in scratchy black and white. Well worth the watch. His vision took decades to implement. Windows icons and pull-down menus and mouse clicks were not only more intuitive than a command line prompt, they helped increase the productivity of users.

Heck, you ought to be able to tell me what my next three searches are going to be. Think one move ahead. That’s adaptive. Or show me what shows I ought to be watching, based on what I’ve already watched, what my friends are watching, what’s being talked about in blogs I read, what’s being talked about in blogs in general, what shows are coming up on the Ottoman Empire and on and on. I can search for this stuff myself, but who has time, or the attention span? As Doug Engelbart points out, augment me. Tell me what restaurants to go to, what articles to read, what fashion to overpay for and on and on. This is not easy stuff to pull off. Riches will be heaped on Free Radicals who solve the adaptive puzzle, because at the end of the day, augmentation is the ultimate in productivity and we will all benefit. It’s not without its thorns—privacy being the biggest one—but it’s going to be as big a game-changer as everything else.


Paper Knowledge: Toward a Media History of Documents by Lisa Gitelman

Andrew Keen, computer age, corporate governance, deskilling, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, information retrieval, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, Jaron Lanier, knowledge economy, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, national security letter, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, optical character recognition, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Turing test, WikiLeaks, Works Progress Administration

The manual and the operating system were each the mutual result of inertial and accelerative pressures, at the same time stuck (and restuck, like so many nth-­generation photocopies) in versions while also sputtering forward in annotations, patches, and revisions. Xerographic reproduction and the versioning of digital objects thus offered contexts for one another, even apart from the idea of digital copying. In this early era of minimal networking, digital copying remained encumbered by the necessity of transporting programs and data on magnetic tape or other hard media. Even the networked contexts of the day prove this point. In 1967 Douglas Engelbart and his team at the Stanford Research Institute were challenged to provide documentation for the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (better known as arpanet ) as it came online. There were a few things they knew for sure: they wanted users to be able to access documentation remotely across the network; they were certain that the distribution of hardcopy documents was also necessary, possibly in the form of microfiche; and they would obviously need a system of documentation that would allow frequent updating.

A much more direct line of descent— though across a longer span of time—might be drawn between Sketchpad and pdf , in the very least since John Warnock studied at the University of Utah after Sutherland joined the faculty there. What happened between these early page images and the development of pdf was the storied development of personal computers, and there is no need to rehearse that story here, since so many of its features are by now familiar: Douglas Engelbart and the demo; Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center and the Alto; Microbrew, Macintosh, and Microsoft.31 N E A R P R I N T A N D B E YO N D PA P E R 121 pdf technology would become both thinkable and desirable in the context of personal computing in the 1980s, and its conception would stem in particular from the emergence of desktop publishing as an application for personal computers toward the middle of that decade.

On imposing, see John Moxon, Mechanick Exercises on the Whole Art of Printing (London, 1683–84), 2:223–33. 25. Charles P. Bourne and Trudi Bellardo Hahn, A History of Online Information Services, 1963–1976 (Cambridge, MA: mit Press, 2003), 64, 65. 26. Ibid., 326. 27. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad, A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963. 28. Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), 84. See also Michael Hiltzik, Dealers of Lightning: Xerox parc and the Dawn of the Computer Age (New York: Harper Collins, 1999), 90–91. 29. Ivan Edward Sutherland, “Sketchpad, A Man-­Machine Graphical Communication System,” PhD diss., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1963, 70–71. 30.


A People’s History of Computing in the United States by Joy Lisi Rankin

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, computer age, corporate social responsibility, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Howard Zinn, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pink-collar, profit motive, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the market place, urban planning, Whole Earth Catalog, wikimedia commons

In April 1963, Kemeny delivered a speech to the board of trustees in which he argued that computing would be a necessary skill for all of Dartmouth’s gradu­ates, regardless of their professional paths.68 He underscored that their immediate access to computing resources was a worthy goal for the college. Kemeny’s conviction on this point set him apart from many other scholars and computing enthusiasts at the time. Better-­k nown computer visionaries such as J. C. R. Licklider and Douglas Engelbart envisioned ­futures of computers in the hands of individuals, but they pursued their ideas through small research labs. They worked to improve the technology itself, rather than figuring out a way to bring existing technology to as many p ­ eople as pos­si­ble.69 In contrast, Kemeny displayed a passion for widespread computing born from witnessing the creativity and enthusiasm of a handful of engaged students.

Amy’s race car sped ahead based on how quickly she answered basic math questions (like 6 × 6 or 12 ÷ 6), and she competed against e­ ither the computer or her own previous best time (represented by the other race car).95 She remembered “the excitement of looking forward to working on the computer and playing. . . . ​ We even had touch screens installed ­later that year, which as an 11-­year-­old I’m sure I thought ­were the coolest.”96 Meller’s feast-­for-­the-­senses handbook and Fahey’s gaming enthusiasm undermine the most familiar story about where personal computers came from. That story usually features Douglas Engelbart, Xerox PARC, and Steve Jobs—­Silicon Valley characters all. The very short version of that story is that Engelbart’s 1968 demonstration of personal computing ­shaped the Alto personal computer built by PARC in the 1970s, and Steve Jobs stole the fire of the Alto—­ namely, the menus and win­dows on its screen and its mouse—­and gave it to the ­people in the form of the Apple Macintosh. And then we had personal computers.

Kemeny reported, “We are hopefully reaching the final stage of negotiations with GE .” The commitment to GE equipment was also expressed in Kurtz, Rieser, and Meck, “Application to the National Science Foundation.” 68. Kemeny, Random Essays. 69. M. Mitchell Waldrop, The Dream Machine: J. C. R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal (New York: Penguin Books, 2002); Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Co­evolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000). 70. Kemeny, Random Essays. 71. Kurtz, “BASIC Session,” 519–520. 72. Kurtz, “BASIC Session.” 73. Kemeny, “A Computing Center at a Liberal Arts College.” 74. Kurtz, oral history interview, 25. 75. Kurtz, Rieser, and Meck, “Application to the National Science Foundation,” cover page. 76. Ibid., 5. 77.


The Code: Silicon Valley and the Remaking of America by Margaret O'Mara

"side hustle", A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, accounting loophole / creative accounting, affirmative action, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, barriers to entry, Ben Horowitz, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, business climate, Byte Shop, California gold rush, carried interest, clean water, cleantech, cloud computing, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, computer age, continuous integration, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, deindustrialization, different worldview, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Frank Gehry, George Gilder, gig economy, Googley, Hacker Ethic, high net worth, Hush-A-Phone, immigration reform, income inequality, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, Joan Didion, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, mutually assured destruction, new economy, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, Paul Terrell, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, pirate software, popular electronics, pre–internet, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supercomputer in your pocket, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, the market place, the new new thing, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, transcontinental railway, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, Unsafe at Any Speed, upwardly mobile, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty, We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, William Shockley: the traitorous eight, Y Combinator, Y2K

Soon after, university administrators cut ties with SRI and its controversial portfolio of classified projects. The decision disappointed the students, who had hoped that SRI would be shut down altogether.2 Had that happened, Stanford would have squelched an operation that was building an entirely new universe of connected, human-scale computing—the home of Shaky the Robot, of Dean Brown’s education lab, and of Doug Engelbart’s “research center for augmenting human intellect.” In Engelbart’s emphasis on networked collaboration, this low-key member of the Greatest Generation was completely in sync with the radical political currents swirling around the Stanford campus and the bland suburban storefronts of the South Bay. Just down the road from SRI’s Menlo Park facility was Kepler’s Books, which owner Roy Kepler had turned into an antiwar and countercultural salon.

Top electronics firms had been setting up labs in Fred Terman’s orbit for two decades by then, and no other place could match the combination of Class A real estate, Class A engineering talent, and Class A weather. “Xerox Plans Laboratory for Research in California,” read the tiny item buried inside The New York Times business section in the spring of 1970. Its purpose, said Xerox research chief Jacob Goldman, was “to advance data processing technology.”5 The innocuous announcement marked the launch of a venture that eventually turned Doug Engelbart’s vision into market reality. Ironically, although Xerox bankrolled the enterprise, the company was not the ultimate beneficiary of the breakthroughs it sponsored. It was not a computer company, and the copier business was simply too lucrative to justify creating entirely new product lines and sales channels in order to become one. Instead, its Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, became the seedbed for new, mostly California-based companies whose profits ultimately would dwarf those of the photocopier and mainframe industries combined.

The people who filled PARC’s halls in the first years of the 1970s were tightly networked into the convivial Bay Area ecosystem of computer professionals. At a time and place dominated by the semiconductor industry, “with its famously macho disdain for women,” as PARC scientist Lynn Conway put it, there was remarkable gender diversity in its ranks. The new hires took advantage of Xerox’s abundant resources and loose oversight to creatively interpret Goldman’s definition of “data processing technology,” pursuing projects inspired by Doug Engelbart’s ideas about augmented intelligence and by hacker culture more generally. Engelbart’s SRI operation had drifted after the great demo—investors couldn’t figure out the devices’ commercial potential—and several members of his team moved over to PARC. Still more came from the academic engineering diaspora of Stanford and Berkeley. There was Alan Kay, who wanted to develop a computer small enough to fit in a book bag.


pages: 308 words: 84,713

The Glass Cage: Automation and Us by Nicholas Carr

Airbnb, Airbus A320, Andy Kessler, Atul Gawande, autonomous vehicles, Bernard Ziegler, business process, call centre, Captain Sullenberger Hudson, Charles Lindbergh, Checklist Manifesto, cloud computing, computerized trading, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, High speed trading, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, natural language processing, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technoutopianism, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, turn-by-turn navigation, US Airways Flight 1549, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, William Langewiesche

Government Printing Office, 1966), 201–221. 37.George Dyson, comment on Edge.org, July 11, 2008, edge.org/discourse/carr_google.html#dysong. 38.For a lucid explanation of machine learning, see the sixth chapter of John MacCormick’s Nine Algorithms That Changed the Future: The Ingenious Ideas That Drive Today’s Computers (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012). 39.Max Raskin and Ilan Kolet, “Wall Street Jobs Plunge as Profits Soar,” Bloomberg News, April 23, 2013, bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-24/wall-street-jobs-plunge-as-profits-soar-chart-of-the-day.html. 40.Ashwin Parameswaran, “Explaining the Neglect of Doug Engelbart’s Vision: The Economic Irrelevance of Human Intelligence Augmentation,” Macroresilience, July 8, 2013, macroresilience.com/2013/07/08/explaining-the-neglect-of-doug-engelbarts-vision/. 41.See Daniel Martin Katz, “Quantitative Legal Prediction—or—How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Preparing for the Data-Driven Future of the Legal Services Industry,” Emory Law Journal 62, no. 4 (2013): 909–966. 42.Joseph Walker, “Meet the New Boss: Big Data,” Wall Street Journal, September 20, 2012. 43.Franco “Bifo” Berardi, The Soul at Work: From Alienation to Automation (Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2009), 96. 44.A.


pages: 245 words: 83,272

Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World by Meredith Broussard

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, autonomous vehicles, availability heuristic, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, Buckminster Fuller, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, cognitive bias, complexity theory, computer vision, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, DARPA: Urban Challenge, digital map, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Firefox, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, Minecraft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, natural language processing, PageRank, payday loans, paypal mafia, performance metric, Peter Thiel, price discrimination, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Saturday Night Live, school choice, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tesla Model S, the High Line, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, theory of mind, Travis Kalanick, Turing test, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce

Although we like to credit individuals for technological innovations, rarely is it the case that a lone inventor created any modern computational innovations. When you look closely, there’s always a logical predecessor and a team of people who worked on the idea for months or years. Jobs paid for a tour of Xerox PARC, saw the idea of a GUI, and licensed it. The Xerox PARC mouse-and-GUI computer was a derivative of an earlier idea, the oN-Line System (NLS), demonstrated by Doug Engelbart in the “mother of all demos” at the 1968 Association for Computing Machinery conference. We’ll look at this intricate history in chapter 6. The next layer to think about is another software layer: a program that runs on top of an operating system. A web browser (like Safari or Firefox or Chrome or Internet Explorer) is a program that allows you to view web pages. Microsoft Word is a word processing program.

(Minsky was on the scientific advisory board of Alcor Cryonics, a foundation for wealthy “transhumanist” true believers who maintain a freezer in Arizona for dead bodies and brains. The foundation’s multi-million-dollar trust is designed to keep the power on for decades.)15 Reading about Silicon Valley billionaires’ desires to live to age two hundred or talk with little green men, it’s tempting to ask: Were you high when you thought of that? Often, the answer is yes. Steve Jobs dropped acid in the early 1970s after he dropped out of Reed College. Doug Engelbart, the NASA- and ARPA-funded researcher who performed the 1968 “mother of all demos” that showed for the first time all the hardware and software elements of modern computing, dropped acid at the International Foundation for Advanced Study, the legal home for academic inquiry into LSD that lasted until 1967. Operating the camera for Engelbart’s demo was Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Catalog founder who helped organize LSD guru Ken Kesey’s infamous acid tests, massive drug-fueled cross-country bacchanals that were chronicled in Tom Wolfe’s book The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.


pages: 382 words: 105,819

Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe by Roger McNamee

4chan, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, Bernie Sanders, Boycotts of Israel, Cass Sunstein, cloud computing, computer age, cross-subsidies, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, game design, income inequality, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, laissez-faire capitalism, Lean Startup, light touch regulation, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Metcalfe’s law, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, post-work, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, recommendation engine, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software is eating the world, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, The Chicago School, Tim Cook: Apple, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, WikiLeaks, Yom Kippur War

The era of government lasted about thirty years. Data networks as we think of them today did not yet exist. Even so, brilliant people imagined a world where small computers optimized for productivity would be connected on powerful networks. In the sixties, J. C. R. Licklider conceived the network that would become the internet, and he persuaded the government to finance its development. At the same time, Douglas Engelbart invented the field of human-computer interaction, which led to him to create the first computer mouse and to conceive the first graphical interface. It would take nearly two decades before Moore’s Law and Metcalfe’s Law could deliver enough performance to enable their vision of personal computing and an additional decade before the internet took off. Beginning in the seventies, the focus of the tech industry began to shift toward the needs of business.

(Massive server farms based on PC technology now attract any new application that needs mainframe-class processing; it is a much cheaper solution because you can use commodity hardware instead of proprietary mainframes.) ARPANET, the predecessor to today’s internet, began as a Department of Defense research project in 1969 under the leadership of Bob Taylor, a computer scientist who continued to influence the design of systems and networks until the late nineties. Douglas Engelbart’s lab was one of the first nodes on ARPANET. The goal was to create a nationwide network to protect the country’s command and control infrastructure in the event of a nuclear attack. The first application of computer technology to the consumer market came in 1972, when Al Alcorn created the game Pong as a training exercise for his boss at Atari, Nolan Bushnell. Bushnell’s impact on Silicon Valley went far beyond the games produced by Atari.

Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley, by Antonio García Martínez (New York: Harper, 2016), is the inside story of an engineer who started a company, ran out of money, got a gig in advertising technology at Facebook, and was there during the formative years of the business practices that enabled Cambridge Analytica. Through the lens of this book, you will get a clear view of the culture and internal practices of Facebook and other platforms. Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley, by Adam Fisher (New York: Twelve, 2018), is a collection of interviews and quotes from participants at nearly every stage of Silicon Valley’s development. The book begins in the sixties, with Douglas Engelbart, and marches steadily to the present. The interview with Facebook founders and early employees is essential reading. There are also illuminating interviews with the early people at Google and Twitter. There are two works of fiction that prepared me to recognize the disturbing signals I picked up from Facebook in 2016. The Circle, by Dave Eggers (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013), describes a fictional company that combines the attributes of Facebook and Google.


pages: 261 words: 81,802

The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig

"Robert Solow", battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, laissez-faire capitalism, land tenure, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, very high income, wealth creators, women in the workforce

Almost all these advances were the result of work funded by the US government and military, and most were the result of teamwork, with individual contributions often hard to identify. Notes Essinger: ‘Ever since the late 1950s, this has tended to be the pattern for breakthroughs in computing: they have been the result of collaborative and joint effort by large teams composed of often anonymous people ‌rather than by individual pioneers.’4 Some individual pioneers do stand out, most notably Douglas Engelbart, a visionary engineer driven by a desire to develop computers to help solve the urgent problems facing humanity, rather than just as commercial tools enabling people to work faster. With funding from the US Air Force in the early 1960s, Engelbart, along with engineer Bill English, invented some of the key features that we associate with personal computers ‌today, such as the mouse.5 Up until this point, computers, though immensely powerful, were essentially inaccessible to humans, except to a few initiates possessing sophisticated programming skills.

Engelbart, who has been sadly disappointed by the commercial direction of the computer revolution, held the patent for the mouse, although he never actually received any royalties for it because he allowed it to expire in 1987, on the cusp of the desktop revolution. So if we were to present the story of the development of the personal computer as a stage play, it would be a rich and complex drama with a long list of characters. From early scenes featuring Joseph Marie Jacquard and his punched-card technology, the play would go on to include starring roles for Charles Babbage, Herman Hollerith, Thomas John Watson, J. Presper Eckert, John Mauchly, Douglas Engelbart and Bill English, with a host of other largely unidentified characters playing crucial supporting roles onstage and off. Toward the end of this rather long drama, there’d be an intriguing subplot about how technological innovator Gary Kildall thought he had a deal with IBM, only to discover his friend Bill Gates had sold IBM an adaptation of Kildall’s own operating system for the first mass-market personal computer.

.), The Montreal Protocol. ‌14 Ross Gelbspan, The Heat is On: The Climate Crisis, the Cover-Up, the Prescription (Reading, MA: Perseus Books, 1998), pp. 76–7. 5 Why Bill Gates Doesn’t Deserve His Fortune ‌1 The story of IBM’s early dealings with Gary Kildall and Bill Gates is recounted in Harold Evans, They Made America (New York: Little Brown, 2004), pp. 402–19. See also Steve Hamm & Jay Greene, ‘The Man Who Could Have Been Bill Gates’, BusinessWeek, 25 October 2004. ‌2 Evans, They Made America, pp. 402–19. ‌3 James Essinger, Jacquard’s Web (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 37. ‌4 Ibid., p. 249. ‌5 Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000), pp. 81–102. ‌6 Gar Alperovitz & Lew Daly, Unjust Deserts (New York: The New Press, 2008), p. 58. ‌7 Ibid., pp. 59–61. ‌8 Ibid., p. 60. ‌9 Cited in ibid., p. 63. ‌10 Robert M. Solow, ‘Growth Theory and After’, Nobel lecture, 8 December 1987, http://www.nobelprize.org. ‌11 Herbert A. Simon, ‘UBI and the Flat Tax’, Boston Review, October/November 2000. ‌12 Cited in Alperovitz & Daly, Unjust Deserts, p. 36. ‌13 Ibid., p. 96. ‌14 John Stuart Mill, ‘Land Tenure Reform’, Collected Works, vol. 5 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967), p. 691. ‌15 John Stuart Mill, Principles of Political Economy, vol. 2, book 2, chapter 1, section 3, p. 208. ‌16 L.


Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age by Alex Wright

1960s counterculture, Ada Lovelace, barriers to entry, British Empire, business climate, business intelligence, Cape to Cairo, card file, centralized clearinghouse, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, Deng Xiaoping, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, European colonialism, Frederick Winslow Taylor, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, Law of Accelerating Returns, linked data, Livingstone, I presume, lone genius, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Norman Mailer, out of africa, packet switching, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Scramble for Africa, self-driving car, semantic web, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog

He saw these developments as fundamentally connected to a larger utopian project that would bring the world closer to a state of permanent and lasting peace and toward a state of collective spiritual enlightenment. The conventional history of the Internet traces its roots through an Anglo-American lineage of early computer scientists like Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and Alan Turing; networking visionaries like Vinton G. Cerf and Robert E. Kahn; as well as hypertext seers like Vannevar Bush, J. C. R. Licklider, Douglas Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and of course Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, who in 1991 released their first version of the World Wide Web. The dominant influence of the modern computer industry has placed computer science at the center of this story. Nonetheless Otlet’s work, grounded in an age before microchips and semiconductors, opened the door to an alternative stream of thought, one undergirding our present-day information age even though it has little to do with the history of digital computing.

Ultimately, that network came to consist of a small group of computing centers 248 T he I ntergalactic N etwor k located at several leading research centers, including MIT, CarnegieMellon, the University of Utah, the Rand Corporation, Stanford Research Institute (SRI), and the University of California campuses at Berkeley, Santa Barbara, and Los Angeles. While working with the SRI team, Licklider championed the work of a researcher named Douglas Engelbart, who spent much of the 1960s working on this early proto-hypertext tool known as the oN-Line System (which I will discuss further later). With the financial backing of the U.S. military, Licklider launched a series of landmark projects that would also pave the way for, among other things, the modern UNIX operating system, which provided a template for solving a larger problem: how to engineer a network that allowed a number of far-flung computers—running on different systems and with different operating capacities—to communicate with each other.

These involved problems of brute-force calculation and data storage rather than the more humanistic conundrums of knowledge management that Bush, Otlet, Wells, and others had pondered. But Bush’s ideas percolated in the background for years, until a new generation of information scientists would build on his vision with the first computer-based hypertext experiments of the 1960s. Years later, Licklider would dedicate his report, Libraries of the Future, to Vannevar Bush. On December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart took the stage before a packed house at Brooks Hall Auditorium in San Francisco to give his first public demonstration of the oN-Line System (NLS). Dressed in the white shirt of a working engineer, the soft-spoken former Navy telegraph operator demonstrated a working model of a system that struck many of the idealistic San Francisco counterculture types in attendance as representing nothing short of a revolution in human consciousness.


pages: 481 words: 125,946

What to Think About Machines That Think: Today's Leading Thinkers on the Age of Machine Intelligence by John Brockman

agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, clean water, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, constrained optimization, corporate personhood, cosmological principle, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, dark matter, discrete time, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, Emanuel Derman, endowment effect, epigenetics, Ernest Rutherford, experimental economics, Flash crash, friendly AI, functional fixedness, global pandemic, Google Glasses, hive mind, income inequality, information trail, Internet of things, invention of writing, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, loose coupling, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, natural language processing, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Peter Singer: altruism, phenotype, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Thaler, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, smart contracts, social intelligence, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, strong AI, Stuxnet, superintelligent machines, supervolcano, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K

WHEN I SAY “BRUNO LATOUR,” I DON’T MEAN “BANANA TILL” JOHN NAUGHTON Vice-President, Wolfson College, Cambridge; Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Technology, Open University; author, From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: What You Really Need to Know About the Internet What do I think about machines that think? Well, it depends what they think about and how well they do it. For decades I’ve been an acolyte of Doug Engelbart, who believed that computers were machines for augmenting human intellect. Power steering for the mind, if you like. He devoted his life to the pursuit of that dream, but it eluded him because the technology was always too crude, too stupid, too inflexible to enable its realization. It still is, despite Moore’s Law and the rest of it. But it’s getting better, slowly. Search engines, for example, have in some cases become a workable memory prosthesis for some of us.

Easy: when my artificially intelligent, thinking personal assistant can generate plausible excuses that get me out of doing what I don’t want to do. Should I be bothered by the prospect of thinking machines? Probably. Certainly Nick Bostrom thinks I should. Our focus on getting computers to exhibit human-level intelligence is, he thinks, misguided. We view machines that can pass the Turing Test as the ultimate destination of Doug Engelbart’s quest. But Bostrom thinks that passing the test is just a waypoint on the road to something much more worrying. “The train,” he says, “might not pause or even decelerate at Humanville Station. It is likely to swoosh right by.”4 He’s right: I should be careful what I wish for. IT’S STILL EARLY DAYS NICK BOSTROM Professor, Oxford University; director, Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford Martin School; author, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies First, what I think about humans who think about machines that think: I think that for the most part we’re too quick to form an opinion on this difficult topic.


pages: 480 words: 123,979

Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality by Jaron Lanier

4chan, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, carbon footprint, cloud computing, collaborative editing, commoditize, cosmological constant, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, El Camino Real, Elon Musk, Firefox, game design, general-purpose programming language, gig economy, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, impulse control, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kuiper Belt, lifelogging, mandelbrot fractal, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, profit motive, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks, wikimedia commons

Since the computers weren’t connected, you’d have to drive to see a demo, or bring it along with you. Instead of goats, the back of the Dodge Dart was now piled with computers, so I could haul around demos of my work. I remember having to occasionally pick bits of old hay out of hard drive slots. I’d show everyone Moondust. I showed it to Alan Kay and his team up at Xerox PARC, to the people at Apple who would end up creating the Mac, to Doug Engelbart’s group at the Stanford Research Institute, to the people at NASA working with flight simulators. One time I hefted one of those giant old CRT monitors up onto a table at this dimly lit dim sum place in an alley near Stanford—to show people Moondust, of course. (Don’t recall the name of the joint, but if anyone wants to figure it out, this was the one that put almond oil in their shrimp dumplings, and everyone talked about that.)

Decades later, Ted would say that his greatest regret might have been the font size in that book. 4.   Okay, snide reader, I’ll say it for you. I get complaints that my books are too hard to read. So many big words, even as I am apparently challenging digital elitism. I don’t have a perfect answer to this criticism. One must write as who one is. 5.   There is another contender, which is Doug Engelbart’s famous first demonstration of productivity software in 1968. Doug showed text editing, windows, pointing and selecting things on the screen, collaborative editing, file versions, video conferencing, and many other designs that have become building blocks of our lives. Sometimes Ivan’s demo is called the “best demo ever,” while Doug’s is called “the mother of all demos,” even though Ivan’s was earlier. 6.   


pages: 547 words: 148,732

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

1960s counterculture, Albert Einstein, Anton Chekhov, Burning Man, cognitive dissonance, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, experimental subject, Exxon Valdez, Golden Gate Park, Google Earth, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Internet Archive, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Mason jar, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Mother of all demos, placebo effect, Ralph Waldo Emerson, randomized controlled trial, Ronald Reagan, scientific mainstream, scientific worldview, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Whole Earth Catalog

Subjects reported much greater fluidity in their thinking, as well as an enhanced ability to both visualize a problem and recontextualize it. “We were amazed, as were our participants, at how many novel and effective solutions came out of our sessions,” Fadiman wrote. Among their subjects were some of the visionaries who in the next few years would revolutionize computers, including William English and Doug Engelbart.* There are all sorts of problems with this study—it was not controlled, it relied on the subjects’ own assessments of their success, and it was halted before it could be completed—but it does at least point to a promising avenue for research. The foundation had closed up shop by 1966, but Hubbard’s work in Silicon Valley was not quite over. In one of the more mysterious episodes of his career, Hubbard was called out of semiretirement by Willis Harman in 1968.

* The whole notion of cybernetics, the idea that material reality can be translated into bits of information, may also owe something to the experience of LSD, with its power to collapse matter into spirit. Brand thinks LSD’s value to his community was as an instigator of creativity, one that first helped bring the power of networked computers to people (via SRI computer visionaries such as Doug Engelbart and the early hacker community), but then was superseded by the computers themselves. (“At a certain point, the drugs weren’t getting any better,” Brand said, “but the computers were.”) After his experience at IFAS, Brand got involved with Ken Kesey and his notorious Acid Tests, which he describes as “a participatory art form that led directly to Burning Man,” the annual gathering of the arts, technology, and psychedelic communities in the Nevada desert.


pages: 400 words: 94,847

Reinventing Discovery: The New Era of Networked Science by Michael Nielsen

Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, bioinformatics, Cass Sunstein, Climategate, Climatic Research Unit, conceptual framework, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, fault tolerance, Fellow of the Royal Society, Firefox, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Internet Archive, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, Kevin Kelly, Magellanic Cloud, means of production, medical residency, Nicholas Carr, P = NP, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, selection bias, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, social intelligence, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, University of East Anglia, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge

Here, I describe a few of the sources that have most decisively influenced my thinking, and suggest further reading. Collective intelligence: The idea of using computers to amplify individual and collective human intelligence has a long history. Influential early works include Vannevar Bush’s celebrated article “As We May Think” [31], which described his imagined memex system, and inspired the seminal work of both Douglas Engelbart [63] and Ted Nelson [145]. Although these works are many decades old, they lay out much of what we see in today’s internet, and reveal vistas beyond. Aside from these foundational works, my ideas about collective intelligence have been strongly influenced by economic ideas. Herbert Simon [197] seems to have been the first person to have pointed out the crucial role of attention as a scarce resource in an information-rich world.

And, finally, Jane Jacobs’s masterpiece The Death and Life of Great American Cities [98] is a superb account of how very large groups tackle a core human problem: how to make a place to live. Networked science, in general: The potential of computers and the network to change the way science is done has been discussed by many people, and over a long period of time. Such discussion can be found in many of the works describd above, in particular the work of Vannevar Bush [31] and Douglas Engelbart [63]. Other notable works include those of Eric Drexler [57], Jon Udell [227], Christine Borgman [23], and Jim Gray [83]. See also Tim Berners-Lee’s original proposal for the world wide web, reprinted in [14]. A stimulating and enjoyable fictional depiction of networked science is Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End [231]. Data-driven science: One of the first people to understand and clearly articulate the value of data-driven science was Jim Gray, of Microsoft Research.


pages: 391 words: 71,600

Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft's Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Amazon Web Services, anti-globalists, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Bretton Woods, business process, cashless society, charter city, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer age, computer vision, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, fault tolerance, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Google Glasses, Grace Hopper, industrial robot, Internet of things, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, Mars Rover, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, NP-complete, Oculus Rift, pattern recognition, place-making, Richard Feynman, Robert Gordon, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, telepresence, telerobotics, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, Tim Cook: Apple, trade liberalization, two-sided market, universal basic income, Wall-E, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, young professional, zero-sum game

Mixed reality will become an essential tool in medicine, education, and manufacturing. AI will help forecast crises like the Zika epidemic and help us focus our time and attention on things that matter most. Quantum computing will give us the computational power to cure cancer and effectively address global warming. The intellectual history of how computers augment the human intellect and build a collective IQ has always fascinated me. Doug Engelbart in the 1960s performed “the mother of all demos,” introducing the mouse, hypertext, and shared-screen teleconferencing. Engelbart’s Law states that the rate of human performance is exponential; that while technology will augment our capabilities, our ability to improve upon improvements is a uniquely human endeavor. He essentially founded the field of human-computer interaction. There are many other visionaries who influenced me and the industry, but around the time I joined Microsoft in 1992, two futuristic novels were being eagerly consumed by engineers all over campus.


pages: 281 words: 71,242

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer

artificial general intelligence, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, big-box store, Buckminster Fuller, citizen journalism, Colonization of Mars, computer age, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Double Irish / Dutch Sandwich, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, global village, Google Glasses, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, income inequality, intangible asset, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Law of Accelerating Returns, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, PageRank, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, planetary scale, Ray Kurzweil, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Singularitarianism, software is eating the world, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, the medium is the message, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, yellow journalism

” • • • WHEN JOBS DESCRIBED THE Whole Earth Catalog as a “bible” to his generation, he really meant to his generation of techies and hackers, the vanguard of geeks that revolutionized computing. All the rudiments of personal computing were, more or less, developed by the late sixties. Thanks to DEC, the Massachusetts hardware company, there were new examples of massive mainframes shrunk to more approachable microprocessors. Designers at Stanford had created the mouse. The Defense Department had wired the first internet. Visionary technologists like Doug Engelbart (inventor of the mouse) had imagined a future where machines played a much more intimate role in the lives of everyday people. But they spoke in jargon—and the machines were still too expensive, too large, and too confusing to be placed on office desks, let alone into homes. Innovations don’t magically appear or simply proceed on the basis of some scientific logic; the culture prods them into existence.


pages: 137 words: 36,231

Information: A Very Short Introduction by Luciano Floridi

agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, bioinformatics, carbon footprint, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, industrial robot, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Laplace demon, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Nelson Mandela, Norbert Wiener, Pareto efficiency, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Vilfredo Pareto

There is no term for this radical form of re-engineering, so we may use re-ontologizing as a neologism to refer to a very radical form of re-engineering, one that not only designs, constructs, or structures a system (e.g. a company, a machine, or some artefact) anew, but that fundamentally transforms its intrinsic nature, that is, its ontology. In this sense, ICTs are not merely re-engineering but actually re-ontologizing our world. Looking at the history of the mouse (http://sloan.stanford.edu/mousesite/), for example, one discovers that our technology has not only adapted to, but also educated, us as users. Douglas Engelbart (born 1925) once told me that, when he was refining his most famous invention, the mouse, he even experimented with placing it under the desk, to be operated with one's leg, in order to leave the user's hands free. Human-Computer Interaction is a symmetric relation. To return to our distinction, while a dishwasher interface is a panel through which the machine enters into the user's world, a digital interface is a gate through which a user can be present in cyberspace.


pages: 423 words: 126,096

Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner

A. Roger Ekirch, Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Shoshana Zuboff, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce

Sarah Handler and the author (London: Han-Shan Tang, 1986), 14–16, 19–21; Sarah Handler, Austere Luminosity of Chinese Classical Furniture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001), 9–24. 6. K. H. E. Kroemer, H. B. Kroemer, and K. E. Kroemer-Elbert, Ergonomics: How to Design for Ease and Efficiency (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1994), 365–69; Thierry Bardini, Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), illustration section, n.p. 7. Ralph S. Hattox, Coffee and Coffeehouses: The Origins of a Social Beverage in the Medieval Near East (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1985), plate 12. 8. See Lorenz Homberger and Piet Meyer, “Concerning African Objects,” and Roy Sieber, “African Furniture Between Tradition and Colonization,” in Sandro Bocola, ed., African Seats (Munich: Prestel, 1996), 22–29 and 30–37, respectively. 9.

Norman’s The Psychology of Everyday Things (New York: Basic Books, 1988), now reprinted as The Design of Everyday Things, emphasizes the mental side of physical objects. The most important recent study of the body in today’s workplace is Shoshana Zuboff, In the Age of the Smart Machine: The Future of Work and Power (New York: Basic Books, 1988). For the history of the visionary side of technology, mind, and body, there is Thierry Bardini’s Bootstrapping: Douglas Engelbart, Coevolution, and the Origins of Personal Computing (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000). In cyborg anthropology, the starting point is Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (New York: Routledge, 1991). Taking the theme into the Web era are Chris Hables Gray, Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age (New York: Routledge, 2001), and N. Katherine Hailes, How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).


pages: 566 words: 122,184

Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold

Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Eratosthenes, Grace Hopper, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, millennium bug, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

One of the first people to envision a new era of interactive computing was Ivan Sutherland (born 1938), who in 1963 demonstrated a revolutionary graphics program he had developed for the SAGE computers named Sketchpad. Sketchpad could store image descriptions in memory and display the images on the video display. In addition, you could use the light pen to draw images on the display and change them, and the computer would keep track of it all. Another early visionary of interactive computing was Douglas Engelbart (born 1925), who read Vannevar Bush's article "As We May Think" when it was published in 1945 and five years later began a lifetime of work developing new ideas in computer interfaces. In the mid-1960s, while at the Sanford Research Institute, Engelbart completely rethought input devices and came up with a five-pronged keyboard for entering commands (which never caught on) and a smaller device with wheels and a button that he called a mouse.

Graphical objects (such as buttons and menus and little pictures called icons) became part of the user interface. The mouse was used for selecting windows or triggering the graphical objects to perform program functions. This was software that went beyond the user interface into user intimacy, software that facilitated the extension of the computer into realms beyond those of simple number crunching. This was software that was designed—to quote the title of a legendary paper written by Douglas Engelbart in 1963—"for the Augmentation of Man's Intellect." What PARC developed in the Alto was the beginnings of the graphical user interface, or GUI (pronounced gooey). But Xerox didn't sell the Alto (one would have cost over $30,000 if they had), and over a decade passed before the ideas in the Alto would be embodied in a successful consumer product. In 1979, Steve Jobs and a contingent from Apple Computer visited PARC and were quite impressed with what they saw.


pages: 291 words: 77,596

Total Recall: How the E-Memory Revolution Will Change Everything by Gordon Bell, Jim Gemmell

airport security, Albert Einstein, book scanning, cloud computing, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, information retrieval, invention of writing, inventory management, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, lifelogging, Menlo Park, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, performance metric, RAND corporation, RFID, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Ted Nelson, telepresence, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application

Many will soon be keeping everything from internal meetings, e-mails, and memos to external-facing activities like sales, customer support, and purchasing. And making it searchable, usable information. Time management, knowledge mining, trend discovery, context-sensitive reminding, and other computer assistance will also be applied to the institution’s broader memory. SRI, the institute where Doug Engelbart invented the computer mouse in 1964, is managing an extensive DARPA-funded research program called the Cognitive Assistant that Learns and Organizes (CALO). CALO presumes a corporate digital memory, and rather than requiring users to learn all of its ins and outs, it learns from its users and from the material their organization produces. It learns about people’s needs, routines, and expectations to become a real assistant that can be proactive.


pages: 477 words: 75,408

The Economic Singularity: Artificial Intelligence and the Death of Capitalism by Calum Chace

3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, Berlin Wall, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, blockchain, call centre, Chris Urmson, congestion charging, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flynn Effect, full employment, future of work, gender pay gap, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, ImageNet competition, income inequality, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, lifelogging, lump of labour, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Milgram experiment, Narrative Science, natural language processing, new economy, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, post scarcity, post-industrial society, post-work, precariat, prediction markets, QWERTY keyboard, railway mania, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Rodney Brooks, Sam Altman, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, working-age population, Y Combinator, young professional

He claimed that there has been no profound technological innovation since the invention of the smartphone in 2007, and complained that basic science research has essentially died, with no modern equivalent of Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Centre (PARC), which was responsible for many of the fundamental features of computers which we take for granted today, like graphical user interfaces (GUIs) and indeed the PC. Markoff grew up in Silicon Valley and began writing about the internet in the 1970s. He fears that the spirit of innovation and enterprise has gone out of the place, and bemoans the absence of technologists or entrepreneurs today with the stature of past greats like Doug Engelbart (inventor of the computer mouse and much more), Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. He argues that today’s entrepreneurs are mere copycats, trying to peddle the next “Uber for X”. He admits that the pace of technological development might pick up again, perhaps thanks to research into meta-materials, whose structure absorbs, bends or enhances electromagnetic waves in exotic ways. He is dismissive of artificial intelligence because it has not yet produced a conscious mind, but he thinks that augmented reality might turn out to be a new platform for innovation, just as the smartphone did a decade ago.


Free as in Freedom by Sam Williams

Asperger Syndrome, cognitive dissonance, commoditize, Debian, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Guido van Rossum, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, Larry Wall, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Murray Gell-Mann, profit motive, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software patent, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, urban renewal, VA Linux, Y2K

Time-sharing, originally known as "time stealing," made it possible for multiple programs to take advantage of a machine's operational capabilities. Teletype interfaces also made it possible to communicate with a machine not through a series of punched holes but through actual text. A programmer typed in commands and read the line-by-line output generated by the machine. During the late 1960s, interface design made additional leaps. In a famous 1968 lecture, Doug Engelbart, a scientist then working at the Stanford Research Institute, unveiled a prototype of the modern graphical interface. Rigging up a television set to the computer and adding a pointer device which Engelbart dubbed a " mouse," the scientist created a system even more interactive than the time-sharing system developed a MIT. Treating the video display like a high-speed printer, Engelbart's system gave a user the ability to move the cursor around the screen and see the cursor position updated by the computer in real time.


pages: 268 words: 76,702

The System: Who Owns the Internet, and How It Owns Us by James Ball

Bill Duvall, bitcoin, blockchain, Chelsea Manning, cryptocurrency, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, Frank Gehry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Minecraft, Mother of all demos, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, Oculus Rift, packet switching, patent troll, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, ransomware, RFC: Request For Comment, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Snapchat, Steve Crocker, Stuxnet, The Chicago School, undersea cable, uranium enrichment, WikiLeaks, yield management, zero day

People would still have to wait, but for less time, and it wouldn’t matter if each person wasn’t constantly requiring it to work at 100 per cent. This idea became part of computer history lore – at least among hardcore nerds – thanks to ‘the mother of all demos’, which had taken place almost fifty years to the day before Crocker and I had our conversation. It happened on 9 December 1968 in San Francisco, and it became the model for every dramatic product reveal demonstration that has followed ever since. ‘This was Doug Engelbart’s laboratory at SRI, where he introduced the mouse, hypertext and graphics to a major meeting,’ says Crocker. Today all of those elements seem mundane, but this was an era when instructions for computers were still often entered via punch cards. Seeing a mouse work real time to shift a pointer on a graphical computer was revolutionary. But Engelbart’s vision went further than that: he had set up a dozen such terminals connected to the same computer, which gave a bit of its time to each one as needed, with the intention of making the system interactive.5 And since multiple people can work on the same computer at the same time, why not try to make it easier for them to work together?


pages: 418 words: 128,965

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires by Tim Wu

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Alfred Russel Wallace, Apple II, barriers to entry, British Empire, Burning Man, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, corporate raider, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, informal economy, intermodal, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Menlo Park, open economy, packet switching, PageRank, profit motive, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Coase, sexual politics, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the market place, The Wisdom of Crowds, too big to fail, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, zero-sum game

.…” The idea is one we take for granted now: computers would be used by humans in the process of thinking, as analytic aids rather than as calculators (the status quo) or as surrogates (the stuff of fantasy).4 The idea wasn’t Licklider’s alone. As with other conceptual leaps we’ve described, several individuals also made it at about the same time. Ten years before Licklider wrote his paper, for instance, a young engineer named Douglas Engelbart was pondering what he might do with his life. He was recently married yet felt himself lost, an idealist in search of a meaningful contribution. One evening in 1950 he was struck with a powerful vision: a general purpose machine that might augment human intelligence and help humans negotiate life’s complexities. John Markoff, who has documented Engelbart’s life carefully, describes the vision in some detail: Engelbart “saw himself sitting in front of a large computer screen full of different symbols.

But those ideas have also long been at odds with the principles of the early computing industry, of the Apple II and of the Internet, sometimes to the detriment of Apple itself. As Wozniak told me, the Macintosh, launched in 1984, marked a departure from many of his ideas as realized in the Apple II. To be sure, the Macintosh was radically innovative in its own right, being the first important mass-produced computer to feature a “mouse” and a “desktop”—ideas born in the mind of Douglas Engelbart in the 1950s, ideas that had persisted without fructifying in computer science labs ever since.* Nevertheless the Mac represented an unconditional surrender of Wozniak’s openness, as was obvious from the first glance: gone was the concept of the hood. You could no longer easily open the computer and get at its innards. Generally, only Apple stuff, or stuff that Apple approved, could run on it (as software) or plug into it (as peripherals).


pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Charles Lindbergh, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kubernetes, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, The Hackers Conference, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

The effect of psychedelic drugs on society, to Rossman, could just as well be expressed in the language of engineering: “In the cybernetic description of process,” he wrote, “the corresponding passage is to a higher order of control—one that makes possible heterarchical rather than hierarchical control systems.”40 What he meant was simple: counterculture was changing established power structures. Top down was the past; bottom up was the future. That’s where technology came in. Rossman understood already in 1969 that computers had a key role to play in the future. As the free-speech activist was considering writing a book, the inventor Douglas Engelbart gave what became known as “the mother of all demos,” a now legendary ninety-minute presentation at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco. Engelbart introduced the prototype of the first mouse and the vision of a personal computer, a computer that could be owned and operated by everybody, not only IBM and the Pentagon. To Rossman, that meant technology wasn’t on the side of authority any longer.

Slippery (fictional character), 266, 293 “Music in Cyberspace” (Barlow), 232 mutation, 117, 150 MVD (Ministry of the Interior, Russia), 330, 331 mythologies, form of, xiv–xv myths, cybernetic, See cybernetic myths NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics), 11, 12 NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and cyberspace, 220 cyborgs and space travel, 127–28 and data gloves, 215 Engineering Man for Space: The Cyborg Study, 127–28 founding of, 123 Philco and, 140 and Whole Earth Catalog, 168 NASw-512 project, 127–28 Natick Laboratories, Massachusetts Hardiman exoskeleton, 137 National Academy of Sciences, 25 National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), 11, 12 National Aeronautics and Space Administration, See NASA National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) Division C, 25 Division T, 28 establishment of, 12 fire control division, 29 microwave research, 19 radar, 17 Rad Lab, 21 VT fuse, 35 National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 274 National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 320 National Research Council, 12 National Science Foundation, 253 national security, cybernetic myths and, xv National Security Agency, See NSA National Technical Information Service, 324 NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), 208 NAVSEA (Naval Sea Systems Command), 316 NDRC, See National Defense Research Committee negative feedback defined, 49 and enchantment of the machine, 351 for Headsight, 139 and homeostat, 56 in Psycho-Cybernetics, 164 and Whole Earth Catalog, 171–72 nervous system, as machine, 63 Netscape, 244 networked machines, 122, 147–48, 251 networks, 2–3, 180, 222 Neuromancer (Gibson), ix–x, 189, 210–12, 242 neuroses, 58 New Age movement, 165–66 “New Directions in Cryptography,” 251 New Economy, 246–47 Newsweek magazine, 73 New York Times Hap Arnold article, 74 and cybernation, 102 and cybernetics, 53 Cybernetics reviews, 51–52 NSA encryption story, 271 and VR, 219 New York Yankees, 164–65 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 140, 291 Nigh, Ron, 171 Nike missile, 78 9/11 terrorist attacks, 338–39 NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology), 274 NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), 320 nonexistent systems, 69 no-notice interoperability exercises, 311 non-secret encryption, 248, 250; See also public-key encryption NORAD (North American Air Defense Command), 77, 99 NSA (National Security Agency) and the Clipper Chip, 274 cyber-related work, x and cypherpunks, 269–71 and “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” 245 and Eligible Receiver, 311–13 and Moonlight Maze, 327, 328, 337 and public-key encryption, 253, 254, 258 and VR, 243 nuclear-powered aircraft, 128–31, 135–36 nuclear war, 208 nuclear weapons, 45, 73–76 “Numbers Can Be a Better Form of Cash Than Paper” (Chaum), 257 Nunn, Sam, 310 Oak Ridge National Laboratory, 280 Office of Naval Research, 136–37, 253 Omni magazine, 149, 243, 294–98, 301–2 OODA (observe, orient, decide, act) loop, 300 Operation Desert Storm, 302 Operation Sundevil, 238–40 Optik, Phiber (Mark Abele), 237, 238 Orenstein, Peggy, 240–41, 243 organic chemistry, 119 organic machines, 113–14 organism-environment interaction, 57–61, 64–67 organisms, 113–55 computers as thinking machines, 120–22 cyborg research, 123–27 cyborgs, feminism, and postmodernism, 151–54 and man-machine interaction, 143–48 military research on cyborgs, 128–40 and participant evolution, 140–41 radio-controlled cyborg, 138–40 self-reproducing machines as plants, 118–19 ultraintelligent machines, 148–49 viruses as, 115 originality, machine’s potential for, 120–21 Other Plane, 207, 208, 266, 288 Owens, William, 306 PACOM (US Pacific Command), 311–13 Palo Alto, California, 177, 181, 259, 264 Palomilla (tricycle cart), 83–84 Paradise Lost (Milton), 91 Parkinson, David, 23–24 Parkinson’s disease, robotic modeling of, 83–84 Parsons, Talcott, 52 participant evolution, 140–41 Partridge, Earle, 77 patriarchy, 152, 153 Patrick, Robert, 154 Patton, George, 28 Paul Proteus (fictional character), 86 Pavlov, Ivan, 62 PDP-10 mainframe computer, 181–82 Pearl Harbor, Japanese attack on, 20, 32 Pedipulator, 132–34 Pentagon, See Defense, US Department of Pentagon Papers, 254 Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), 246, 302, 305 personal computer and Apple’s 1984 Super Bowl ad, 187–88 Douglas Engelbart and, 173 William Gibson and, 211–12 Timothy Leary and, 187–89 and second wave of hackers, 184 pessimism, See dystopia peyote, 185 PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), 261, 272–73 Philco Corporation, 137–40 Phreak, Acid (Elias Ladopoulos), 237–39 physico-chemical system, nervous system as, 64 physics, nonexistent systems and, 69 PicoSpan software, 191, 193 Pile, Sir Frederick, 38–41 pip (radar image), 17 pipology, 18 plants, self-reproducing machines as, 118–19 Playboy magazine, 121–22 Player Piano (Vonnegut), 86–87 political activists, 341 political myths, xiv, xv Popular Mechanics, 132–33, 205–6 Post, Jonathan, 294–98 postmodernism, 151–54 Powell, Colin, 302, 303 Powell Doctrine, 302 power grid, 313 prime numbers, 250, 252 Princeton University, 29, 114, 115, 117 Principality of Sealand, 287–91 printing, as predecessor to crypto anarchy, 268 privacy anonymity and, 272 encryption and, 247, 256–61 programming languages, 213 progress, thinking machines and, 4 Project 2, 25 Prometheus, 343 prostheses, 50–51 proximity fuse, 26–27, 40, 41, 67 pseudonyms, 277, 281–82 pseudoscience, 160–62 psychedelic drugs, 172–73 Gregory Bateson and, 179 and computers, 189 High Frontiers magazine, 185–87 and human bio-computer, 188 and Spacewar, 182 Psycho-Cybernetics (Maltz), 162–65, 169, 345 psychopharmacology, 123 public-key encryption, 247, 248–55, 278 punk, 246 “Push-Button Warfare” (Newsweek article), 73 “Putting Humans into Virtual Space” (Furness and Kocian), 205 Queen Mu (Alison Bailey Kennedy), 263 R2-D2, 204 radar, 17–21, 80–81 radar stations, 77, 99 radio-controlled cyborg, 138–40 radio shell, 27–28, 40 Rad Lab, See MIT Radiation Laboratory RAF (Royal Air Force) Fighter Command, 8, 30 Rand, Ayn, 258 Rand Corporation, 111, 303–5, 309–10 Randolph Air Force Base (San Antonio, Texas), 122–24 range computer, 24 Rather, Dan, 203 read-only memory (ROM), 23 Reality Hackers magazine, 218–19 Rees-Mogg, Lord William, 285 relationships, technology and, 2–3 religion and cybernetic myth, 348 God and Golem, Inc., 89–92 and spiritual aspects of cybernetics, 348 remailers, 272–73, 291 reproduction, See self-replicating machines Revolution in Military Affairs (RMA), 302–3, 306 Rheingold, Howard, 232, 235–37, 242 Riley, Frank, 87–88 Rivest, Ron, 251–54 RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs), 302–3, 306 robot (term), 83 robot bomb, 40–41; See also V-1 (Vergeltungswaffe 1) flying bomb Rockland State Hospital (Orangeburg, New York), 123–24 Roger Pollack (fictional character), 207 Rolling Stone, 181 ROM (read-only memory), 23 Ronfelt, David, 303–5, 309 Roosevelt, Franklin D., 12 Rorvik, David, 141–42 Rosenblueth, Arturo, 46, 52, 56 Rossman, Michael, 172–73 Roughs Tower, 287 Royal Air Force (RAF) Fighter Command, 8, 30 rue, Larry, 9 R.U.R.


pages: 801 words: 209,348

Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism by Bhu Srinivasan

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, American ideology, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bank run, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, blue-collar work, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, business cycle, buy and hold, California gold rush, Charles Lindbergh, collective bargaining, commoditize, corporate raider, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, financial innovation, fixed income, Ford paid five dollars a day, global supply chain, Gordon Gekko, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, income inequality, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kickstarter, laissez-faire capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, mortgage debt, mutually assured destruction, Norman Mailer, oil rush, peer-to-peer, pets.com, popular electronics, profit motive, race to the bottom, refrigerator car, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strikebreaker, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the new new thing, The Predators' Ball, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, transcontinental railway, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, Works Progress Administration, zero-sum game

But this Bush was too far ahead of his time. Another thinker followed up in 1965 as the age of computing arrived. A self-proclaimed “poet, philosopher, and rogue,” Ted Nelson conceptualized and coined the term “hypertext” to mean words within documents that linked to other documents. But Nelson, lacking a science or computing background, could not make hypertext a reality. In addition to Bush and Nelson, Berners-Lee credited Doug Engelbart at Stanford for his sixties demonstration of a “mouse,” a wooden block with sensors and a ball under it, with which he clicked on words to explore information spatially. In 1989 Berners-Lee pulled all of the lessons of history together, dreaming up a visual layer—an interface—for the Internet. After going through several permutations, he settled on calling it the World Wide Web, a spiderweb of endless hypertext links.

“Mendel’s concept of”: Vannevar Bush, “As We May Think,” Atlantic, July 1943. “poet, philosopher, and rogue”: Theodor Holm Nelson, “My Life and Work, Very Brief,” Hyperland.com. coined the term: T. H. Nelson, “Complex Information Processing: A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing and the Indeterminate,” ACM ’65 Proceedings of the 1965 20th National Conference, August 24, 1965, 84–100. credited Doug Engelbart: Berners-Lee, Weaving the Web, 5–6. calling it the World Wide Web: Ibid., 23–29. National Center for Supercomputing: Ibid., 68–69. best kind of R&D: Jim Clark, Netscape Time (New York: St. Martin’s, 1999), 35. about $20 million: Ibid., 32. Clark wrote Andreessen: Ibid., 34. “I’m finished with all that”: Ibid., 42. “Well, we could always”: Ibid., 49. Clark put in $3 million: Ibid., 57.


pages: 378 words: 94,468

Drugs 2.0: The Web Revolution That's Changing How the World Gets High by Mike Power

air freight, Alexander Shulgin, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, cloud computing, credit crunch, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fiat currency, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, frictionless, Haight Ashbury, John Bercow, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Network effects, nuclear paranoia, packet switching, pattern recognition, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, pre–internet, QR code, RAND corporation, Satoshi Nakamoto, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), sexual politics, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, trade route, Whole Earth Catalog, Zimmermann PGP

Its technological cornerstone – the packet-switching network – underpinned all the later digital developments that would enable the reeling madness and quotidian mundanity that comprises a day online today – a day that includes buying groceries, paying bills, sharing photos and ideas, updating the world on your latest hairstyle choices, and, for many more people than is currently acknowledged, talking about and buying drugs. Few involved in the early days of the internet could ever have imagined how central to billions of people’s lives it was to become, but some of them dreamed of it. A year before the ARPANET came online, on 9 December 1968, Doug Engelbart, the ultimate unsung conceptual, philosophical and practical pioneer of modern computing, addressed a crowd of 1,000 programmers at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California. It was an event that was to become known as the Mother of All Demos, and during it Engelbart displayed publicly, in one gargantuan techno-splurge, many of the concepts of computing that are so ubiquitous today: the mouse (‘I don’t know why we call it a mouse.


pages: 285 words: 58,517

The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models by Barry Libert, Megan Beck

active measures, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, asset allocation, autonomous vehicles, big data - Walmart - Pop Tarts, business intelligence, call centre, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, disintermediation, diversification, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Infrastructure as a Service, intangible asset, Internet of things, invention of writing, inventory management, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late fees, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, Oculus Rift, pirate software, ride hailing / ride sharing, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, software as a service, software patent, Steve Jobs, subscription business, TaskRabbit, Travis Kalanick, uber lyft, Wall-E, women in the workforce, Zipcar

Remember the power of networks, and create one around you to help guide your company toward a more competitive and profitable future. To start, you could turn to a group of your peers, preferably those with some diversity in their thinking. Ask them to join you on this exciting journey. PRINCIPLE 1 TECHNOLOGY From Physical to Digital The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even printing. —Douglas Engelbart, internet pioneer PEOPLE OFTEN HAVE TROUBLE IDENTIFYING WHAT THEY REALLY VALUE, but priorities emerge during times of crisis. In the summer of 2015, waves of Syrians fled the civil war in their homeland. Although the refugees carried food, water, and money in their backpacks, for most of them, the most important survival asset was their smartphone.1 When these refugees enter a new country, the first to-do item is to get a new SIM card and get online.


pages: 915 words: 232,883

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

air freight, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, big-box store, Bob Noyce, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, centre right, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, death of newspapers, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, fixed income, game design, Golden Gate Park, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Jeff Bezos, Johannes Kepler, John Markoff, Jony Ive, lateral thinking, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Mother of all demos, Paul Terrell, profit maximization, publish or perish, Richard Feynman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, Wall-E, Whole Earth Catalog

There was the technology revolution that began with the growth of military contractors and soon included electronics firms, microchip makers, video game designers, and computer companies. There was a hacker subculture—filled with wireheads, phreakers, cyberpunks, hobbyists, and just plain geeks—that included engineers who didn’t conform to the HP mold and their kids who weren’t attuned to the wavelengths of the subdivisions. There were quasi-academic groups doing studies on the effects of LSD; participants included Doug Engelbart of the Augmentation Research Center in Palo Alto, who later helped develop the computer mouse and graphical user interfaces, and Ken Kesey, who celebrated the drug with music-and-light shows featuring a house band that became the Grateful Dead. There was the hippie movement, born out of the Bay Area’s beat generation, and the rebellious political activists, born out of the Free Speech Movement at Berkeley.

One person who encouraged the denizens of the counterculture to make common cause with the hackers was Stewart Brand. A puckish visionary who generated fun and ideas over many decades, Brand was a participant in one of the early sixties LSD studies in Palo Alto. He joined with his fellow subject Ken Kesey to produce the acid-celebrating Trips Festival, appeared in the opening scene of Tom Wolfe’s The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, and worked with Doug Engelbart to create a seminal sound-and-light presentation of new technologies called the Mother of All Demos. “Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized control,” Brand later noted. “But a tiny contingent—later called hackers—embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation. That turned out to be the true royal road to the future.” Brand ran the Whole Earth Truck Store, which began as a roving truck that sold useful tools and educational materials, and in 1968 he decided to extend its reach with the Whole Earth Catalog.


pages: 347 words: 97,721

Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby

AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar

“But then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion of a man on a bicycle,” Jobs explained. “And a person on a bicycle blew the condor away—it was completely off the top of the chart. And that is what a computer is to me. It’s the most remarkable tool that we have ever come up with. It’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”3 Jobs was almost assuredly inspired by the late Doug Engelbart in this (who in turn was inspired by MIT computer visionary Vannevar Bush). Engelbart, the inventor of the point-and-click computer user interface, and the mouse to use with it, was perhaps the first to embrace the term augmentation, which in his view involved getting machines to perform the mechanical aspects of thinking and idea sharing. In 1962 he published a widely circulated paper: “Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework.”4 He even founded an Augmentation Research Center, which in 1969, by the way, constituted one end of the first Internet link ever made.


The Pirate's Dilemma by Matt Mason

"side hustle", Albert Einstein, augmented reality, barriers to entry, citizen journalism, creative destruction, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, Firefox, future of work, glass ceiling, global village, Hacker Ethic, haute couture, Howard Rheingold, Internet of things, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, jimmy wales, job satisfaction, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Naomi Klein, new economy, New Urbanism, patent troll, peer-to-peer, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, RFID, Richard Florida, Richard Stallman, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Tim Cook: Apple, urban sprawl, Whole Earth Catalog

Many scientists working on similar projects at nearby R&D facility Xerox PARC also were influenced by flower power. Some were hippies themselves. According to John Markoff, author of What the Dormouse Said: How 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, “There was this very interesting parallel between the way they worked with psychedelics—which was about augmenting human potential— and the works of a man named Doug Engelbart [a pioneer of humancomputer interaction, who, among other things, invented the mouse], who was attempting to build a machine that he thought would augment the human mind.” The pioneers of Palo Alto had the same D.I.Y. attitude that ener- 144 | THE PIRATE’S DILEMMA gized punk. Their ideas for a new social machine were a reaction to the war machine and the establishment in general. Computers weren’t invented by narrow-minded number crunchers; they were the combined efforts of a group of anarchic radical left-wing activists, who had a desire to expand science, technology, and our collective consciousness, which they began to realize in the research lab.


The Deep Learning Revolution (The MIT Press) by Terrence J. Sejnowski

AI winter, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bioinformatics, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, cloud computing, complexity theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, constrained optimization, Conway's Game of Life, correlation does not imply causation, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, delayed gratification, discovery of DNA, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Flynn Effect, Frank Gehry, future of work, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Guggenheim Bilbao, Gödel, Escher, Bach, haute couture, Henri Poincaré, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, industrial robot, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Minecraft, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Norbert Wiener, orbital mechanics / astrodynamics, PageRank, pattern recognition, prediction markets, randomized controlled trial, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Socratic dialogue, speech recognition, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, theory of mind, Thomas Bayes, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, X Prize, Yogi Berra

Flynn, “Massive IQ Gains in 14 Nations: What IQ Tests Really Measure,” Psychological Bulletin 101, no. 2 (1987):171–191. Notes 289 39. S. Quartz and T. J. Sejnowski, Liars, Lovers, and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are (New York: Harper Collins, 2002). 40. Douglas C. Engelbart, Augmented Intelligence: Smart Systems and the Future of Work and Learning, SRI Summary Report AFOSR-3223 (Washington, DC: Doug Engelbart Institute, October 1962). http://www.dougengelbart.org/pubs/augment -3906.html. 41. M. Young, “Machine Learning Astronomy,” Sky and Telescope, December (2017): 20–27. 42. “Are ATMs Stealing Jobs?“ The Economist, June 15, 2011. https://www.economist .com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2011/06/technology-and-unemployment/. 43. John Taggart and Kevin Granville, “From ‘Zombie Malls’ to Bonobos: What America’s Retail Transformation Looks Like,” New York Times, April 15, 2017. 44.


pages: 287 words: 86,919

Protocol: how control exists after decentralization by Alexander R. Galloway

Ada Lovelace, airport security, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, Bretton Woods, computer age, Craig Reynolds: boids flock, discovery of DNA, Donald Davies, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, easy for humans, difficult for computers, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Grace Hopper, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, John Conway, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, late capitalism, linear programming, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, old-boy network, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, phenotype, post-industrial society, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, semantic web, SETI@home, stem cell, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telerobotics, the market place, theory of mind, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Review, working poor

Wiener also writes that the “control of a machine on the basis of its actual performance rather than its expected performance is known as feedback” (p. 24). 83. Wiener, Cybernetics, p. 26. 84. Many others have followed in Wiener’s footsteps. In 1960 J. C. R. Licklider, an early theorist and researcher of computer networks, wrote about what he called the “man-machine symbiosis.” Marshall McLuhan also claimed that technology itself is nothing but an extension of man’s nervous system. Computer pioneer Douglas Engelbart considered technology to be simply an augmentation of the human faculties. For relevant texts by Licklider and Engelbart, see Randall Packer and Ken Jordan, Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality (New York: Norton, 2001). Other theorists such as Donna Haraway have quite literally fused human and Chapter 3 106 Wiener’s prose is tinged by anxiety over what he considered to be the vast potential for his scientific work to contribute to the “concentration of power . . . in the hands of the most unscrupulous.”85 Writing in the shadow of World War II and the atomic bomb, Wiener exhibits a grave concern, not only with the bomb but also with more general social exploitation, be it in the form of a recently defeated Nazism or a once more bullish American capitalism (he does not tell readers which).


pages: 270 words: 79,992

The End of Big: How the Internet Makes David the New Goliath by Nicco Mele

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Berlin Wall, big-box store, bitcoin, business climate, call centre, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, cloud computing, collaborative consumption, collaborative editing, commoditize, creative destruction, crony capitalism, cross-subsidies, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, death of newspapers, disruptive innovation, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, global supply chain, Google Chrome, Gordon Gekko, Hacker Ethic, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, minimum viable product, Mitch Kapor, Mohammed Bouazizi, Mother of all demos, Narrative Science, new economy, Occupy movement, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, period drama, Peter Thiel, pirate software, publication bias, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, uranium enrichment, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, Zipcar

Today, small computing has won out—in part because of the momentum of Moore’s Law.8 While the work of building a big mind is still around (remember when IBM’s Big Blue supercomputer beat Garry Kasparov at chess?), the small computer side has birthed a range of technologies culminating in your current Droid or iPhone. There is a particular hero to this strand of American nerd-ocity, one whose story begins to elucidate the political ideology behind the personal computer, and he is the computer scientist Douglas Engelbart. “The Mother of All Demos” A product of the greatest generation that fought World War II, Engelbart had a sense of the United States’ grandeur and majesty when dedicated to a great challenge, and during the 1950s and 60s he was looking for the next great challenge. Inspired by Vannevar Bush’s article “As We May Think,” which championed the wider dissemination of knowledge as a national peacetime challenge, Engelbart imagined people sitting at “working stations”9 and coming together in powerful ways thanks to modern computing.


pages: 301 words: 85,263

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future by James Bridle

AI winter, Airbnb, Alfred Russel Wallace, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, back-to-the-land, Benoit Mandelbrot, Bernie Sanders, bitcoin, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, computer vision, congestion charging, cryptocurrency, data is the new oil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Hofstadter, drone strike, Edward Snowden, fear of failure, Flash crash, Google Earth, Haber-Bosch Process, hive mind, income inequality, informal economy, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, late capitalism, lone genius, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Minecraft, mutually assured destruction, natural language processing, Network effects, oil shock, p-value, pattern recognition, peak oil, recommendation engine, road to serfdom, Robert Mercer, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, social graph, sorting algorithm, South China Sea, speech recognition, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, stem cell, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, the built environment, the scientific method, Uber for X, undersea cable, University of East Anglia, uranium enrichment, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks

The appearance of the first integrated circuits in turn allowed him to create video display units from old televisions, until he had all the components of an actual computer – which never quite worked, but never mind. And by this time, he was at university, studying physics; after that, he worked on typesetting for digital printers, before joining CERN, where he developed the idea for hypertext – previously expounded by Vannevar Bush, Douglas Engelbart, and others. And because of where he was working and the need of researchers to share interlinked information, he tied this invention to the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and the domain name systems that underpin the emerging internet and – ta-da! – the World Wide Web just happened, as naturally and obviously as if it were meant to be. This, of course, is only one way of telling the story, but it tickles our senses because it makes sense: the rising arc of invention – the graph that always goes up and to the right – coupled to a personal history that leads to myriad interconnections and the spark of insight at the right moment, the right place in time.


pages: 510 words: 120,048

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

3D printing, 4chan, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, augmented reality, automated trading system, barriers to entry, bitcoin, book scanning, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, David Graeber, delayed gratification, digital Maoism, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Everything should be made as simple as possible, facts on the ground, Filter Bubble, financial deregulation, Fractional reserve banking, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, George Akerlof, global supply chain, global village, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, if you build it, they will come, income inequality, informal economy, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, life extension, Long Term Capital Management, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Metcalfe’s law, moral hazard, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, obamacare, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Peter Thiel, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, post-oil, pre–internet, race to the bottom, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart meter, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, Thomas Malthus, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

One of Gurdjieff’s books was called Meetings with Remarkable Men. There was also a movie made. We GBN “remarkables” were so-named to recall the esoteric masters Gurdjieff supposedly had to seek by climbing mountains in Turkmenistan. Feminism tempered the honorary title to “Remarkable People.” Meanwhile, the world of marketing was being reinvented at the Stanford Research Institute. This is the same SRI that employed Doug Engelbart, who first demonstrated the basics of person-oriented computing in the 1960s. More recently SRI spawned Siri, the voice interface used in Apple products. SRI had a unit called VALS, for Values, Attitudes, and Lifestyles, which was for a while the guiding light of a transformation in corporate marketing. (The use of the term transformation was long a signal of the technocratic/spiritual New Age.


pages: 384 words: 89,250

Made to Break: Technology and Obsolescence in America by Giles Slade

Albert Einstein, Alexey Pajitnov wrote Tetris, American ideology, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, global village, housing crisis, indoor plumbing, invention of radio, Joseph Schumpeter, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, more computing power than Apollo, mutually assured destruction, Ralph Nader, rent control, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, the market place, the medium is the message, Thorstein Veblen, unemployed young men, upwardly mobile, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, white picket fence, women in the workforce

It was rather like having to understand a carburetor in order to be able to drive an automobile.38 Prior to the appearance of the Mac, only one company had simplifie its user interface and greatly reduced the demands of the rigorous DOS learning curve for its operators. Between 1973 and 1975 Xerox Corporation designed and built a personal computer called the Alto at its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). The Alto’s interface was originally called WIMP, an acronym for Windows, Icons, Mouse, and Pull-down menus. At the center of its graphical user interface was the mouse, a device that had been invented in 1965 by Douglas Engelbart, head of the Human Factors Research Center, a work group that studied the Man and computer interface (or Mac) at the Stanford Research Institute. Engelbart based his invention on an obsolete engineering tool called the planimeter, an antiquated device once as common as a slide rule. When an engineer moved the planimeter over the surface of a curve, it calculated the underlying area. Engelbart’s SRI team experimented with several other pointing devices, all of which were intended as alternatives to overcome the limitations of the standard qwerty typewriter.


pages: 346 words: 89,180

Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel, Stian Westlake

"Robert Solow", 23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, banking crisis, Bernie Sanders, business climate, business process, buy and hold, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, cloud computing, cognitive bias, computer age, corporate governance, corporate raider, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, dark matter, Diane Coyle, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Glaeser, Elon Musk, endogenous growth, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial innovation, full employment, fundamental attribution error, future of work, Gini coefficient, Hernando de Soto, hiring and firing, income inequality, index card, indoor plumbing, intangible asset, Internet of things, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, job automation, Kenneth Arrow, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, laissez-faire capitalism, liquidity trap, low skilled workers, Marc Andreessen, Mother of all demos, Network effects, new economy, open economy, patent troll, paypal mafia, Peter Thiel, pets.com, place-making, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, quantitative hedge fund, rent-seeking, revision control, Richard Florida, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Sand Hill Road, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, software patent, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, survivorship bias, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, total factor productivity, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Vanguard fund, walkable city, X Prize, zero-sum game

It seems very likely that at some point people will discover better ways to interact meaningfully with one another at a distance using IT, as new applications develop and the workforce becomes populated by people who grew up with online social lives and hobbies. The question of how people use technology to boost what some call “collective intelligence” has a long history: it lies behind the famous “mother of all demos,” the 1968 presentation in which Douglas Engelbart demonstrated the world’s first instances of videoconferencing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and electronic collaboration. Collective intelligence is intimately entwined with the development of Internet phenomena like Wikipedia, and it continues to evolve in the form of platforms like Slack and GitHub. An economy that can develop technologies and ways of working that replicate the social power of face-to-face interaction at a distance will be transformed, particularly when it comes to land use.


pages: 285 words: 86,853

What Algorithms Want: Imagination in the Age of Computing by Ed Finn

Airbnb, Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, bitcoin, blockchain, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable:, Claude Shannon: information theory, commoditize, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, disruptive innovation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Elon Musk, factory automation, fiat currency, Filter Bubble, Flash crash, game design, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, High speed trading, hiring and firing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Conway, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kickstarter, late fees, lifelogging, Loebner Prize, Lyft, Mother of all demos, Nate Silver, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, new economy, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Republic of Letters, ride hailing / ride sharing, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, social graph, software studies, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, technoutopianism, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, traveling salesman, Turing machine, Turing test, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Vernor Vinge, wage slave

The demonstration achieved its intended purpose of showing lifelike behavior from a simple feedback mechanism, creating a seeming existence proof both of the similarity of mechanical and biophysical control mechanisms and of the efficacy of cybernetics as the model for explaining them. In fact, as historian Ronald Kline describes, the entire enterprise was a public relations stunt, the construction of the robot financed by Life magazine, which planned to run an article on cybernetics.41 Wiener’s demonstration machine presaged future spectacles of human–machine interaction like early Silicon Valley icon Douglas Engelbart’s “mother of all demos,” which first showcased several aspects of a functional personal computer experience in 1968. Figure 1.2 Norbert Wiener and his “moth” circa 1950. Alfred Eisenstaedt / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images. The theoretical aspirations of cybernetics were always dependent on material implementation, a fact that has challenged generations of artificial intelligence researchers pursuing the platonic ideal of neural networks that effectively model the human mind.42 Kline reports that Life never ran photos of Wiener’s moth because an editor felt the machine “illustrated the analogy between humans and machines by modeling the nervous system, rather than showing the human characteristics of computers, which was Life’s objective.”43 In the end, Wiener had built a bug.


pages: 334 words: 93,162

This Is Your Country on Drugs: The Secret History of Getting High in America by Ryan Grim

airport security, Alexander Shulgin, anti-communist, back-to-the-land, Burning Man, crack epidemic, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, East Village, failed state, global supply chain, Haight Ashbury, illegal immigration, John Markoff, Kickstarter, longitudinal study, mandatory minimum, new economy, New Urbanism, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Steve Jobs, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, urban decay, women in the workforce

The history of this connection is well documented in a number of books, the best probably being What the Dormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer, by New York Times technology reporter John Markoff. Psychedelic drugs, Markoff argues, pushed the computer and Internet revolutions forward by showing folks that reality can be profoundly altered through unconventional, highly intuitive thinking. Douglas Engelbart is one example of a psychonaut who did just that: he helped invent the mouse. Apple’s Steve Jobs has said that Microsoft’s Bill Gates would “be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once.” (In a 1994 interview with Playboy, however, Gates coyly didn’t deny having dosed as a young man.) Markoff writes that Jobs told him that his own LSD experience was “one of the two or three most important things he has done in his life.”


pages: 476 words: 132,042

What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly

Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Buckminster Fuller, c2.com, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, charter city, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, computer vision, Danny Hillis, dematerialisation, demographic transition, double entry bookkeeping, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, George Gilder, gravity well, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Conway, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, Lao Tzu, life extension, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, off grid, out of africa, performance metric, personalized medicine, phenotype, Picturephone, planetary scale, RAND corporation, random walk, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, refrigerator car, Richard Florida, Rubik’s Cube, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, Skype, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Kaczynski, the built environment, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Vernor Vinge, wealth creators, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

Faster jet engines don’t lead to higher corn yields, nor do better lasers lead to faster drug discoveries, but faster computer chips lead to all of these. These days all technology follows computer technology. Second, finding inevitability in one key area of technology suggests invariance and directionality may be found in the rest of the technium. This seminal trend of steadily increasing computing power was first noticed in 1960 by Doug Engelbart, a researcher at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) in Palo Alto, California, who would later go on to invent the “windows and mouse” computer interface that is now ubiquitous. When he first started as an engineer, Engelbart worked in the aerospace industry testing airplane models in wind tunnels, where he learned how systematic scaling down led to all kinds of benefits and unexpected consequences.


pages: 416 words: 129,308

The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone by Brian Merchant

Airbnb, animal electricity, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer vision, conceptual framework, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ford paid five dollars a day, Frank Gehry, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Internet of things, Jacquard loom, John Gruber, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Lyft, M-Pesa, MITM: man-in-the-middle, more computing power than Apollo, Mother of all demos, natural language processing, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shock, pattern recognition, peak oil, pirate software, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, rolodex, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, special economic zone, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Tim Cook: Apple, Turing test, uber lyft, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, zero day

And so we get the biggest public displays that Apple offers—the invitation-only, tech-demo spectacle of the storied Apple Event. These Stevenotes aren’t a novel format. Alexander Graham Bell, recall, went on tours and put on shows in exhibition halls and convention centers across the Eastern Seaboard to demonstrate his new telephone. But the most famous tech demo of all was the one that may have most informed Jobs’s style. In 1968, an idealistic computer scientist named Doug Engelbart brought together hundreds of interested industry onlookers at the San Francisco Civic Center—the same civic center where the iPhone 7 demo was made nearly forty years later—and introduced a handful of technologies that would form the foundational DNA of modern personal computing. Not only did Engelbart show off publicly a number of inventions like the mouse, keypads, keyboards, word processors, hypertext, videoconferencing, and windows, he showed them off by using them in real time.


America in the World by Robert B. Zoellick

Albert Einstein, anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, British Empire, Corn Laws, coronavirus, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, Deng Xiaoping, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, energy security, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, hypertext link, illegal immigration, immigration reform, imperial preference, Isaac Newton, Joseph Schumpeter, land reform, Mikhail Gorbachev, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, mutually assured destruction, Norbert Wiener, Paul Samuelson, RAND corporation, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade liberalization, transcontinental railway, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, War on Poverty

He even imagined what became known as file sharing and hypertext links. At a time when the world had only begun to consider the possibilities of huge computers—much less smaller ones—Bush was anticipating a new era of information technology accessible to the public.5 As Walter Isaacson explained in his book The Innovators, a number of the revolutionary creators of personal computers traced their inspiration to Bush and his article. In 1945, Douglas Engelbart shipped out to the Philippines as a young navy radar technician as the war was ending. He recalled rummaging through a Red Cross library in a thatched hut on stilts on Leyte Island, where Engelbart discovered an illustrated Life magazine reprint of Bush’s article. “The whole concept of helping people work and think that way just excited me,” Engelbart remembered years later. After his navy service, Engelbart earned an engineering degree and then a doctorate in computer science.

But Bush always wanted to close the gap between machines and people. He understood the problems of information overload. He imagined a desktop information, memory, processing, and interconnecting machine that empowered individuals. Bush never made the transition from the analog to digital worlds. He preferred wrenches and machines with gears to code and devices with software. The inventors of personal computers—people such as Douglas Engelbart, J. C. Licklider, and Theodore Nelson—embraced Bush anyway. They increased the acceptability of their radical ideas by tracing a provenance to Bush, the elder statesman of science. Fred Terman, a doctoral student of Bush’s who became Stanford’s dean of engineering and then provost, created an industrial park that later became known as Silicon Valley. Bush’s vision even acquired a counterculture tinge as the digital pioneers took on the established order that Bush thought had bogged down.75 Innovation Policy and Global Competition In his book The Innovators, Walter Issacson reminds us that inventors expand ideas across generations.76 Future American power—and diplomacy—depends on promoting a scientific-technological-economic system, a nonlinear innovative ecosystem, that prizes creativity, collaboration, learning, incentives, and entrepreneurialism.


pages: 414 words: 101,285

The Butterfly Defect: How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, and What to Do About It by Ian Goldin, Mike Mariathasan

"Robert Solow", air freight, Andrei Shleifer, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, barriers to entry, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Bretton Woods, BRICs, business cycle, butterfly effect, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, connected car, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, diversification, diversified portfolio, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, energy security, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, fixed income, Gini coefficient, global pandemic, global supply chain, global value chain, global village, income inequality, information asymmetry, Jean Tirole, John Snow's cholera map, Kenneth Rogoff, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, mass immigration, megacity, moral hazard, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, open economy, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, reshoring, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Stuxnet, supply-chain management, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, Toyota Production System, trade liberalization, transaction costs, uranium enrichment

The current period of integration is revolutionary in that a larger set of changes have occurred with a pervasively wider influence than over any comparably short time in previous phases of globalization.3 We consider, in turn, two additional examples of global connectivity that we feel are unique and have significantly lowered the transaction costs of economic integration. The first is innovation and technological progress, particularly with respect to computing power and information technologies. In the late 1960s Douglas Engelbart, a computer scientist at the Stanford Research Institute, gave a demonstration of the new technological opportunities emerging with the advent of personal computing. His ideas on the user experience constituted a milestone in personal computer usage and inspired many of the breakthroughs that have gone on to transform the world. Today personal computing and Internet usage have entered a new paradigm.


pages: 339 words: 112,979

Unweaving the Rainbow by Richard Dawkins

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Arthur Eddington, complexity theory, correlation coefficient, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Mahatma Gandhi, music of the spheres, Necker cube, p-value, phenotype, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Solar eclipse in 1919, Steven Pinker, Zipf's Law

I just wanted to point I toyed with using a joystick, as supplied for computer games, but couldn't work out how to do it. I overwhelmingly felt that the software I wanted to write was held up for want of a critical hardware breakthrough. Later I discovered that the device I desperately needed, but wasn't clever enough to imagine, had in fact been invented much earlier. That device was, of course, the mouse. The mouse was a hardware advance, conceived in the 1960s by Douglas Engelbart who foresaw that it would make possible a new kind of software. This software innovation we now know, in its developed form, as the Graphical User Interface, or GUI, developed in the 1970s by the brilliantly creative team at Xerox PARC, that Athens of the modern world. It was cultivated into commercial success by Apple in 1983, then copied by other companies under names like VisiOn, GEM and—the most commercially successful today—Windows.


Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution by Howard Rheingold

A Pattern Language, augmented reality, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business climate, citizen journalism, computer vision, conceptual framework, creative destruction, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, experimental economics, experimental subject, Extropian, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telephone, inventory management, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Kevin Kelly, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, more computing power than Apollo, New Urbanism, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, pez dispenser, planetary scale, pre–internet, prisoner's dilemma, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, slashdot, social intelligence, spectrum auction, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transaction costs, ultimatum game, urban planning, web of trust, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game

Licklider was put in charge of ARPA’s Information Processing Technology Office in the early 1960s, where he sponsored the creation of blue sky technologies that conventional computer manufacturers weren’t interested in—the graphical interface, the personal computer, and computer networks.82 The problems to be overcome in achieving such a partnership between computers and humans were only partially a matter of building better computers and only partially a matter of learning how minds interact with information. The most important questions were not about either the brain or the technology, but about the organizational restructuring that would inevitably occur when a new way to think was introduced. As it turned out, another maverick thinker in California, Douglas Engelbart, had been pursuing exactly this problem for years. Engelbart, a twenty-five-year-old veteran, had been a radar operator in World War II. When he read “As We May Think,” while awaiting a ship home from the Pacific, he realized that the postwar world would be dominated by problems of unprecedented complexity. He returned from the war and started working as an engineer in what was to become Silicon Valley but at that time was the world’s largest fruit orchard.


pages: 453 words: 111,010

Licence to be Bad by Jonathan Aldred

"Robert Solow", Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Ayatollah Khomeini, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, clean water, cognitive dissonance, corporate governance, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, feminist movement, framing effect, Frederick Winslow Taylor, From Mathematics to the Technologies of Life and Death, full employment, George Akerlof, glass ceiling, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mont Pelerin Society, mutually assured destruction, Myron Scholes, Nash equilibrium, Norbert Wiener, nudge unit, obamacare, offshore financial centre, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, positional goods, profit maximization, profit motive, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, spectrum auction, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, wealth creators, zero-sum game

Meucci filed a statement of intent to patent in 1871, five years before Bell. Bell is in the history books only because, in 1874, Meucci let the statement lapse because he could not afford the $10 renewal fee.15 It’s not just that Bill Gates was lucky. His success depended greatly on the work of others, starting with Charles Babbage. Similarly, while Apple were lauded and rewarded for introducing a computer mouse to accompany their Mac desktop in 1984, it was Douglas Engelbart and Bill English who, with funding from the US Air Force, had invented the computer mouse back in the early 1960s.fn1 When, in popular mythology, a single individual is strongly associated with a new product, invention or breakthrough, it is exactly that – a myth. Trying to tease out one person’s contributions is a hopeless task. Professions of intellectual modesty tend to be more accurate than hero myths, a point well understood by one genius who changed the world.


Fortunes of Change: The Rise of the Liberal Rich and the Remaking of America by David Callahan

affirmative action, Albert Einstein, American Legislative Exchange Council, automated trading system, Bernie Sanders, Bonfire of the Vanities, carbon footprint, carried interest, clean water, corporate social responsibility, David Brooks, demographic transition, desegregation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Thorp, financial deregulation, financial independence, global village, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, high net worth, income inequality, Irwin Jacobs: Qualcomm, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, medical malpractice, mega-rich, Mitch Kapor, Naomi Klein, NetJets, new economy, offshore financial centre, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, profit maximization, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Florida, Robert Bork, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, school vouchers, short selling, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, stem cell, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, unpaid internship, Upton Sinclair, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, working poor, World Values Survey

“Time to change all that.” In his book What the Doormouse Said: How the 60s Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, John Markoff argues that it was inevitable that the PC would emerge on the West Coast. “The East Coast computing industry didn’t get it,” Markoff wrote. “The old computing world was hierarchical and conservative.” Markoff documents how computer engineers in the Bay Area—such as Douglas Engelbart, who would invent the computer mouse— experimented with LSD, believing that the drug could spur their creativity. Others pathbreaking technologists, such as Larry Tesler— who worked with early versions of the PC at Xerox’s Palo Alto research lab—were committed political radicals.19 Steve Jobs exemplified the link between the PC revolution and the counterculture. In the mid-1970s, Jobs dropped out of Reed, an alternative college in Oregon, and backpacked through India.


pages: 403 words: 111,119

Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Asian financial crisis, bank run, basic income, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, blockchain, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, Buckminster Fuller, business cycle, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Cass Sunstein, choice architecture, clean water, cognitive bias, collapse of Lehman Brothers, complexity theory, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, dematerialisation, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, energy transition, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, full employment, global supply chain, global village, Henri Poincaré, hiring and firing, Howard Zinn, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, Kickstarter, land reform, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, loss aversion, low skilled workers, M-Pesa, Mahatma Gandhi, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, megacity, mobile money, Mont Pelerin Society, Myron Scholes, neoliberal agenda, Network effects, Occupy movement, off grid, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, price mechanism, quantitative easing, randomized controlled trial, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, smart cities, smart meter, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, the market place, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, Torches of Freedom, trickle-down economics, ultimatum game, universal basic income, Upton Sinclair, Vilfredo Pareto, wikimedia commons

‘Ultimately we will need to change the operating system at the heart of major corporations,’ Kelly acknowledges. ‘But if we begin there, we will fail. The place to begin is with what’s doable, what’s enlivening – and what points toward bigger wins in the future.’69 Who will own the robots? ‘The digital revolution is far more significant than the invention of writing or even of printing,’ said Douglas Engelbart, the acclaimed American innovator in human–computer interaction. He may well turn out to be right. But the significance of this revolution for work, wages and wealth hinges on how digital technologies are owned and used. So far, they have generated two opposing trends whose implications are only just beginning to unfold. First, the digital revolution has given rise to the network era of near zero-marginal-cost collaboration, as we saw in the dynamic rise of the collaborative commons in Chapter 2.


pages: 393 words: 115,217

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries by Safi Bahcall

accounting loophole / creative accounting, Albert Einstein, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Astronomia nova, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Charles Lindbergh, Clayton Christensen, cognitive bias, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, diversified portfolio, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Gary Taubes, hypertext link, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Jony Ive, knowledge economy, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, Murray Gell-Mann, PageRank, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, prediction markets, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Thaler, side project, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Tim Cook: Apple, tulip mania, Wall-E, wikimedia commons, yield management

DARPA funded the creation of the first major computer graphics center. It chose the University of Utah. The group at Utah, described in chapter 5, was co-led by a former DARPA program manager, Ivan Sutherland. Sutherland supervised the computer graphics PhD thesis of Ed Catmull, the Pixar founder, who has said he was “profoundly influenced” by the DARPA model of nurturing creativity. DARPA funded another engineer, named Douglas Engelbart, who built the first computer mouse, the first bitmapped screens (early graphical interfaces), the first hypertext links, and demonstrated them in 1968 at what computer scientists now refer to as the “Mother of All Demos.” In 1970, much of Engelbart’s team left and joined a newly created research group, led by another former DARPA program manager, Bob Taylor. That was Xerox PARC—the birth center of much of the early personal computer industry.


pages: 397 words: 110,130

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, augmented reality, barriers to entry, Benjamin Mako Hill, butterfly effect, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of penicillin, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, en.wikipedia.org, experimental subject, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, Galaxy Zoo, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Gunnar Myrdal, Henri Poincaré, hindsight bias, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, information retrieval, iterative process, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, lifelogging, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, patent troll, pattern recognition, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, sentiment analysis, Silicon Valley, Skype, Snapchat, Socratic dialogue, spaced repetition, superconnector, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Nature of the Firm, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, transaction costs, Vannevar Bush, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, WikiLeaks, X Prize, éminence grise

Shuffling paragraphs could spark new connections and ideas; plus, working in such a forcibly slow fashion can push your brain into connective, dreamy modes. This is precisely why it’s still a good idea, even today, to step away from your laptop and work out a problem on paper: cognitive diversity, again. But adding the speed and flexibility of the word processor to our tool kit has been a huge boon to thought. In his visionary 1962 essay “Augmenting Human Intellect,” Douglas Engelbart—a pioneer of the computer mouse and the files-and-folders graphical desktop—dreamed of the way cutting and pasting would one day transform our thinking. Writers equipped with electronic word processors, he prophesied, would become superior brainstormers, able to jot down ideas as rapidly as they came, then slowly hone them at leisure. We wouldn’t lose our trains of thought so easily. Stray ideas could be preserved.


pages: 481 words: 121,669

The Invisible Web: Uncovering Information Sources Search Engines Can't See by Gary Price, Chris Sherman, Danny Sullivan

AltaVista, American Society of Civil Engineers: Report Card, bioinformatics, Brewster Kahle, business intelligence, dark matter, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, full text search, HyperCard, hypertext link, information retrieval, Internet Archive, joint-stock company, knowledge worker, natural language processing, pre–internet, profit motive, publish or perish, search engine result page, side project, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stealth mode startup, Ted Nelson, Vannevar Bush, web application

This is a case where a general-purpose search engine failed to find the desired end result, but was indispensable in helping Wally locate the “front door” of the Invisible Web database that ultimately provided what he was looking for. This is why both general-purpose search engines and Invisible Web databases should be integral parts of your own Web search toolkit. Incidentally, U.S. Patent 3541541 is one of the early patents for what evolved into the computer mouse. When the patent was issued to inventor Douglas Engelbart in 1970, he called it an “X and Y Position Indicator.” And what about Patent Number 5187468, which turned up in all of the search engine results? That was awarded to the Microsoft Corporation in 1993 for a “Pointing device with adjustable clamp attachable to a keyboard”—essentially a mouse that attaches directly to a computer keyboard. Note: Searching for patents can be very difficult and time consuming.


pages: 474 words: 130,575

Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Military-Digital Complex by Yasha Levine

23andMe, activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Web Services, Anne Wojcicki, anti-communist, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, bitcoin, borderless world, British Empire, call centre, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, collaborative editing, colonial rule, computer age, computerized markets, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, digital map, don't be evil, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, drone strike, Edward Snowden, El Camino Real, Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, George Gilder, ghettoisation, global village, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Google Hangouts, Howard Zinn, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Jacob Appelbaum, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, life extension, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, peer-to-peer, Peter Thiel, Philip Mirowski, plutocrats, Plutocrats, private military company, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sentiment analysis, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, slashdot, Snapchat, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, telepresence robot, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Hackers Conference, uber lyft, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

There was so much military work going on in Silicon Valley that, throughout the 1960s, Lockheed was the biggest employer in the Bay Area. ARPA had a huge presence on campus, too. The Stanford Research Institute did counterinsurgency and chemical warfare work for the agency as part of William Godel’s Project Agile. It also housed the Augmentation Research Center, an ARPANET site run by the acid-dropping Douglas Engelbart. Indeed, the ARPANET was part-born at Stanford.18 Into the 1990s, Stanford University hadn’t changed all that much. It was still home to cutting-edge computer and networking research and still awash in military cash and cybernetic utopianism. Perhaps the biggest change occurred in the suburbs surrounding the university—Mountain View, Cupertino, San Jose—which became thick with investors and Internet start-ups: eBay, Yahoo!


pages: 786 words: 195,810

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

Albert Einstein, animal electricity, Asperger Syndrome, assortative mating, crowdsourcing, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, experimental subject, Golden Gate Park, Haight Ashbury, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, index card, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Kickstarter, Larry Wall, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mother of all demos, neurotypical, New Journalism, pattern recognition, placebo effect, scientific mainstream, side project, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Skype, slashdot, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, twin studies, union organizing, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War

By reading manuals, he taught himself the state of the art of programming at the time: punching holes in paper tape that corresponded to individual bits and feeding the tape into a reader that sent commands to a computer. There was no operating system and no software—just spools of perforated tape. Felsenstein describes the first time he successfully programmed a computer to type the letter A as a “transcendent experience.” While he was at Ampex, a researcher from Stanford named Doug Engelbart gave a presentation at a conference in San Francisco that would go down in history as “the Mother of All Demos.” Engelbart and McCarthy worked on opposite sides of campus and represented opposite sides of a philosophical divide. While McCarthy wanted to design machines that were powerful enough to replace human intelligence, Engelbart wanted to figure out ways of using computers to augment it.


pages: 743 words: 201,651

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World by Timothy Garton Ash

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, activist lawyer, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Ayatollah Khomeini, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, British Empire, Cass Sunstein, Chelsea Manning, citizen journalism, Clapham omnibus, colonial rule, crowdsourcing, David Attenborough, don't be evil, Donald Davies, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Etonian, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Ferguson, Missouri, Filter Bubble, financial independence, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, George Santayana, global village, index card, Internet Archive, invention of movable type, invention of writing, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Markoff, Julian Assange, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, mutually assured destruction, national security letter, Nelson Mandela, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, obamacare, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, profit motive, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wisdom of Crowds, Turing test, We are Anonymous. We are Legion, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, Yom Kippur War

Loyalty and exit, by contrast, usually don’t involve conscious collective action. As we have seen, information companies obsessively follow the clickstream, watching where users go, for their own commercial reasons. This means they know an alarming amount about you, but it also means that we can vote with our mice. The naming of the computer mouse, incidentally, goes back to two American computer engineers, Doug Engelbart and Bill English, at the Stanford Research Institute in the 1960s.179 You can see at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View (and admire online) the first, wonderfully DIY mouse, crudely carved from wood, with two metal wheels.180 Nowadays, your ‘mouse’ is as likely to be your fingertip on a smartphone touchscreen, but the word endures. We, the mice, vote with our mice. The same principle of aggregated individual action applies to newspapers that print topless photos of members of a royal family or hack into the mobile phones of abducted children.


pages: 798 words: 240,182

The Transhumanist Reader by Max More, Natasha Vita-More

23andMe, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, Bill Joy: nanobots, bioinformatics, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cellular automata, clean water, cloud computing, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, combinatorial explosion, conceptual framework, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, data acquisition, discovery of DNA, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, en.wikipedia.org, endogenous growth, experimental subject, Extropian, fault tolerance, Flynn Effect, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, friendly AI, game design, germ theory of disease, hypertext link, impulse control, index fund, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Kevin Kelly, Law of Accelerating Returns, life extension, lifelogging, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, Network effects, Norbert Wiener, pattern recognition, Pepto Bismol, phenotype, positional goods, prediction markets, presumed consent, Ray Kurzweil, reversible computing, RFID, Ronald Reagan, scientific worldview, silicon-based life, Singularitarianism, social intelligence, stem cell, stochastic process, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, telepresence, telepresence robot, telerobotics, the built environment, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

I will address how discourse affects society, and how changes in media may improve societal ­discourse. Then I will describe the Xanadu1 system, and how it was built to achieve these goals. Improving Society Improving society is a difficult task. More generally, improving complex systems is a difficult task. If you cannot figure out which way is up, see if you can figure out which way is down. Doug Engelbart, back in the early 1960s, wanted to explain to people why interactive systems would make a significant difference to their lives, and to their ability to express ideas. The ­origin on the axis is what people were doing at the time – writing with pencil and paper. When he found ­himself unable to communicate to people how much better things could be, he contrasted their current experiences with how much worse things could be.


pages: 666 words: 181,495

In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives by Steven Levy

23andMe, AltaVista, Anne Wojcicki, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, autonomous vehicles, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, business process, clean water, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, Dean Kamen, discounted cash flows, don't be evil, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, El Camino Real, fault tolerance, Firefox, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Google bus, Google Chrome, Google Earth, Googley, HyperCard, hypertext link, IBM and the Holocaust, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, one-China policy, optical character recognition, PageRank, Paul Buchheit, Potemkin village, prediction markets, recommendation engine, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Sand Hill Road, Saturday Night Live, search inside the book, second-price auction, selection bias, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, slashdot, social graph, social software, social web, spectrum auction, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, trade route, traveling salesman, turn-by-turn navigation, undersea cable, Vannevar Bush, web application, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator

Berners-Lee could sum up his vision in a sentence: “Suppose all the information stored on computers everywhere were linked … there would be a single global information space.” The web’s pedigree could be traced back to a 1945 paper by the American scientist Vannevar Bush. Entitled “As We May Think,” it outlined a vast storage system called a “memex,” where documents would be connected, and could be recalled, by information breadcrumbs called “trails of association.” The timeline continued to the work of Douglas Engelbart, whose team at the Stanford Research Institute devised a linked document system that lived behind a dazzling interface that introduced the metaphors of windows and files to the digital desktop. Then came a detour to the brilliant but erratic work of an autodidact named Ted Nelson, whose ambitious Xanadu Project (though never completed) was a vision of disparate information linked by “hypertext” connections.


pages: 636 words: 202,284

Piracy : The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates by Adrian Johns

active measures, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, commoditize, Corn Laws, demand response, distributed generation, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edmond Halley, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, full employment, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Marshall McLuhan, Mont Pelerin Society, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, pirate software, Republic of Letters, Richard Stallman, road to serfdom, Ronald Coase, software patent, South Sea Bubble, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, traveling salesman, Whole Earth Catalog

In the twenties FTC continued to defy the radio trust, recruiting radio amateurs to assist in circumventing patent restrictions while winking at local emulators of its own technology. A Palo Alto industry dedicated to advanced technologies developed alongside it that was antithetical to patent pools. The cluster of research institutions that subsequently emerged in the area drew on this tradition. The three principal sites – Douglas Engelbart’s Augmented Human Intellect Research Center, exMIT professor John McCarthy’s Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and, a little later, Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center – embraced an understanding of the computer as another key to a liberating democratization of thinking and acting. The commitment to openness therefore shifted from a technocratic maxim to a democratic one. It became a mode of emancipation at once practical, selfimproving, and utopian.


pages: 843 words: 223,858

The Rise of the Network Society by Manuel Castells

"Robert Solow", Apple II, Asian financial crisis, barriers to entry, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, borderless world, British Empire, business cycle, capital controls, complexity theory, computer age, computerized trading, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, declining real wages, deindustrialization, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, deskilling, disintermediation, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, edge city, experimental subject, financial deregulation, financial independence, floating exchange rates, future of work, global village, Gunnar Myrdal, Hacker Ethic, hiring and firing, Howard Rheingold, illegal immigration, income inequality, Induced demand, industrial robot, informal economy, information retrieval, intermodal, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, inventory management, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, Leonard Kleinrock, longitudinal study, low skilled workers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Menlo Park, moral panic, new economy, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open economy, packet switching, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, popular capitalism, popular electronics, post-industrial society, postindustrial economy, prediction markets, Productivity paradox, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social software, South China Sea, South of Market, San Francisco, special economic zone, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson, the built environment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, total factor productivity, trade liberalization, transaction costs, urban renewal, urban sprawl, zero-sum game

Behind the development of the Internet there was the scientific, institutional, and personal networks cutting across the Defense Department, National Science Foundation, major research universities (particularly MIT, UCLA, Stanford, University of Southern California, Harvard, University of California at Santa Barbara, and University of California at Berkeley), and specialized technological think-tanks, such as MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, SRI (formerly Stanford Research Institute), Palo Alto Research Corporation (funded by Xerox), ATT’s Bell Laboratories, Rand Corporation, and BBN (Bolt, Beranek & Newman). Key technological players in the 1960s–1970s were, among others, J. C. R. Licklider, Paul Baran, Douglas Engelbart (the inventor of the mouse), Robert Taylor, Ivan Sutherland, Lawrence Roberts, Alex McKenzie, Robert Kahn, Alan Kay, Robert Thomas, Robert Metcalfe, and a brilliant computer science theoretician Leonard Kleinrock, and his cohort of outstanding graduate students at UCLA, who would become some of the key minds behind the design and development of the Internet: Vinton Cerf, Stephen Crocker, Jon Postel, among others.


pages: 781 words: 226,928

Commodore: A Company on the Edge by Brian Bagnall

Apple II, belly landing, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Byte Shop, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Firefox, game design, index card, inventory management, Isaac Newton, low skilled workers, Menlo Park, packet switching, pink-collar, popular electronics, prediction markets, pre–internet, QWERTY keyboard, Robert Metcalfe, Robert X Cringely, Silicon Valley, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Ted Nelson

The conference was three times the size of the West Coast Computer Faire, drawing in over 36,000 attendees. Peddle remembers the experience. “It was in the middle of summer in Dallas. The first two floors of this big convention center are set up for all the big computer guys. It’s a dog-and-pony show with IBM limousines and all that s**t.” The very first National Computer Conference was four years earlier, in New York City. The conference regularly attracted such distinguished speakers as Douglas Engelbart, the inventor of the mouse. Normally the conference was the domain of the larger computer companies. The industry commonly referred to the big eight computer companies as “IBM and the seven dwarfs,” which included Univac, Burroughs, Scientific Data Systems, Control Data Corporation, General Electric, RCA and Honeywell. Other major attendees at the show included Memorex, National Semiconductor, Datapoint, and Sperry.


pages: 903 words: 235,753

The Stack: On Software and Sovereignty by Benjamin H. Bratton

1960s counterculture, 3D printing, 4chan, Ada Lovelace, additive manufacturing, airport security, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, algorithmic trading, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, bitcoin, blockchain, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, call centre, carbon footprint, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, Celebration, Florida, charter city, clean water, cloud computing, connected car, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, dark matter, David Graeber, deglobalization, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed generation, don't be evil, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, facts on the ground, Flash crash, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, Georg Cantor, gig economy, global supply chain, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Guggenheim Bilbao, High speed trading, Hyperloop, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information retrieval, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), intermodal, Internet of things, invisible hand, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Joan Didion, John Markoff, Joi Ito, Jony Ive, Julian Assange, Khan Academy, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, market fundamentalism, Marshall McLuhan, Masdar, McMansion, means of production, megacity, megastructure, Menlo Park, Minecraft, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Monroe Doctrine, Network effects, new economy, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, peak oil, peer-to-peer, performance metric, personalized medicine, Peter Eisenman, Peter Thiel, phenotype, Philip Mirowski, Pierre-Simon Laplace, place-making, planetary scale, RAND corporation, recommendation engine, reserve currency, RFID, Robert Bork, Sand Hill Road, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Slavoj Žižek, smart cities, smart grid, smart meter, social graph, software studies, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spectrum auction, Startup school, statistical arbitrage, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Stuxnet, Superbowl ad, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, Torches of Freedom, transaction costs, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, undersea cable, universal basic income, urban planning, Vernor Vinge, Washington Consensus, web application, Westphalian system, WikiLeaks, working poor, Y Combinator

Resolution at the User layer may prove decisive in some ways, but very different from how one might expect and perhaps from “human” in any normal sense. The world is still full of pre-Copernicans, across the political spectrum, and disturbances to human privilege will continue to invite violent pushback. The status of the User as a political and technological creature will stage much of this conflict to come, and it will draw both our deepest intelligence and stupidity to the surface. An early work by Douglas Engelbart from 1960 is “Special Considerations of the Individual as User, Generator, and Retriever of Information.” Among the considerable effects for “the individual” of Engelbart's later work, as one of the key designers of many of the interfacial systems we today take for granted (he was key contributor to the design of the mouse, pointer, and pull-down menu, among other techniques), has been the conflation of the use, generation, and retrieval of information under a single actor, the User.