Mother of all demos

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

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3D printing, 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, Donald Trump, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Firefox, Galaxy Zoo, 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, 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

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. Using computers to connect people to build a more powerful computer, to “harness collective intellect”,10 became his life’s mission. By early 1968, he showed off several of his inventions at a demonstration subsequently known as “The Mother of All Demos.” Many facets of the modern personal computer were present at this demonstration in nascent form: the mouse, the keyboard, the monitor, hyperlinks, videoconferencing.

Many facets of the modern personal computer were present at this demonstration in nascent form: the mouse, the keyboard, the monitor, hyperlinks, videoconferencing. Unfortunately, “The Mother of All Demos” did not turn Engelbart into an instant celebrity outside nerd circles. Even inside nerd circles, most of his colleagues regarded Engelbart as something of a crank. The idea that you could sit in front of a computer and actually work at it seemed lunatic in this age of massive institutional computers that worked for days to solve your complex problem while you did something else. You dropped a problem off with a computer and returned a few days later to find it solved; you didn’t sit in front of it and wait. Yet Engelbart’s vision wasn’t all that radical. Even as he imagined people sitting at computers and using them to augment and extend their work, he still saw them as big, institutional things.

In May 1970, a group of students at the University of Illinois organized a day of action to protest the construction on campus of a supercomputer called the ILLIAC IV, primarily because it was funded by the Defense Department. They called their protest Smash ILLIAC IV and included a cartoon of the mainframe computer with screens tracking things like a “kill-die factor” and a gaping mouth labeled “Feed $$$$$$ here!” 12. Stewart Brand is a particularly interesting figure because he bridged these two branches of nerd culture. He was the camera operator at Engelbart’s “Mother of All Demos,” but he was also one of the Merry Pranksters running around on Ken Kesey’s bus. The quotation is taken from his essay “We Owe It All to the Hippies,” Time, 1 Mar. 1995. 13. http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/peoples-computer/peoples-1972-oct/index.html 14. http://www.atariarchives.org/deli/homebrew_and_how_the_apple.php 15. http://www.digibarn.com/collections/newsletters/homebrew/V2_01/index.html 16. http://www.gadgetspage.com/comps-peripheral/apple-i-computer-ad.html 17.


pages: 378 words: 94,468

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

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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

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. It started that way and we never changed it,’ Engelbart said that day), video conferencing, hypertext, teleconferencing, word processing and collaborative real-time editing. It was the beginning of the modern age.1 Engelbart, in common with many intellectuals and technologists of the era, had attended LSD-assisted creativity sessions in the 1960s at the International Foundation for Advanced Study, a California psychedelic research group founded by a friend of Alexander Shulgin’s, Mylon Stolaroff.

It was the beginning of the modern age.1 Engelbart, in common with many intellectuals and technologists of the era, had attended LSD-assisted creativity sessions in the 1960s at the International Foundation for Advanced Study, a California psychedelic research group founded by a friend of Alexander Shulgin’s, Mylon Stolaroff. The Shulgins wrote the preface to Stolaroff’s book Thanatos to Eros (1994) detailing his experiences with LSD, MDMA, mescaline and a number of Shulgin’s creations.2 Author Stewart Brand, who coined the phrase ‘Information wants to be free’ in 1984, was responsible for filming the Mother of All Demos, and that same year he launched the Whole Earth Catalog, the ad-free samizdat techno-hippy bible. Its esoteric and wide-ranging content, from poetry to construction plans for geodesic domes by physicist Buckminster Fuller, from car repair tips to trout-fishing guides and the fundamentals of yoga and the I-ching, was hacked together using Polaroid cameras, Letraset and the highest of low-tech.

., 1 Lamere, Timothy, 1 Lancet, The, 1 Latvia, 1 Leary, Timothy, 1, 2 Legalhighguides, 1 Leonhart, Michele, 1 Lewman, Andrew, 1, 2 Liberty Gold, 1 Life magazine, 1 lignocaine, 1 Lilly, John, 1 Linder, David, 1 Linnaeus, Carl, 1 Llewellyn, Max, 1 Lloyd, Daniel, 1 London Toxicology Group (LTG), 1, 2 Loomis, Katrina, 1 lotus leaves, 1 Louwagie, Pam, 1 LSD, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and bizarre behaviour, 1 and drug myths, 1 online sales, 1, 2, 3, 4 LSD: The Beyond Within, 1 magic mushrooms, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and drug laws, 1 Mail on Sunday, 1, 2, 3 Makriyannis, Alexandros, 1 Manchin, Joe, 1 Mancuso, David, 1 Manson, Alasdair, 1 marijuana (cannabis), 1, 2, 3 American policy on, 1 and decriminalization debate, 1, 2 droughts, 1 as gateway drug, 1 ‘grit weed’, 1 and Mexican drugs war, 1 online sales, 1, 2, 3 popularity, 1 reclassification controversy, 1 replacements, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 Markoff, John, 1 Marquis reagent, 1 Mathewson, Nick, 1 May, Theresa, 1 Mayhew, Christopher, 1, 2 MBZP, 1 MDA, 1, 2, 3 MDAI, 1, 2, 3 MDMA (Ecstasy), 1 and bingeing, 1 and Bluelight community, 1 brain effects, 1 compared with mephedrone, 1, 2 compared with methylone, 1 deaths, 1, 2, 3 decline in quality, 1, 2, 3 and decriminalization debate, 1, 2 global drought, 1, 2, 3, 4 increase in supply, 1 interaction with MAOIs, 1 and internet, 1, 2, 3 introduction to Britain, 1 and mass culture, 1, 2 MDA variant, 1, 2 and mephedrone substitution, 1 ‘molly’, 1 online sales, 1, 2, 3 popularity, 1, 2 popularity in China, 1 prices, 1 and safrole synthesis, 1 synthesis, 1 testing, 1, 2, 3 TMA derivative, 1 use in psychotherapy, 1 MDP-2-P, 1 MDPV, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Measham, Fiona, 1 Mendez, Eva, 1 mephedrone (Meow), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 deaths, 1 and decriminalization debate, 1, 2, 3 increased use, 1, 2, 3 marketing and legislation, 1, 2 popularity, 1 replacements, 1, 2, 3, 4 mescaline, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and MDMA, 1, 2, 3 methadone, 1 methamphetamine, see crystal meth methcathinone, 1, 2 methiopropamine, 1, 2 methoxetamine (MXE; 3-MeO-2-Oxo-PCE), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 methylone, see BK-MDMA methylsafrylamin, 1 Mexican drugs war, 1, 2 Miami zombie cannibal case, 1 Milne, Hugh, 1 MixMag survey, 1, 2, 3 mod culture, 1 monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), 1 Moore, Demi, 1 morning glory seeds, 1 morphine, 1, 2 Morris, Hamilton, 1 Morse, Samuel, 1 Mother of All Demos, 1 mreah prew phnom tree, 1 MtGox, 1 Mulholland, John, 1 MySpace, 1 Nakamoto, Satoshi, 1 naphyrone, see NRG-1 Nasmyth, Peter, 1 National Security Agency (NSA), 1 Native Americans, 1 NatWest, 1 NBC Dateline, 1 needle exchange programmes, 1 Negron, Senator Joe, 1 NeoDoves, 1, 2, 3, 4 Netherlands (Holland), 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and magic mushrooms, 1 and PMK-glycidate, 1 N-ethyl ketamine, 1 neurotransmitters, 1, 2 see also dopamine; serotonin New Orleans Times Picayune, 1 New York Times, 1, 2 New Yorker, 1 New Zealand, 1 Nichols, David E., 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Niemoller, Mark, 1 nitrous oxide, 1 Nixon, Richard, 1, 2 non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), 1 nootropics, 1 norephrenine, 1 norketamine, 1, 2 Norris, Charles, 1 NRG-1 and NRG-2, 1 nuclear magnetic resonance, 1, 2, 3 nutmeg, 1 Nutt, David, 1 Obama, Barack, 1, 2, 3, 4 Operation Adam Bomb, 1 Operation Ismene, 1, 2, 3 Operation Kitley, 1 Operation Pipe Dream, 1 Operation Web Tryp, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 opium, 1 O’Reilly, Tim, 1 organized crime, 1, 2, 3 Orthopedics, 1 Osmond, Humphrey Fortescue, 1, 2, 3 Otwell, Clayton, 1 Oxycodone, 1 packet-switching, 1, 2 Panorama, 1 paracetamol, 1 Parkinson’s, 1 Parry, Simon, 1 party pills, 1 PayPal, 1, 2, 3, 4 Payza, 1 Pecunix, 1 pentylone, 1, 2 pesticides/herbicides, 1, 2 peyote, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 pharmacokinetics, 1 phenazepam, 1 phenethylamines, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Pillreports.com, 1 Pink Floyd, 1 piperazines, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 piperidines, 1 piperonal, 1 piracetam, 1 Platt, Lord, 1 PMA, 1, 2 PMK, 1 Poland, 1, 2 Poppo, Ronald, 1 Portugal, 1 potassium permanganate, 1 Preisler, Steve (Uncle Fester), 1, 2 Price, Gabrielle, 1 Princess Bride, The, 1 Project MKultra, 1 Prozac, 1, 2 psilocin, 1, 2 Psilocybe cubensis, 1 Psilocybe semilanceata (liberty caps), 1 psilocybin, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 see also magic mushrooms psychiatric patients, treated with LSD, 1 Punch, 1 punks, 1 Pursat, 1 QR codes, 1 Quick Kill, 1 Rachmaninov, Sergei, 1, 2 Ramsey, John, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Reding, Viviane, 1 Register, The, 1 Reid, Brian, 1 Reid, Fergal, 1 Research Chemical Mailing List (RCML), 1 research chemicals, 1 arrival of legal highs, 1 custom syntheses, 1, 2 growth in availability, 1 and law enforcement, 1 new compounds statistics, 1 online sales, 1 overdoses and mislabelling, 1, 2, 3 and retail market, 1 and substance displacement, 1 users, 1 Reynolds, Simon, 1 ring substitution, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 Ritalin, 1 Robbins, Joshua, 1 Robinson-Davis, Trevor, 1 Rolling Stone, 1 Russia, 1 Ryan, Mark, 1 Sabag, Doron, 1 Sabet, Kevin, 1 safrole, 1, 2, 3, 4 salmonella, 1 Saltoun, Lord, 1 Salvia divinorum, 1, 2 Sandison, Ronald, 1 sannyasin, 1 Santos, Juan Manuel, 1 sapo, 1 sarin, 1 Saunders, Nicholas, 1, 2 Saunders, Rene, 1 Schumer, Senator Charles, 1 sclerotia (truffles), 1 scopolamine, 1 Scroggins, Justin Steven, 1 Second World War, 1 Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), 1, 2, 3 serotonin, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 serotonin syndrome, 1, 2 Shafer, Jack, 1 Shamen, the, 1 Shanghai, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Shen-Nung, Emperor, 1 Shepton Mallet, 1, 2 Shulgin, Alexander creation of MDMA, 1, 2, 3, 4 creation of methylone, 1 and drug legislation, 1 internet presence, 1 PIHKAL and TIHKAL, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and sex, 1, 2 The Shulgin Index, 1 Shulgin, Ann, 1 Shultes, Richard Evans, 1 Silk Road, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 SKUNK!


pages: 171 words: 54,334

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

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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, moral panic, Mother of all demos, Naomi Klein, 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, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, WikiLeaks

“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. The event was later dubbed “The Mother of all Demos”, thanks to the fact that it was the world’s first sighting of a number of computing technologies, including the mouse, email and hypertext. According to Steven Levy, author of Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution, “Engelbarts support staff was as elaborate as one would find at a modern Grateful Dead concert” and that support staff included Stewart Brand, who volunteered a lot of time to set up the networked video links and cameras that made Engelbart’s demonstration go off with such a bang.

Dobson, William J. 2010. “Needles in Haystack.” Newsweek, August 6. http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/06/needles-in-a-haystack.html#. Doctorow, Cory. 2008. Little Brother. USA: Tor Teen. Elmer-Dewitt, Philip, David S. Jackson, and Wendy King. 1993. “First Nation in Cyberspace.” Time, December 6. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,979768-1,00.html. Engelbart, Douglas. 1968. The Mother of All Demos presented at the Fall Joint Computer Conference, December 6, San Francisco. http://sloan.stanford.edu/MouseSite/1968Demo.html. Florin, Fabrice. 1984. Hackers: Wizards of the Electronic Age. United States. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bl_1OybdteY. Garreau, Joel. 1994. “Conspiracy of Heretics.” Wired, November. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.11/gbn.html. Gates, William Henry III. 1976.


pages: 223 words: 52,808

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

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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

We have layers of powerful, responsive, computing resources from handheld to the cloud. 8.5 Complex Texts Rectangular tables of data are not the only way to organize information in a computer. Lyall Morril developed Whatsit? a freeform information organizer that used triples to record relationships between entities. That was a little step toward loosening up people’s thinking in the direction Ted was and is advocating. I am especially grateful to Ted for introducing me to Douglas Engelbart, another amazing visionary, the man who gave “the mother of all demos.” Engelbart showed creative ways of organizing work and ideas, and of collaborating online. An attorney customer of ours created a program to organize legal arguments. His program let a user connect evidence to arguments and arguments to evidence. Primitive personal computer languages made it difficult to store text strings longer than 256 characters, but even with those limitations, the program worked well. 8.6 “Everything Is Deeply Intertwingled” The quotation that serves as the heading for this section appeared on page D2 in the Dream Machines half of Ted’s book, Computer Lib/Dream Machines [1].

It may have been growing on Nelson in 1967, but as I’ve said, the computing world really wasn’t about to swallow the idea of a global hypertext publishing system. Work had not even started on the ARPANET (though Ivan Sutherland and Bob Taylor had been thinking about it for some time). The computing establishment was still trying to grapple with the concept of a person sitting in front of a screen and exploring information in real-time after Doug’s mother of all demos in 1968. That demo took years—over 20 years—to filter through properly. There was, however, an attempt to build part of Nelson’s vision at Brown University in 1967, and that resulted in a unique and historically important stand-alone system called the Hypertext Editing System. I’m not going to go into that here, however—this is Nelson’s party and I don’t want to poop it. If you are interested you can find it in my book [1], and the implementation notes are published in the Xuarchives [7].


pages: 239 words: 56,531

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

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Albert Einstein, Andrew Keen, Apple II, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, Burning Man, 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, Jacquard loom, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Mercator projection, Metcalfe’s law, Mother of all demos, mutually assured destruction, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, planetary scale, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Post-materialism, post-materialism, Potemkin village, RFID, Richard Feynman, 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

Engelbart set himself the grandest simulation objective of all: not simply simulating a single mind, but instead trying to simulate the best of group thinking and action, leading to the twined memes of symbiotic participation. Of course, many people, both within and outside of computer science, have been concerned with wicked problems, but few of them ever had the kind of immediate, public impact that Engelbart did in 1968. For that was the year that he gave the “mother of all demos,” a public display of his innovations and vision to an audience of his peers along with a younger generation that he would inspire. At SRI, Engelbart had developed a system featuring scaling windows, graphical user interfaces, live video teleconferencing, and hypertext. A new input device of his invention—an odd-looking thing that could control elements anywhere on the screen—directed all of these windows and operations.

They strove to humanize, decentralize, and personalize computers, and were opposed to virtually every aspect of the way that the Plutocrats had commodified and corporatized computing. What the Aquarians felt was missing in the Plutocratic era was the sense that humans had invented a new ally, not just for the battlefield, lab, or office, but in making a better, more creative life. 159 GENERATIONS When people talk about Engelbart’s presentation of the NLS (“oN-Line System”) as the “mother of all demos” what they mean is that something about the reality of the thing—the realtime manipulation, the new input device, and the sheer totality of it all—changed the culture of computing right then and there, at least in the heads of those who could understand its implications. One of those best and brightest was the young Alan Kay. A polymath who had supported himself in grad school by playing jazz guitar, Kay had never felt comfortable in the confines of academia.16 He had traveled down to the Bay Area from the University of Utah, where he was a grad student in the lab of Ivan Sutherland.


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

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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, 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

Balance that against the 3.8 million people who earned a living by driving commercially in the United States in 2012.10 Driverless cars and trucks would potentially displace many if not most of those jobs as they emerge during the next two decades. Indeed, the question is more nuanced than one narrowly posed as a choice of saving lives or jobs. When Doug Engelbart gave what would later be billed as “The Mother of All Demos” in 1968—a demonstration of the technologies that would lead to personal computing and the Internet—he implicitly adopted the metaphor of driving. He sat at a keyboard and a display and showed how graphical interactive computing could be used to control computing and “drive” through what would become known as cyberspace. The human was very much in control in this model of intelligence augmentation.

., 240–241 DARPA Advanced Research Projects Agency as precursor to, 30, 110, 111–112, 164, 171 ARPAnet, 164, 196 autonomous cars and Grand Challenge, 24, 26, 27–36, 40 CALO and, 31, 297, 302–304, 310, 311 Dugan and, 236 Engelbart and, 6 Licklider and, 11 LRASM, 26–27 Moravec and, 119 Pratt and, 235–236 Robotics Challenge, 227–230, 234, 236–238, 244–254, 249, 333–334 Rosen and, 102 Taylor and, 160 Darrach, Brad, 103–105 Dartmouth Summer Research Project on Artificial Intelligence, 105, 107–109, 114, 143 DataLand, 307 Davis, Ruth, 102–103 “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, A” (Barlow), 173 DeepMind Technologies, 91, 337–338 Defense Science Board, 27 de Forest, Lee, 98 “demons,” 190 Dendral, 113–114, 127 Diebold, John, 98 Diffie, Whitfield, 8, 112 Digital Equipment Corporation, 112, 285 direct manipulation, 187 Djerassi, Carl, 113 Doerr, John, 7 Dompier, Steve, 211–212 Dreyfus, Hubert, 177–178, 179 drone delivery research, 247–248 Dubinsky, Donna, 154 Duda, Richard, 128, 129 Dugan, Regina, 236 Duvall, Bill, 1–7 Earnest, Les, 120, 199 Earth Institute, 59 Edgerton, Germeshausen, and Grier (EG&G), 127 e-discovery software, 78 E-Groups, 259 elastic actuation, 236–237 electronic commerce, advent of, 289, 301–302 electronic stability control (ESC), 46 Elementary Perceiver and Memorizer (EPAM), 283 “Elephants Don’t Play Chess” (Brooks), 201 Eliza, 14, 113, 172–174, 221 email, advent of, 290, 310 End of Work, The (Rifkin), 76–77 Engelbart, Doug. see also SRI International on exponential power of computers, 118–119 IA versus AI debate and, 165–167 on intelligence augmentation (IA), xii, 5–7, 31 Minsky and, 17 “Mother of All Demos” (1968) by, 62 NLS, 5–7, 172, 197 Rosen and, 102 Siri and, 301, 316–317 Engineers and the Price System, The (Veblen), 343 Enterprise Integration Technologies, 289, 291 ethical issues, 324–344. see also intelligence augmentation (IA) versus AI; labor force of autonomous cars, 26–27, 60–61 decision making and control, 341–342 Google on, 91 human-in-the-loop debates, 158–165, 167–169, 335 of labor force, 68–73, 325–332 scientists’ responsibility and, 332–341, 342–344 “techno-religious” issues, 116–117 expert systems, defined, 134–141, 285 Facebook, 83, 156–158, 266–267 Fast-SLAM, 37 Feigenbaum, Ed, 113, 133–136, 167–169, 283, 287–288 Felsenstein, Lee, 208–215 Fernstedt, Anders, 71 “field robotics,” 233–234 Fishman, Charles, 81 Flextronics, 68 Flores, Fernando, 179–180, 188 Foot, Philippa, 60 Ford, Martin, 79 Ford Motor Company, 70 Forstall, Scott, 322 Foxconn, 93, 208, 248 Friedland, Peter, 292 Galaxy Zoo, 219–220 Gates, Bill, 305, 329–330 General Electric (GE), 68–69 General Magic, 240, 315 General Motors (GM), 32–35, 48–50, 52, 53, 60 Genetic Finance, 304 Genghis (robot), 202 Geometrics, 127 George, Dileep, 154 Geraci, Robert, 85, 116–117 Gerald (digital light field), 271 Giant Brains, or Machines That Think (Berkeley), 231 Gibson, William, 23–24 Go Corp., 141 God & Golem, Inc.

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

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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

LINKING: An NLS "link" was a character string in a statement indicating a cross-reference to another statement, whether in the same file or not. The text of the link was readable by both the user and the machine. The command "Jump to Link," followed by the selection of the link, displayed the reference statement. The use of interfile links allowed NLS users to construct large linked structures made of many files: hypertext. THE MOTHER OF ALL DEMOS By 1968, with the combination of the chord keyset, mouse, CRT display, and hypertext, Engelbart and his crew at SRI had concrete results to show the world. "By 1968 we had a marvelous system," Engelbart later recalled. "A few people would come and visit us, but we didn't seem to be getting the type of general interest that I expected." As a result, "I was looking for a better way to show people, so we took an immense risk and applied for a special session at the ACM/IEEE-Computer Society Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco in December 1968"-the conference of the Association for Com- puting Machinery and the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

As a result, "I was looking for a better way to show people, so we took an immense risk and applied for a special session at the ACM/IEEE-Computer Society Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco in December 1968"-the conference of the Association for Com- puting Machinery and the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Every book devoted to personal computing at some point reports this fa- mous presentation, which Douglas Engelbart and his staff offered at the AFIPS Fall Joint Computer Conference on December 9, 1968, later dubbed "the SRI and the oN-LIne System 139 mother of all demos" by Andries van Dam, as indeed it was, with the likes of Microsoft and Apple eventually building on the basis of innovations first in- troduced there. Reiterating such a pervasive generic formula in accounts of the history of the personal computer seems obligatory. In place of yet another reci- tation of one of the computer community's foundational tribal tales, however, here is Engelbart's own account of the first time that the personal interface was publicly presented to the world outside of the laboratory, assembled from rec- ollections published in 1988 (Engelbart 1988, 202- 6) 21 and an oral history interview that Henry Lowood and Judy Adams conducted in 1987 (Engelbart 199 6 ).22 What do you do to get people going on augmentation kinds of things?


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

Albert Einstein, autonomous vehicles, banking crisis, bitcoin, book scanning, 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, 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, Tim Cook: Apple, Uber and Lyft, War on Poverty, Whole Earth Catalog

When it was all over, the crowd rose to their feet and cheered, spellbound, enthralled. Not only had Engelbart introduced the world to the notion of the computer as a personal assistant controlled by a mouse, keyboard and cursor, he’d shown them a graphical user interface which formed the basis of the ‘windows’ he’d been manipulating, hyperlinks and the concept of the networked online realm we know today as the Web. It would become known, in Silicon Valley, as ‘the mother of all demos’. Up on that screen, Engelbart the crackpot had, in the memorable phrase of one observer, been ‘dealing lightning with both hands’. It wasn’t just that the technology was new, the foundational concept behind it was revolutionary. Here, for the first time, was computing that had been designed to be personal. It wasn’t a machine for repression and coercion. It all worked in service of the I.

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. The account I’ve given in the text has been lightly edited for sense and concision. audience considered Engelbart a ‘crackpot’: ‘The Mother of All Demos – 150 years ahead of its time’, Cade Metz, Register, 11 December 2008. John Markoff has called ‘a complete vision of the information age’: What the Dormouse Said, John Markoff (Penguin, 2005), p. 9. In 1968, the year of the demo, the Institute’s co-founder Michael Murphy had written: ‘Esalen: Where Man Confronts Himself’, Michael Murphy, Stanford Alumni Almanac, May 1968. with one 1985 Esquire story reporting ‘scientists’: ‘Encounters at the Mind’s Edge’, George Leonard, Esquire, June 1985.


pages: 416 words: 129,308

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

Airbnb, 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, Jacquard loom, John Gruber, John Markoff, Jony Ive, Lyft, M-Pesa, 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, Upton Sinclair, Vannevar Bush, zero day

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. The tech journalist Steven Levy would call it “the mother of all demos,” and the name stuck. A video feed shared the programs and technologies being demoed onscreen. It was a far cry from the more polished product launches Jobs would become famous for decades later; Engelbart broadcast his own head in the frame as, over the course of an hour and a half, he displayed new feats of computing and made delightfully odd quips and self-interruptions. “As windows open and shut, and their contents reshuffled, the audience stared into the maw of cyberspace,” Levy writes.

He imagined people logging on to the same system to share information to improve their understanding of the world and its increasingly complex problems. He advocated something a lot like the modern internet, social networking, and a mode of computing that, through the smartphone, has indeed begun the supplanting of the PC as the primary way we most often trade information. Though Engelbart’s mother of all demos became legendary among the computer crowd, it was an outsider, it seems, who would turn Steve on to the format he later became famous for. Apple expert Leander Kahney says that Jobs’s keynotes were the product of CEO John Sculley: “A marketing expert, he envisioned the product announcements as ‘news theater,’ a show put on for the press. The idea was to stage an event that the media would treat as news, generating headlines for whatever product was introduced.


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, 3D printing, 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, Peter Thiel, Plutocrats, plutocrats, pre–internet, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, revision control, Robert Bork, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, Ronald Reagan, 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, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, transfer pricing, 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

Doug called the system he had built the oN-Line System (NLS), and in the 100-minute demonstration that would follow he planned to introduce the world to (in the words of Engelbart’s biographer Thierry Bardini) “windows, hypertext, graphics, efficient navigation, command input, videoconferencing, the computer mouse, word processing, dynamic file linking, revision control, and a collaborative real-time editor.” But for the moment no one was sure that what would later be called the Mother of All Demos would work. Doug had told someone at NASA earlier in the week that he was going to show the system publicly—“Maybe it’s a better idea you don’t tell us, just in case it crashes,” the NASA employee advised him. Doug’s chief engineer, Bill English, had been a theatrical stage manager and knew that the demonstration had to be ready as soon as the audience showed up. But what a show. Let Doug explain.


pages: 786 words: 195,810

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

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Albert Einstein, 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, 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, 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. Over the course of ninety minutes, Engelbart set forth the fundamental elements of the modern digital age in a single seamless package: graphical user interfaces, multiple window displays, mouse-driven navigation, word processing, hypertext linking, videoconferencing, and real-time collaboration.

That problem was solved when a programmer at a bustling commune in San Francisco called Project One wangled the long-term lease of an SDS 940 (retail cost: $300,000) from the Transamerica Corporation. This mighty machine—which was twenty-four feet long and required a fleet of air conditioners to stay cool—already had a storied history. It was the first computer designed to support McCarthy’s time-sharing scheme directly. It was also the computer Engelbart had used to power the Mother of All Demos. It was a chunk of hardware with unusually good karma. The hacker subculture incubated at MIT was thriving in places like SAIL, Xerox PARC, and the now legendary garages of Cupertino and San José. Soon Whole Earth Catalog impresario Stewart Brand would unleash this subculture on the unsuspecting inhabitants of Greater Mundania with the ultimate endorsement in Rolling Stone: “Computers are coming to the people.


pages: 394 words: 108,215

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

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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, 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, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, union organizing, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

Local newspaper articles that preceded the conference noted that there would be discussions of the privacy implications of the use of computers, and a public forum, “Information, Computers and the Political Process,” would feature broadcaster Edward P. Morgan and Santa Clara County’s member of the House of Representatives, Paul McCloskey Jr. But Engelbart stole the show. In the days afterward, the published accounts of the event described nothing else. Years later, his talk remained “the mother of all demos,” in the words of Andries van Dam, a Brown University computer scientist. In many ways, it is still the most remarkable computer-technology demonstration of all time. “Fantastic World of Tomorrow’s Computer” was the headline in the San Francisco Chronicle, which noted that Engelbart had said that his group was consciously steering clear of any artificial “brain” or thinking computer. The more subtle distinction between the opposing goals of augmentation and automation was lost on the writer, but it was at the very heart of the demonstration.


pages: 339 words: 57,031

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

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, Buckminster Fuller, 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, 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, theory of mind, urban renewal, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Yom Kippur War

Stewart Brand, who also attended the event, featured it in the January 1970 supplement to the Whole Earth Catalog.14 Even as Brand was helping introduce the members of ARC to the commune-based readership of the Whole Earth Catalog, his connections to the group introduced him to the future of computing. In 1968 Dave Evans recruited Brand to serve as a videographer for an event that would become known as the “mother of all demos.”15 On December 9 of that year, at the Association for Computing Machinery / Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (ACM/IEEE)–Computer Society’s Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, Engelbart and members of the ARC team demonstrated the NLS system to three thousand computer engineers. Engelbart sat on stage with a screen behind him depicting both himself and the text he was working on.


pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

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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, 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, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, 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, V2 rocket, 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. The future was brightening up: the “free use of computer technology” would mean that fifteen years into the future, flat structures would trump centralized power.