Ted Nelson

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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

Struppa Orange, CA February 7, 2015 Contents Part I Artistic Contributions 1 The Computer Age Ed Subitzky 2 Odes to Ted Nelson Ben Shneiderman Part II Peer Histories 3 The Two-Eyed Man Alan Kay 4 Ted Nelson’s Xanadu Ken Knowlton 5 Hanging Out with Ted Nelson Brewster Kahle 6 Riffing on Ted Nelson—Hypermind Peter Schmideg and Laurie Spiegel 7 Intertwingled Inspiration Andrew Pam 8 An Advanced Book for Beginners Dick Heiser Part III Hypertext and Ted Nelson-Influenced Research 9 The Importance of Ted’s Vision Belinda Barnet 10 Data, Metadata, and Ted Christine L. Borgman 11 Making Links:​ Everything Really Is Deeply Intertwingled Wendy Hall 12 Ted Nelson Frode Hegland 13 History Debugged Daniel Rosenberg 14 We Can and Must Understand Computers NOW Noah Wardrip-Fruin 15 The Future of Transclusion Robert M. Akscyn 16 Ted Nelson:​ A Critical (and Critically Incomplete) Bibliography Henry Lowood Part IV The Last Word 17 What Box?​

A pioneering visionary of universal hypertext systems including the social and legal structures; keynote speaker at Hypertext ’87 Workshop.Ted Nelson (See Fig. 2.1) Fig. 2.1Example image of Ted Nelson in hyperties system [1] Keynote Speaker at Hypertext ’87 Workshop. Ted Nelson’s creative visions are amply displayed in his lively books, Computer Lib/Dream Machines and Literary Machines, which detail his hypertext vision. Nelson understood that major social and legal changes would be necessary to realize his concept of universal hypertext environment. His XANADU system supported enormous docuverses including complex links among literary sources, quotations, critiques, etc. and a vast global network accessible from community-oriented computer centers. Nelson worked with the hypertext group at Brown University and collaborated with Andries Van Dam in the 1970s. Ted Nelson was one of the three keynote speakers at the Hypertext 87 Workshop.

Accessed 4 Jan 2015 Footnotes 1System builders will be still on the scene because their job will never be finished. 2See in this volume, Laurie Spiegel, Chap. 6: Riffing on Ted Nelson. © The Author(s) 2015 Douglas R. Dechow and Daniele C. Struppa (eds.)IntertwingledHistory of Computing10.1007/978-3-319-16925-5_5 5. Hanging Out with Ted Nelson Brewster Kahle1 (1)Internet Archive, 300 Funston Ave, 94118 San Francisco, CA, USA Brewster Kahle Email: brewster@archive.org It’s a great honor to honor a great man like Ted Nelson. I have very much enjoyed my whole relationship with him. That’s why I’ve titled my short piece “Hanging Out with Ted Nelson” so that I can discuss what it is it like to sort of bum around and hitch rides and just play around with Ted. Two stories illustrate day-to-day life with a man who has, basically, put in place a lot of the infrastructure upon which my whole career has been built.


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

I won’t risk crediting him with inspiring this book, however; Ted once told me that the problem with inspiring people is that they then try to credit you with things you don’t like. So just in case, I take full credit and full responsibility. I should also point out that he wouldn’t consider himself a pioneer in the league of Ted Nelson or Andy van Dam or Wendy Hall – more a ‘Storyspace groupie’, as he put it to me. I disagree. But we’ll get to that in the final chapter, a chapter he argued quite convincingly for me to include. I would also like to thank Ted Nelson, who first set aside a chunk of time to speak to me in Japan in 1999, and then came to stay with us in Melbourne in 2011. He provided me with his time, books, memories and a wad of yellow xxiv Memory Machines sticky notes he left in the spare room. He also provided extensive feedback on the Xanadu chapter, much of which has been incorporated.

This chapter is not an attempt to write a linear, causally linked history; interested readers can find that story elsewhere.5 It is also not the story of Ted Nelson’s life. He published his autobiography, Possiplex, in 2010. I am interested in Nelson’s vision and the impact of that vision. The remarkable thing about Xanadu is that, despite countless setbacks, it refuses to die. Its logo is, appropriately enough, the Eternal Flaming X. Paisley and Butler (cited in Smith 1991, 262) have noted that ‘scientists and technologists are guided by “images of potentiality” – the untested theories, unanswered questions and unbuilt devices that they view as their agenda for five years, ten years, and longer.’ Nelson is often accused of hand waving and lucid dreaming, but Xanadu has nonetheless become the most important vision in the history of computing. THE MAGICAL PLACE OF LITERARY MEMORY: XANADU 69 Ted Nelson at Keio University, Japan 1999.

Apple presented HyperCard with much pomp and ceremony, but it was met with an undertone of disdain (as Joyce recalls it); the feeling was ‘we all knew systems that had a good deal more functionality, like FRESS, and we sort of resented being told, “here’s hypertext”’ (Joyce 2011a). Ted Nelson also presented a paper on Xanadu (‘All for One and One for All’) and Janet Walker presented a paper on the Document Examiner. ‘It was fabulous,’ recalls Joyce, ‘the whole hypertext world discovered one another’ (Joyce 2011a). The demos at Hypertext ’87 were literally at the center of the conference. One big room, lots of big systems, systems we’d been reading about for years but that you’d never actually seen before. There in one room: Ted Nelson’s Xanadu, Engelbart’s NLS/Augment, Walker’s Symbolics Document Explorer, Joyce and Bolter with Storyspace, [Bernstein’s] Hypergate, Meyrowitz and Landow and Yankelovich and van Dam with Intermedia.


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

(As they did for Nothing #3, If I had started with an exact conception and stuck with it, the magazine wouldn’t have been nearly as good. From this I learned: be open to project possibilities as they unfold; be ready to steer the project to follow your vision as required, but take heed of where the project wants to go. What would Victor Navasky have said? 1956/1997 I ran into Victor Navasky, editor of The Nation, also a Swarthmore alumnus, around 1997. He said, “Not THE Ted Nelson?” I politely waited to find out what that meant to him. “Not the Ted Nelson who published Nothing Magazine?” Ah, what an inner glow that gave me. In the following semester, my good friend Charlie Harris published a parody of Nothing. He called it Something. What would Courtney Smith have said? June 1956 In his annual commencement address, Swarthmore’s president Courtney Smith took note that magazines called Nothing and Something had been published on campus.

an autobiography of Ted Nelson POSSIPLEX • Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization First edition, 2010 POSSIPLEX: Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization, © 2010 Theodor Holm Nelson. All rights reserved. INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY NOTICES: The following are current trademarks of Project Xanadu, either registered or claimed: Xanadu® hypertext; XanaduSpace™; the Eternal-Flaming-X™ symbol ZigZag® database and software mechanisms; the Zigfinity™ symbol; Illusium™ multidimensional viewdata-- “The stuff that dreams are made of™”. UltiDimensional™ viewing. Transcopyright™ permission doctrine, content delivery and sale method. The following are trademarks for designs still offered under consultation by the author: Fantasm™ Parallel Textface™ (broader generic: Transpointing windows) Walkie-Thinkie™ Retrocorder™ Ted Nelson’s JOT™ [not to be confused with ‘JOT’ offered by others] Cinenym™ HyperCoin™ SoftWorld™ LedgerDomain™ FlapDoodle™, Pictrola™ SpiralTime™ TRAC® is or was a registered trademark of Rockford Research, Inc.

The following are trademarks for designs still offered under consultation by the author: Fantasm™ Parallel Textface™ (broader generic: Transpointing windows) Walkie-Thinkie™ Retrocorder™ Ted Nelson’s JOT™ [not to be confused with ‘JOT’ offered by others] Cinenym™ HyperCoin™ SoftWorld™ LedgerDomain™ FlapDoodle™, Pictrola™ SpiralTime™ TRAC® is or was a registered trademark of Rockford Research, Inc. The following are former trademarks of the author used in this book-“Vortext” was at one time a claimed trademark of the author, and is used to refer to a specific design in this narrative. It is now a trademark of someone else. “Unifire” was at one time a claimed trademark of the author, and is used to refer to a specific design in this narrative. It is now appears to be under use by several others, but possibly with no trademarks claimed. Cover pic: The author as he wishes to be remembered: clever, determined, defiant.


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

Gates and Allen and Wozniak and Jobs are multimillionaires working on their first billions. They all have what they need to materialize the tools and toys they have dreamed about for decades. Ted Nelson's fortunes, have not (yet) turned out so spectacularly. What Ted Nelson and his long-suffering associate Roger Gregory have now is a long program written in the "C" language -- a program that is either a future goldmine for Ted Nelson and a boon to all humankind, or yet another crackpot boondoggle on the fringes of computer history. Unsettled as his future might be, what he had in the past was the foresight, the orneriness, and the tenacity to talk clearly and plainly about the computer empire's new clothes. Ted Nelson was another one of the few people who saw the personal augmentation potential of computers early in the game and grasped the significance of the work being done at Utah, SRI, MIT and PARC.

[9] Edward Feigenbaum and J. Feldman, eds., Computers and Thought (New York: McGraw-Hill Book Co., 1963). [10] Avron Barr, "Artificial Intelligence: Cognition as Computation," 18. [11] Ibid. [12] Ibid., p. 19. [13] Ibid., p.22. Chapter Fourteen: Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond [1] Ted Nelson, Dream Machines/Computer Lib (self-published, 1974). [2] Ted Nelson, Literary Machines (self-published, 1983). [3] Ibid., 1/17. [4] Ibid., 1/18. [5] Ted Nelson, "A New Home For the Mind," Datamation, March 1982, 174. [6] Ibid., 180. [7] Roy Amara, John Smith, Murray Turoff, and Jaques Vallee "Computerized Conferencing, a New Medium," Mosaic, January-February 1976. [8] Ibid., p 21. [9] Sarah N. Rhodes, The Role of the National Science Foundation in the Development of the Electronic Journal(Washington: National Science Foundation, Division of Information Science and Technology, 1976).

In the next chapter, we'll look at yet another path -- one that is more connected to the history of literature than the history of machines. Ted Nelson, our final infonaut, envisions a future in which the entire population joins the grand conversation of human culture that has heretofore been restricted to those few creators whose works have found their way to library shelves. Wild as his predictions may be, they have to be considered seriously, in light of the uncannily accurate forecasts he made back in the "old days" of personal computer history -- the 1960s and 1970s. Chapter Fourteen: Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond "Computer was a bad name for it. It might just as well have been called an Oogabooga Box. That way, at least, we could get the fear out in the open and laugh at it." Ted Nelson is one of the most outrageous and probably the funniest of the infonauts.


pages: 165 words: 50,798

Intertwingled: Information Changes Everything by Peter Morville

A Pattern Language, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, augmented reality, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, business process, Cass Sunstein, cognitive dissonance, collective bargaining, disruptive innovation, index card, information retrieval, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Jane Jacobs, John Markoff, Lean Startup, Lyft, minimum viable product, Mother of all demos, Nelson Mandela, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, RFID, Richard Thaler, ride hailing / ride sharing, Schrödinger's Cat, self-driving car, semantic web, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, source of truth, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, uber lyft, urban planning, urban sprawl, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

In 1934, Paul Otlet envisioned a scholar’s workstation that turned millions of 3 x 5 index cards into a web of knowledge by using a new kind of relationship known as the “Link.”lxiv In 1945, Vannevar Bush imagined the memex, a machine that enabled its users to share an associative “web of trails.”lxv In the early 60s, Ted Nelson coined “hypertext” and set out to build Xanadu, a non-sequential writing system with visible, clickable, unbreakable, bi-directional hyperlinks. lxvi Figure 3-1. Ted Nelson’s Xanalogical Structure. In 1968, Doug Englebart “real-ized” these dreams by showing hypertext (and most elements of modern computing) in “the mother of all demos.”lxvii Through the 70s and 80s, dozens of protocols and networks were made and merged, and in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee launched the World Wide Web as a public service on the Internet. The rest, as everyone knows, is history. It’s hard to argue with the success of the Internet since, and yet it’s worth reflecting upon what was lost in the translation from idea to implementation. Ted Nelson did just that in 2013 in a tearful eulogy for his old friend, Doug Englebart.

In HTML, authors create one-way links inside the file. This simple, modular approach helped the Web to spread like wildfire, yet it also ruled out core features of earlier visions. Ted Nelson imagined a vertically integrated system that managed everything from code and interface to copyright and micropayment. Xanadu’s transpointing windows would support bidirectional links, transclusion, and side-by-side comparison. It would elevate the work of scholars and advance Doug Englebart’s dream to augment human intellect, so we might understand and resolve the world’s seemingly insoluble problems. In the eulogy, Ted Nelson makes clear the heights of their ambition and their depth of disappointment. I used to have a high view of human potential. But no one ever had such a soaring view of human potential as Douglas Carl Engelbart – and he gave us wings to soar with him, though his mind flew on ahead, where few could see…And here we twiddle in a world of computer glitz, as the winds rise, and the seas rise, and the debts rise, and the terrorists rise, and the nukes tick.

Together, Lou Rosenfeld and I built a company and wrote a book that helped to establish the field of information architecture. Ever since, I’ve been blessed with opportunities to do what I love. But a few years ago, I began to sense a glitch. My ability to help my clients was limited by our narrow focus. This was partly my fault for defining myself as a specialist, but I eventually came to see that this problem of reductionism is endemic to our culture. In 2014, I wrote this book to show Ted Nelson’s insight that everything is deeply intertwingled is more vital than ever, and to argue we can get better at getting better by changing how we organize information, not only on websites, but in our minds. It was not an easy book to write, and if its reading makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps it has met my ambition. Organization of This Book This book should be read in linear style from start to end.


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

This, in turn, inspired actress Celeste Holm’s son Ted Nelson to write a book similar in spirit but about access to computers. Nelson’s Computer Lib proclaimed, well before the Altair was announced, “You can and must understand computers NOW!” Nelson was the Tom Paine and his book the Common Sense of this revolution. The other significant publication at the time that brought information about computers to the Bay Area general public was a tabloid called People’s Computer Company (PCC), another of Albrecht’s projects. Albrecht said that PCC was a company in the same sense that Janis Joplin’s band Big Brother and the Holding Company was a company. * * * Figure 29. Computer Lib and Dream Machines “You can and must understand computers NOW,” Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib proclaimed. To Homebrewers it was the manifesto of the revolution.

Ed Roberts needed to sell computers, but even more, he wanted the fun of designing and building them. At IMSAI, for the first time a company would enter the nascent industry driven by a laserlike focus on business success rather than a passion for technology. It would achieve that success, and would also run afoul of some of the errors that personal-computer companies still struggle with today. After Altair Everybody wanted to be second. –Ted Nelson, computer visionary, philosopher, and critic During the two and a half years between the January 1975 Popular Electronics cover story announcing the Altair 8800 and the May 1977 sale of MITS to Pertec, a new industry was on the rise. The Altair announcement triggered both technological and social change. The hobbyists who read the Popular Electronics article may not have envisioned the subsequent proliferation of microcomputers, but they did realize they were witness to the start of a radical change in the way people accessed computers.

It was too much of a handmade item, filled with scores of crisscrossing, hand-soldered wires. The Sphere was not engineered for production, nor was it particularly reliable. Plus, as one hobbyist of the time put it, it had “the world’s slowest BASIC.” The names given to the corporate start-ups reflected the informality and tongue-in-cheek humor of the hobbyist movement. Lee Felsenstein started a company called Loving Grace Cybernetics and later another called Golemics Incorporated. Ted Nelson’s Itty-Bitty Machine Company, a sly play on IBM, appeared in Evanston, Illinois. Chicken Delight Computer Consultants cropped up in New Jersey. Kentucky Fried Computers began in Northern California. A thin line existed between buyers and manufacturers in those early days. Operating a microcomputer took so much expertise and dedication that to say a skilled user could have become a manufacturer was no exaggeration.


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

In The New Media Reader, edited by Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort, 134–48. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 2003. ———. Geeks Bearing Gifts: V.1.1: How the Computer World Got This Way. Sausalito, Calif.: Mindful Press, 2008. ———. Literary Machines 93.1. Sausalito, Calif.: Mindful Press, 1993. ———. Possiplex: Movies, Intellect, Creative Control, My Computer Life and the Fight for Civilization: An Autobiography of Ted Nelson. Sausalito, Calif.: Mindful Press, 2010. 330 BIBLIOGRAPHY ———. “Ted Nelson Specs,” n.d. http://hyperland.com/mlawLeast.html. Neurath, Otto, and Marie Neurath. Empiricism and Sociology: With a Selection of Biographical and Autobiographical Sketches. Dordrecht: Reidel, 1973. Nikolow, Sybilla. “Gesellschaft Und Wirtschaft: An Encyclopedia in Otto Neurath’s Pictorial Statistics from 1930.” In European Modernism and the Information Society, edited by W.

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.

In the first stage of existence, human beings perceived reality with their senses alone; in the second, they interpreted their experience and gave it externalized expression; in the third, they introduced writing to register their sense perceptions; in the fourth, they created scientific instruments to record empirical data; in the fifth, documents and instruments began to merge into a single unified device—something like the “book-­ machine” he had written about earlier in the book; in the sixth and final stage, human consciousness itself would merge with these instruments to achieve what Otlet dubbed “hyper-intelligence.” In this enlightened state of symbiosis between humanity and machines, recorded media would merge with the direct recording of human perception—such as sound, taste, and even smell—blending into a state of “hyper-documentation”30 (a term he coined thirty years before Ted Nelson’s more famous neologism of “hypertext”). In a passage that would make the editors of Wired blush, he described the possibility of achieving “a pure spirit with access to complete and intuitive knowledge of all things at every moment.” Such a state of transcendent realization would not come easily. It would require diligent effort, continual investigation, and ongoing elaboration. In this, it reflected the human condition.


pages: 598 words: 183,531

Hackers: Heroes of the Computer Revolution - 25th Anniversary Edition by Steven Levy

air freight, Apple II, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, Byte Shop, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, Donald Knuth, El Camino Real, game design, Hacker Ethic, hacker house, Haight Ashbury, John Conway, John Markoff, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, non-fiction novel, Norman Mailer, Paul Graham, popular electronics, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, software patent, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator

After a typically disorganized PCC staff meeting—Bob, with ideas zipping into his head like Spacewar torpedoes, could not easily follow an agenda—long tables would be covered with cloths, and gradually the room would fill up with a virtual who’s who of alternative computing in Northern California. Of the distinguished visitors dropping in, none was so welcome as Ted Nelson. Nelson was the self-published author of Computer Lib, the epic of the computer revolution, the bible of the hacker dream. He was stubborn enough to publish it when no one else seemed to think it was a good idea. Ted Nelson had a self-diagnosed ailment of being years ahead of his time. Son of actress Celeste Holm and director Ralph Nelson (”Lilies of the Field“), product of private schools, student at fancy liberal arts colleges, Nelson was an admittedly irascible perfectionist, his main talent that of an “innovator.”

No publisher was interested, certainly not with his demands on the format—a layout similar to the Whole Earth Catalog or the PCC, but even looser, with oversized pages loaded with print so small you could hardly read it, along with scribbled notations, and manically amateurish drawings. The book was in two parts: one was called “Computer Lib,” the computer world according to Ted Nelson; and the other, “Dream Machines,” the computer future according to Ted Nelson. Shelling out two thousand dollars out of pocket—“a lot to me,” he would say later—he printed a few hundred copies of what was a virtual handbook to the Hacker Ethic. The opening pages shouted with urgency, as he bemoaned the generally bad image of computers (he blamed this on the lies that the powerful told about computers, lies he called "Cybercrud“) and proclaimed in capital letters that THE PUBLIC DOES NOT HAVE TO TAKE WHAT IS DISHED OUT.

Met Lee Felsenstein through a classified ad in the Berkeley Barb and became more than a friend—a member of the Community Memory collective. Marvin Minsky. Playful and brilliant MIT professor who headed AI lab and allowed the hackers to run free. Fred Moore. Vagabond pacifist who hated money, loved technology, and cofounded Homebrew Club. Stewart Nelson. Buck-toothed, diminutive, but fiery AI lab hacker who connected the PDP-1 computer to hack the phone system. Later cofounded Systems Concepts company. Ted Nelson. Self-described “innovator” and noted curmudgeon who self-published the influential Computer Lib book. Russell Noftsker. Harried administrator of MIT AI lab in late sixties; later president of Symbolics company. Adam Osborne. Bangkok-born publisher-turned-computer-manufacturer who considered himself a philosopher. Founded Osborne Computer Company to make “adequate” machines. PDP-1. Digital Equipment’s first minicomputer and in 1961 an interactive godsend to the MIT hackers and a slap in the face to IBM fascism.


pages: 224 words: 64,156

You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier

1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, different worldview, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog

Some of the better-known figures in this tradition include the late Joseph Weizenbaum, Ted Nelson, Terry Winograd, Alan Kay, Bill Buxton, Doug Englebart, Brian Cantwell Smith, Henry Fuchs, Ken Perlin, Ben Schneiderman (who invented the idea of clicking on a link), and Andy Van Dam, who is a master teacher and has influenced generations of protégés, including Randy Pausch. Another important humanistic computing figure is David Gelernter, who conceived of a huge portion of the technical underpinnings of what has come to be called cloud computing, as well as many of the potential practical applications of clouds. And yet, it should be pointed out that humanism in computer science doesn’t seem to correlate with any particular cultural style. For instance, Ted Nelson is a creature of the 1960s, the author of what might have been the first rock musical (Anything & Everything), something of a vagabond, and a counterculture figure if ever there was one.

Maybe it will even help make it easier for people to appreciate the old-fashioned physical world, as virtual reality gets better. If so, it will have turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Entrenched Software Philosophies Become Invisible Through Ubiquity An even deeper locked-in idea is the notion of the file. Once upon a time, not too long ago, plenty of computer scientists thought the idea of the file was not so great. The first design for something like the World Wide Web, Ted Nelson’s Xanadu, conceived of one giant, global file, for instance. The first iteration of the Macintosh, which never shipped, didn’t have files. Instead, the whole of a user’s productivity accumulated in one big structure, sort of like a singular personal web page. Steve Jobs took the Mac project over from the fellow who started it, the late Jef Raskin, and soon files appeared. UNIX had files; the Mac as it shipped had files; Windows had files.

Early on, one of the signal ideas about how a culture with a digital network could—and should—work was that the need for money might be eliminated, since such a network could keep track of fractional barters between very large groups of people. Whether that idea will ever come back into the discussion I don’t know, but for the foreseeable future we seem to be committed to using money for rent, food, and medicine. So is there any way to bring money and capitalism into an era of technological abundance without impoverishing almost everyone? One smart idea came from Ted Nelson. Nelson is perhaps the most formative figure in the development of online culture. He invented the digital media link and other core ideas of connected online media back in the 1960s. He called it “hypermedia.” Nelson’s ambitions for the economics of linking were more profound than those in vogue today. He proposed that instead of copying digital media, we should effectively keep only one copy of each cultural expression—as with a book or a song—and pay the author of that expression a small, affordable amount whenever it is accessed.


pages: 519 words: 142,646

Track Changes by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum

active measures, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Buckminster Fuller, commoditize, computer age, corporate governance, David Brooks, dematerialisation, Donald Knuth, Douglas Hofstadter, Dynabook, East Village, en.wikipedia.org, feminist movement, forensic accounting, future of work, Google Earth, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Haight Ashbury, HyperCard, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Joan Didion, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, low earth orbit, mail merge, Marshall McLuhan, Mother of all demos, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, pattern recognition, pink-collar, popular electronics, RAND corporation, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, self-driving car, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, social web, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, text mining, thinkpad, Turing complete, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K, Year of Magical Thinking

Yet I suspect it is also because word processing is widely perceived as belonging to the realm of application instead of innovation. To this way of thinking a word processor is merely an arbitrary instantiation or just one particular configuration of the universal machine that is a modern digital computer. The technorati have often shown surprising disdain for word processing on exactly these grounds. Ted Nelson, for example, visionary author of the book Literary Machines (1980) and founder of the Xanadu project, has frequently inveighed against programs like WordStar and Word that are based on the WYSIWYG model. For him, these represent the triumph of a fundamentally conservative vision. “A document,” he laments, “can only consist of what can be printed.”63 Jay David Bolter, a classicist who was an early advocate for computers as writing tools, rendered much the same verdict, concluding that word processing was “nostalgic” in its respect for the aesthetics of print.64 In this view, the promise and potential of newer, more experimental modes of electronic writing—including nonlinear hypertext, a term Nelson himself coined and has popularized throughout his career—is at odds with a technological paradigm whose highest achievement lies in mimicking the appearance of something that might have come from Gutenberg’s own press.65 Scholarly interest in the history of electronic literature has similarly gravitated overwhelmingly toward those authors who sought to reimagine our definitions of the literary through branching, multimodal, and interactive narratives or poetic compositions.

It would function as a guide to the technology for the uninitiated—one of the first books of its kind—and the custom-built machine that Herbert and Barnard were busily designing was to be its centerpiece. As is the way of such things, that computer was never actually finished. It was simply too ambitious for its time, and Herbert had abandoned it by the end of 1980 (by one account he had spent some $40,000 on it by then).54 But the book, at least, had gotten written. Entitled Without Me You’re Nothing (1980), it is one of the more intriguing artifacts of its era, more in line with Ted Nelson’s visionary Computer Lib / Dream Machines (1974) than the innumerable other home computer guidebooks soon to be on the market. The cryptic title was meant to be understood as words addressed to the computer itself: “Without our intervention they are useless junk,” Herbert and Barnard repeated over and over again, a variation on the standard programming axiom “garbage in, garbage out.”55 Nonetheless, they begin with a dire-sounding warning: “You are already being taken advantage of by people with computers,” they write.

For much of this it relied on software for entering and editing text with a keyboard and rendering that text on what was then a five-inch television screen (for the dramatic public demonstration the screen was projected on a twenty-foot display, itself a notable feat). Watching in the audience that day was Andy van Dam, a Brown University computer scientist who since 1967 had been independently working on his own screen editing systems, in partnership with fellow computer pioneer, Ted Nelson. Their collaboration was to prove fraught, with Nelson departing Brown the following year.8 Van Dam had always emphasized the importance of being able to deliver print-ready documents to a user and steered the design of the system in that direction, whereas Nelson regarded the dictates of the printed page as far too limiting and an abdication of the full potential of what he preferred to call hypertext.


pages: 361 words: 81,068

The Internet Is Not the Answer by Andrew Keen

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, augmented reality, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Bob Geldof, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, cloud computing, collective bargaining, Colonization of Mars, computer age, connected car, creative destruction, cuban missile crisis, David Brooks, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Filter Bubble, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Gehry, Frederick Winslow Taylor, frictionless, full employment, future of work, gig economy, global village, Google bus, Google Glasses, Hacker Ethic, happiness index / gross national happiness, income inequality, index card, informal economy, information trail, Innovator's Dilemma, Internet of things, Isaac Newton, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, Joi Ito, Joseph Schumpeter, Julian Assange, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Lean Startup, libertarian paternalism, lifelogging, Lyft, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Martin Wolf, Metcalfe’s law, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Nate Silver, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, nonsequential writing, Norbert Wiener, Norman Mailer, Occupy movement, packet switching, PageRank, Panopticon Jeremy Bentham, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer rental, Peter Thiel, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Potemkin village, precariat, pre–internet, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, smart cities, Snapchat, social web, South of Market, San Francisco, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Future of Employment, the medium is the message, the new new thing, Thomas L Friedman, Travis Kalanick, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber for X, uber lyft, urban planning, Vannevar Bush, Whole Earth Catalog, WikiLeaks, winner-take-all economy, working poor, Y Combinator

By the end of the 1980s, the Internet had connected 800 networks, 150,000 registered addresses, and several million computers. But this project to network the world wasn’t quite complete. There was one thing still missing—Vannevar Bush’s Memex. There were no trails yet on the Internet, no network of intelligent links, no process of tying two items together on the network. The World Wide Web In 1960, a “discombobulated genius” named Ted Nelson came up with the idea of “nonsequential writing,” which he coined “hypertext.”40 Riffing off Vannevar Bush’s notion of “information trails,” Nelson replaced Bush’s reliance on analog devices like levers and microfilm with his own faith in the power of digital technology to make these nonlinear connections. Like Bush, who believed that the trails on his Memex “do not fade,”41 the highly eccentric Nelson saw himself as a “rebel against forgetting.”42 His lifelong quest to create hypertext, which he code-named Xanadu, was indeed a kind of rebellion against forgetfulness.

Suppose I could program my computer to create a space in which anything could be linked to anything. All the bits of information in every computer at CERN, and on the planet, would be available to me and to anyone else. There would be a single global information space.44 In 1984, when Berners-Lee returned to CERN and discovered the Internet, he also returned to his larger vision of a single global information space. By this time, he’d discovered the work of Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson and become familiar with what he called “the advances” of technology giants like Donald Davies, Paul Baran, Bob Kahn, and Vint Cerf. “I happened to come along with time, and the right interest and inclination, after hypertext and the Internet had come of age,” Berners-Lee modestly acknowledged. “The task left to me was to marry them together.”45 The fruit of that marriage was the World Wide Web, the information management system so integral to the Internet that many people think that the Web actually is the Internet.

According to Stasiland author Anna Funder, Mielke’s organization might have turned as many as 15% of all East Germans into one kind of data thief or another.4 Known as “the Firm” to East Germans, Stasi was attempting to transform the whole of East Germany into a real-time set of Rear Window. The country was, as Big Data authors Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier note, “one of the most comprehensive surveillance states ever seen.”5 Like Ted Nelson’s Xanadu project to develop hypertext, Mielke’s East Germany eliminated the concept of deletion. “We had lived like behind glass,” explained the novelist Stefan Heym. Mielke organized his society around the same kind of brightly lit principles that the architect Frank Gehry is now using to build Facebook’s new open-plan office in Silicon Valley. Mark Zuckerberg—who once described Facebook as a “well-lit dorm room” in which “wherever you go online you see your friends”6—describes this multimillion-dollar Gehry creation as “the largest open office space in the world.”


pages: 394 words: 108,215

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

Science fiction writer William Gibson has said, “The future’s already arrived; it’s just not evenly distributed yet.”5 That observation is particularly true of a tiny microcosm that was as localized but has become as influential in the world as fifteenth-century Florence was when it gave the world the Renaissance half a millennium ago. This book grew out of a spirited dinner held several years ago on a Sausalito, California, houseboat. The evening was an informal reunion of a computer-industry pioneer—Douglas Engelbart—with a small group of people who had once worked for him: Bill and Roberta English and Bill and Ann Duvall. Also present was Ted Nelson, an itinerant writer, inventor, and social scientist who can best be described as the Don Quixote of computing. Nelson was a contemporary of Engelbart in the sixties, and the two men had pursued many of the same innovations. Engelbart, however, had been the first to demonstrate a vision that led directly to today’s computing world. He came early on to understand that computing had the potential to range far beyond crunching numbers.

Afterward, Alan Kay and another graduate student from Utah watched the crowd flow around several NLS terminals that had been set up to demonstrate the system after Engelbart’s presentation. He saw Brown University computer scientist Andy van Dam buttonhole Engelbart in a mob of people. At the time, van Dam cut a striking figure—he looked like a wild man, with his globe of Afro-style curly hair and a goatee. The confrontation between the two men was remarkable, because the previous year van Dam had begun developing a similar system at Brown in collaboration with Ted Nelson, the itinerant poet-sociologist who had a vision that in many ways paralleled Engelbart’s. Now van Dam was stunned to find that Engelbart’s group had completed what he and Nelson and a group of young students were just starting. Kay watched van Dam drill into Engelbart. Indeed, van Dam was as intense as Engelbart was mild mannered, and it looked to Kay as if van Dam had an almost desperate need to find out everything about the system, as if he didn’t believe it was possible, and he was angry to discover that it existed at all.

McCarthy recoiled at the hierarchical structure that NLS impressed upon its users. The system, he discovered, forced each document to be broken into chunks of no greater size than one thousand characters and to be in an outline structure. The process was so laborious that when he finished he decided that he had no interest in going through the process again, whatever the benefits. McCarthy came to view both Engelbart’s and Ted Nelson’s ideas on text editing and hypertext as too dictatorial. He decided structure was imposing an unnecessary restriction on his thought process. The structure imposed by NLS, which researchers like McCarthy detested, coupled with the training required to become an expert user and the limited network bandwidth that forced network users to use the more awkward remote version of NLS, ultimately became the system’s downfall.


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

(Engelbart I996) It seems difficult to dispute, therefore, that the Memex was not conceived as a medium, only as a personal "tool" for information retrieval. Personal ac- cess to information was emphasized over communication. The later research of Ted Nelson on hypertext is very representative of that emphasis. 4 It is problematic, however, to grant Bush the status of the "unique forefa- ther" of computerized hypertext systems. The situation is more complicated than that. 5 For the development of hypertext, the important distinction is not between personal access to information and communication, but between dif- ferent conceptions of what communication could mean, and there were in fact two different approaches to communication at the origin of current hypertext and hypermedia systems. The first is represented by Ted Nelson and his Xanadu Project, which was aiming at facilitating individual literary creativity. The second is represented by Douglas Engelbart and his NLS, as his oN-Line System was called, which was conceived as a way to support group collabo- 40 Language and the Body ration.

Taylor, who gave me the opportunity to teach and do research in the best conditions pos- sible and, therefore, to tackle such a crazy project as writing this book; and, last but not least, Douglas Engelbart, of the Bootstrap Institute, who agreed to answer my questions and cheerfully helped me in writing this book. This book would not have existed without the patience and understanding of the people who told me their stories: Don Andrews, Bob Belleville, Peter Deutsch, Bill English, Charles Irby, Alan Kay, Butler Lampson, Harvey Leht- man, Ted Nelson, George Pake, Jeff Rulifson, Dave Smith, Robert Taylor, Keith Uncapher, Jacques Vallee, "Smokey" Wallace, and Jim Warren. Thank you all, and I sincerely hope that you will occasionally find your voice in these pages. My deepest thank-yous go to my development editor, Bud Bynack, who made a book out of my manuscript, and to my editor, Nathan MacBrien, who always knew how to keep his cool when I did not keep mine.

The origin of the basic notions un- derlying hypertext offer one example. 38 Language and the Body Hypertext As the personal computer has evolved, the one important way of employing "the various types of network relationships among concepts" has been the de- velopment of hypertext, "a style of building systems for information represen- tation and management around a network of nodes connected together by typed links" (Halasz 1988, 836). Because of how he conceived of the way that natural language could function in the human-computer interface, Douglas Engelbart, along with Ted Nelson, often is credited for pioneering work in the field of hypertext or hypermedia. Many, however, trace the genealogy of hy- pertext not to Engelbart and his extension of the Sapir- Whorf Hypothesis, but to the work of Vannevar Bush. In a famous article called "As We May Think," Vannevar Bush, who had done some pioneer work in analog computing in the 1920'S and 1930'S while he was a professor at MIT, 2 proposed a new kind of electro-optical device, the Memex, "an enlarged intimate supplement of an individual's memory."


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

Festooned with hand-drawn dragons and off-kilter typesetting, the PCC had the rangy look and feel of an underground tabloid like the Berkeley Barb (where Felsenstein had become a staff writer). Instead of columns decrying Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia, the PCC had features on how to learn computer language, with titles like “BASIC! Or, U 2 can control a computer.”14 If Bob Albrecht was the revolution’s Ben Franklin, then Ted Nelson became known as its Tom Paine. A computing-entranced former graduate student in sociology with a prep-school accent and the manners to match, Nelson considered himself a specialist in ideas “too big to get through the door.” In the mid-1960s, he came up with a nonlinear system for organizing writing and reading he called “hypertext.” In 1974, he applied the concept in a self-published book titled Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers NOW!

P.C.C. is showing how computer software can be handled in this convivial fashion.” He expanded on the idea further in a technical paper published shortly thereafter. The mainframe computer was just like a bureaucratic organization: hierarchical, siloed, the domain of experts. The bus design is “a system of free interchange subject only to simple traffic rules.”11 The expansive optimism of “convivial cybernetics” that Lee Felsenstein outlined in 1974—just like Ted Nelson’s bold declarations of “computer lib” that same year—burned brightly among the community of programmers and social reformers, even as the grandest hopes of the counterculture ebbed. The good vibes of the Summer of Love and Woodstock had been subsumed by the violence of Altamont and the Manson Family and Kent State. Nonviolent campus sit-ins had given way to the bomb attacks of the Weather Underground.

Within three years of Homebrew’s start, nearly a dozen magazines about microcomputers were rolling off the presses nationwide.7 Also spreading the word: the event impresarios who blew the computer-club vibe up to trade-show size. SDS organizer turned MITS marketing director David Bunnell orchestrated the first of these, the World Altair Computer Convention in Albuquerque in early 1976. New Jersey technical writer Sol Libes launched the Trenton Computer Festival a couple of months later. (Ted Nelson gave a loopy keynote at Bunnell’s event, alarming the crowd as he expounded on the marvelous possibilities of microchip-powered sex toys.) By 1977, the New Jersey meeting had become an annual event, joined by Computermania in Boston and the Byte-sponsored Personal Computing Expo in New York City.8 In the Bay Area, there was Jim Warren, a math professor turned programming enthusiast and Homebrew member, who started the biggest party of them all: an annual West Coast Computer Faire that attracted 13,000 computer die-hards at its inaugural outing in spring 1977.


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

Before HyperCard, those interested in realizing the dreams of Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson had formed a community that, despite ardent efforts to educate people to their vision, remained on the fringe. These hypertext adherents had been regarded in the same way that linguists treat the fervent proponents of Esperanto-cultists who may have a point to make, but whose cause is doomed. The appearance of HyperCard, the product with hypertext as its heart, changed all that. It was as if the Esperanto people had suddenly been presented with an entirely new culture who spoke Esperanto as their first language! "If you look back just two years ago ... there were literally only two books available with any great mention of hypertext," said a speaker at the Hypertext '89 conference in Pittsburgh. (The books were Ted Nelson's.) "By 1989 there were a dozen books fundamentally about hypertext that I could gather from my office in under three seconds.

Sutherland had, since childhood, harbored a fascination for geometry and mechanical drawing (his father was a civil engineer). So, as he later explained, "it seemed like the most natural thing to make drawings with it." Natural for Sutherland, perhaps. But few had imagined that this rough beast of a calculating engine could be transmogrified into a sophisticated system to create shapes, pictures, and blueprints. And when you created your shapes you could copy them, alter them, or store them. In 1977, Ted Nelson (whom we will meet when our story turns to HyperCard) gushed about Sutherland's wonder-"The Most Important Computer Program Ever Written," he called it-in his book The Home Computer Revolution .. . . working on a screen you could try out things you couldn't tryout as a draftsman on paper. You were concerning yourself with an abstracted version of the drafting problem; you didn't have to sharpen any pencils, or prepare a sheet to draw on, or use a T-square or an eraser.

A series of links would result in an information pathway that hearkened back to the dreams of Vannevar Bush, whose influential gedanken experiment, memex, was characterized by the data "trails" that would be cleared by the scientists and researchers using it. As it turns out, Atkinson was not the only one at work on realizing Bush's vision. The memex vision, of course, had originally ignited Douglas Engelbart, who in turn triggered the series of innovations that would lead to Macintosh. But the most vocal proponent of Bush's ideas was Ted Nelson. For years Nelson had been a peripatic if somewhat cranky figure in the clubby personal computer underground; he was known mainly for the iconoclastic populism in his self-published 1974 book Computer Lib/Dream Machines, in which he made a strident and at times hilarious case for truly personal computers. Nelson had long been an advocate of an electronic publishing industry. "We ought to be able to read and write on computer screens, with vast libraries easily, instantly and clearly available to us," he declared in an underappreciated book called Literary Machines, long before it was fashionable to express such things.


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

Or a neuroscientist who can read what images a person is seeing directly from scanning their brain, and further hopes to someday be able to incite ideas and memories into people’s brains. Yet I can hardly think of a hard-core Silicon Valley figure who has decided not to have children because of a belief that we will successfully engineer a posthuman future. On some deep level most of us must be in on our own joke. PART SEVEN Ted Nelson CHAPTER 18 First Thought, Best Thought First Thought Ted Nelson was the first person to my knowledge to describe, starting in 1960, how you could actually implement new kinds of media in digital form, share them, and collaborate.* Ted was working so early that he couldn’t invoke basic notions like digital images, because computer graphics hadn’t been described yet. (Ivan Sutherland would see to that shortly after.) *In an even earlier article, in 1945, titled “As We May Think,” Vannevar Bush hypothesized an advanced microfilm reader, the Memex, which would essentially allow a reader to experience mash-up sequences of microfilm content.

Complaint Is Not Enough Governments Are Learning the Tricks of Siren Servers Alienating the Global Village Electoral Siren Servers Maybe the Way We Complain Is Part of the Problem 17. Clout Must Underlie Rights, if Rights Are to Persist Melodramas Are Tenacious Emphasizing the Middle Class Is in the Interests of Everyone A Better Peak Waiting to Be Discovered SIXTH INTERLUDE: THE POCKET PROTECTOR IN THE SAFFRON ROBE The Most Ancient Marketing Monks and Nerds (or, Chip Monks) It’s All About I “Abundance” Evolves Childhood and Apocalypse PART SEVEN Ted Nelson 18. First Thought, Best Thought First Thought Best Thought The Right to Mash-up Is Not the Same as the Right to Copy Two-Way Links Why Isn’t Ted Better Known? PART EIGHT The Dirty Pictures (or, Nuts and Bolts: What a Humanistic Alternative Might Be Like) 19. The Project You Can’t Tweet This A Less Ambitious Approach to Be Discouraged A Sustainable Information Economy A Better Beach 20.

This is because we can imagine software, improperly, I’ll argue, operating without the need for human operators, and even in an era of Abundance depopulated of people. Abundance kills the hand, but not Turing’s ghosts. • Nelson: Information technology of a particular design could help people remain people without resorting to extreme politics when any of the other, creepily eschatological humors seem to be imminent. Ted Nelson, in 1960, came up with a brand-new, still-emerging humor, which suggests information as a way to avoid excesses of politics even as we approach an inevitably imperfect Abundance. It essentially proposes a consilience between the Invisible Hand and Abundance. This is the humor I am hoping to further with this book. Each humor captures a distinct hypothesis about how politics, what it means to be human, and technology are related.


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

Personal computers as we think of them were not a part of his original vision, and in fact he resisted the personal computer revolution at first, working most of his life at big institutions like Xerox and Stanford. To get to the personal computer and the makings of the End of Big, we need to shift to a different strain of thought that was popping up at the same time in the nerd world, which received its most memorable expression in a book by another quixotic computer scientist, Ted Nelson. Computer Lib You’ve heard of “women’s lib” coming out of the Vietnam era? Well, turns out there was “computer lib,” too. Ted Nelson’s pivotal 1974 book Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now confronted nerds everywhere with a rousing call to action, demanding that they claim computing for individuals so as to free them from the oppression of, you guessed it, large institutions. Computer Lib had a radical style similar to Stewart Brand’s countercultural publication The Whole Earth Catalog, yet Computer Lib devoted itself to computers, offering both a primer on the basics of programming and a breathtaking vision of computing’s future.

In a portion of the book called “Down with Cybercrud,” Nelson disparaged the half-truths and lies that nerds told non-nerds to keep them from understanding computers’ power. He came out aggressively against the institutional nature of computers, hoping to bring them out of the big universities and military and into the homes of the masses, where they could serve what he saw as a truly liberating purpose. Home-Brewed for the People Inspired by Ted Nelson and others, a generation of nerds emerged from the late 1960s and 70s determined to disrupt the march of the institutional computer and bring the personal computer “to every desk in America,” as Bill Gates famously put it. Brand described this generation as embodying a “hacker ethic”: “Most of our generation scorned computers as the embodiment of centralized control. But a tiny contingent—later called ‘hackers’—embraced computers and set about transforming them into tools of liberation.”12 This contingent went to work in their parents’ garages and in their dorm rooms and eventually brought behemoths like Apple and Microsoft into existence.

. … Its inner workings are obscure, it publishes no account of its income or expenses, it has no obligation to respond to criticism, and all authority rests in the hands of a single man.36 I don’t mean to single out Newmark. I’ve met him, even spent some time with him, and he is an honest, genuine man working hard to do good. Yet I’m concerned with the ideological, anti-institutional thread running through connective technology, from Ted Nelson’s “Computer Lib” in the ’70s, to Steve Jobs’s literal and metaphorical 1984, to John Perry Barlow’s declaration of independence in the ’90s, up to Craigslist today. What if government adopted Craigslist’s core philosophies? True to the Craigslist ethos, customer service would be paramount. Newmark famously talks about himself as nothing more than a customer service representative. But this hands-off ethos got Craigslist into trouble as it became the primary online marketplace for prostitution and paid sex—a part of the explosion of the trafficking of women and children across borders that has skyrocketed over the last decade.37 It’s one of the downsides of the hands-off ideology that Craigslist adheres to.


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

So it was like a living proof that what I wrote about was really there—no matter what happened to the book. It was the most amazing book party. Captain Crunch: Wozniak was there. Stewart Brand was there; Ted Nelson was there. A lot of the BASIC people from Homebrew were there. A lot of the founding fathers were there, definitely: a lot of the old-school hackers. John Markoff: I was there, hanging out. Fabrice Florin: You really had all the players all in one place. It was a big deal. Michael Naimark: I remember thinking to myself that this was a moment, a really significant event. Lee Felsenstein: It really was a gathering of the illuminati. The important thing was that all the illuminati had never before gotten in a room at the same time. Ted Nelson: It was the Woodstock of the computer elite! Steven Levy: It was like a secret culture until then. So now you would say, “Boy, what would the ideal computer conference be?

And I have to say, Doug was pretty spectacular at managing all of that, and being such a master of the medium itself, and having become the master of the completely kluged-together communication system he was operating with, he was totally unflappable up there on the stage. When Bill would whisper in his ear, “Stall for a couple of minutes, we can’t get the…” whatever it was that wasn’t working, Doug would just pause and discourse on something else until he got word that “Okay, we’re good to go.” And, we lucked out. It all worked enough to take the day. Andy van Dam: At the time, I had been working with Ted Nelson on our first hypertext system with a team of three part-time undergraduates. We were working in the hammer-and-chisel phase of this industrial revolution, coding in assembly language, and we were pretty good at it. But, here these guys had invented machine tools. They had built tools to build tools: This whole recursive “bootstrap” idea, starting with the system itself, and working all the way up through augmenting the human intellect, was just mind-boggling.

Steven Levy: They had a series of meetings with an advisory committee on who to invite. I was on the East Coast, so I didn’t go to a lot of them, but I went to some. Andy Hertzfeld was on the committee, I remember. Andy Hertzfeld: So I got a phone call from Stewart Brand, and once a week for seven weeks we drove up to Sausalito. There were like seven hackers he got to design the Hackers Conference. Stewart Brand: We got a pretty good influx of folks. There was Ted Nelson, obviously. Lee Felsenstein, the sort-of master of ceremonies for the Homebrew meetings, which I had never gone to. But his reputation was good. Lee Felsenstein: By that time, Homebrew had ossified. It wasn’t new people coming anymore. There was the same old faces. I called it “the old farts society.” We had the meetings for the Hackers Conference at the tugboat that Stewart Brand lived on in Sausalito.


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

I wasn’t approaching it from either a theoretical point of view or an engineering point of view, but from sort of a fun-ness point of view.”59 According to Levy, this point of view characterized the work of two subsequent generations of innovators. The first comprised the “hardware hackers” of the 1970s. Clustered in and around the San Francisco Bay area, they included the young founders of Apple Computer, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, as well as early proselytizers for personal computing such as Lee Felsenstein, Bob Albrecht, and Ted Nelson, a programmer who had authored a volume loosely based on the Whole Earth Catalog entitled Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now. For this generation, Levy suggested, computing was a form of political rebellion. Computers may have always been large and centralized, they may have always been guarded by institutionalized experts, and they may have been used to organize the war in Vietnam, but this generation would put them to new uses

In particular, he suggested, they wanted to “witness or have the group articulate what the hacker ethic was.”63 Brand and Kelly aimed to explore via the conference whether hackers might constitute the sort of cultural vanguard for the 1980s that the back-to-the-land and ecology crowds had hoped to be for the decade before. Something like 150 hackers actually arrived. Among others, they included luminaries such as Steve Wozniak of Apple, Ted Nelson, free software pioneer Richard Stallman, and Ted Draper—known as Captain Crunch for his discovery that a toy whistle he found in a box of the cereal gave just the right tone to grant him free access to the phone system. Some of the hackers worked alone, part-time, at home; others represented such diverse institutions as MIT, Stanford, Lotus Development, and various software makers. Most had come to meet others like themselves.

This work had the effect of rehabilitating hackers in the public eye, but it also explicitly and securely linked Whole Earth people and the Whole Earth ethos to the world of computing. Virtually all of the journalistic reports that came from the Conference echoed John Markoff ’s comments in Byte magazine: “Anyone attending would instantly have realized that the stereotype of computer hackers as isolated individuals is nowhere near accurate.”67 Some of [ 138 ] Chapter 4 those same reports picked up on another theme as well, however. Several either quoted or paraphrased Ted Nelson’s exclamation “This is the Woodstock of the computer elite!”68 One listed Stewart Brand among the “luminaries of the personal computer ‘revolution.’” Another described Brand as a “long-time supporter of hackers.”69 Quietly, almost without noticing it, the invited reporters had begun to intertwine the countercultural play of Woodstock, and countercultural players such as Brand, with an industry and a work style that had emerged within and at the edges of such culturally central institutions as MIT, Stanford, and Hewlett-Packard.


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

Bob Albrecht sang BASIC ’s praises from Minnesota to California and across Amer­i­ca through SHAFT, the NCTM, and cool publications including My Computer Likes Me When I Speak BASIC and the ­People’s Computer Com­pany. In a move that Apple would emulate a de­cade ­later, DEC supported its minicomputer market by putting BASIC on its machines and by publishing educational materials, including the clever Huntington Proj­ect simulations, that showcased BASIC. In his popu­lar manifesto Computer Lib: You Can and Must Understand Computers Now, Ted Nelson urged p ­ eople about BASIC , “If you have the chance to learn it, by all means do.” He recognized that BASIC had been “contrived specifically to make programming quicker and easier,” yet it was “a very serious language” for “­people who want ­simple systems to do understandable t­ hings in direct ways that are meaningful to them, and that d ­ on’t disrupt their companies or their lives.”137 From its ­humble origins in small-­town Hanover, New Hampshire, BASIC became the language of millions of p ­ eople computing. 4 The Promise of Computing Utilities and the Proliferation of Networks This chapter represents a departure from the rest in this book.

What went quietly unobserved, however, was that GE retained its successful multimillion-­dollar-­per-­year time-­sharing business when it sold its computer department.67 Since then, that GE even had a thriving computing utility business has largely been forgotten, despite the fact that it continued to be profitable into the 1990s.68 One notable exception: in his widely popu­lar 1974 work on computing for the p ­ eople, Computer Lib / Dream Machines, Ted Nelson tipped his hat to GE , acknowledging its provision of interactive computing centers across the United States and Eu­rope.69 What had begun a de­cade earlier as an experiment in a small liberal arts college had grown into a multimillion dollar business for GE. Tymshare also persisted in offering its computing utility ser­ v ices throughout the 1970s; by 1977 Tymshare’s network TYMNET featured over two thousand nodes that served one thousand simultaneous users.70 In fact, revenues from the time-­sharing industry steadily increased e­ very year u ­ ntil 1983, when ­t hese networked computing ser­v ices ­were challenged by a growing personal computer market.71 The Promises and Perils of a National Computing Network During Dartmouth College’s dedication of its new Kiewit Computation Center in December 1966, Kemeny spoke confidently about the ­future benefits of a national computing network, and the New York Times reported it—in starkly gendered terms.

They named the computer Apple, and soon began working on a new version, the Apple II. Although Apple declared its philosophy 238 A ­People’s History of Computing in the United States was “to provide software for our machines ­f ree or at minimal cost,” Apple sought (aggressively) to sell its hardware.30 ­W hether they w ­ ere called home computers, hobby computers, microcomputers, or personal computers, they ­were consumer products, purveyed by Steve Jobs. Ted Nelson recognized this in his keynote address during the first West Coast Computer Faire. Although Nelson was excited about the “magic” of small computers, he also recognized the dollar signs driving the fair’s frenetic energy. He blazed, “The ­little computers are ­here, you can buy them on your plastic charge card, and the available accessories include disc storage, graphical displays, interactive games . . . ​and goodness knows what ­else. . . . ​


pages: 720 words: 197,129

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

Paul Baran at RAND devises packet switching. 1961 President Kennedy proposes sending man to the moon. 1962 MIT hackers create Spacewar game. Licklider becomes founding director of ARPA’s Information Processing Techniques Office. Doug Engelbart publishes “Augmenting Human Intellect.” 1963 Licklider proposes an “Intergalactic Computer Network.” Engelbart and Bill English invent the mouse. 1972 1964 Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters take bus trip across America. 1965 Ted Nelson publishes first article about “hypertext.” Moore’s Law predicts microchips will double in power each year or so. 1966 Stewart Brand hosts Trips Festival with Ken Kesey. Bob Taylor convinces ARPA chief Charles Herzfeld to fund ARPANET. Donald Davies coins the term packet switching. 1967 ARPANET design discussions in Ann Arbor and Gatlinburg. 1968 Larry Roberts sends out request for bids to build the ARPANET’s IMPs.

“I wanted to build a creative space,” he later said, “something like a sandpit where everyone could play together.”19 He hit upon a simple maneuver that would allow him to make the connections he wanted: hypertext. Now familiar to any Web surfer, hypertext is a word or phrase that is coded so that when clicked it sends the reader to another document or piece of content. Envisioned by Bush in his description of a memex machine, it was named in 1963 by the tech visionary Ted Nelson, who dreamed up a brilliantly ambitious project called Xanadu, never brought to fruition, in which all pieces of information would be published with two-way hypertext links to and from related information. Hypertext was a way to allow the connections that were at the core of Berners-Lee’s Enquire program to proliferate like rabbits; anyone could link to documents on other computers, even those with different operating systems, without asking permission.

“Without a hypertext editor, people would not have the tools to really use the Web as an intimate collaborative medium. Browsers would let them find and share information, but they could not work together intuitively.”46 To some extent, he was right. Despite the astonishing success of the Web, the world would have been a more interesting place if the Web had been bred as a more collaborative medium. Berners-Lee also paid a visit to Ted Nelson, who lived on a houseboat in Sausalito in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge. Twenty-five years earlier, Nelson had pioneered the concept of a hypertext network with his proposed Xanadu project. It was a pleasant meeting, but Nelson was annoyed that the Web lacked key elements of Xanadu.47 He believed that a hypertext network should have two-way links, which would require the approval of both the person creating the link and the person whose page was being linked to.


pages: 371 words: 108,317

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, AI winter, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, augmented reality, bank run, barriers to entry, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, bitcoin, blockchain, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, cloud computing, commoditize, computer age, connected car, crowdsourcing, dark matter, dematerialisation, Downton Abbey, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Filter Bubble, Freestyle chess, game design, Google Glasses, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, index card, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, Internet Archive, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, job automation, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, lifelogging, linked data, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, megacity, Minecraft, Mitch Kapor, multi-sided market, natural language processing, Netflix Prize, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, old-boy network, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, personalized medicine, placebo effect, planetary scale, postindustrial economy, recommendation engine, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Rodney Brooks, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, social web, software is eating the world, speech recognition, Stephen Hawking, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, transport as a service, two-sided market, Uber for X, uber lyft, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Review, zero-sum game

They felt the web was hardly out of diapers, and already they were being asked to blight it with billboards and commercials. But prohibiting the flow of money within this emerging parallel civilization was crazy. Money in cyberspace was inevitable. That was a small misperception compared with the bigger story we all missed. Computing pioneer Vannevar Bush outlined the web’s core idea—hyperlinked pages—way back in 1945, but the first person to try to build out the concept was a freethinker named Ted Nelson, who envisioned his own scheme in 1965. However, Nelson had little success connecting digital bits on a useful scale, and his efforts were known only to an isolated group of disciples. At the suggestion of a computer-savvy friend, I got in touch with Nelson in 1984, a decade before the first websites. We met in a dark dockside bar in Sausalito, California. He was renting a houseboat nearby and had the air of someone with time on his hands.

At that time, anyone silly enough to trumpet the above list as a vision of the near future would have been confronted by the evidence: There wasn’t enough money in all the investment firms in the entire world to fund such bounty. The success of the web at this scale was impossible. But if we have learned anything in the past three decades, it is that the impossible is more plausible than it appears. Nowhere in Ted Nelson’s convoluted sketches of hypertext transclusion did the fantasy of a virtual flea market appear. Nelson hoped to franchise his Xanadu hypertext systems in the physical world at the scale of mom-and-pop cafés—you would go to a Xanadu store to do your hypertexting. Instead, the web erupted into open global flea markets like eBay, Craigslist, or Alibaba that handle several billion transactions every year and operate right into your bedroom.

But like many inefficient processes (such as evolution), it also contains genius. Lifelogging is possible now only because computation and storage and sensors have become so cheap that we can waste them with little cost. But creative “wasting” of computation has been the recipe for many of the most successful digital products and companies, and the benefits of lifelogging also lie in its extravagant use of computation. Among the very first to lifelog was Ted Nelson in the mid-1980s (although he didn’t call it that). Nelson, who invented hypertext, recorded every conversation he had with anyone on audio or videotape, no matter where or of what importance. He met and spoke to thousands of people, so he had a large rental storage container full of tapes. The second person was Steve Mann in the 1990s. Mann, then at MIT (now at the University of Toronto), outfitted himself with a head-mounted camera and recorded his daily life on videotape.


pages: 239 words: 56,531

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

These are the stories that have sustained the bulk of people’s interests in the history of computing. This is the history of computing as plutography, stories about money. There is another small but growing strain that locates the transformations of our world in the work of computing’s visionaries. As far back as Howard Rheingold’s Tools for Thought written in the mid-1980s, there has been an alternative narrative featuring people like the irrepressible hypertext impresario Ted Nelson and even drug guru turned cyberpundit Timothy Leary—an intellectual’s history of computing.2 For the scholars studying hypertext poetry, the students in new media departments, and those with a cultural interest in computing, these are stories of secular saints, a hagiography of sorts. To get to a workable understanding of the history of the culture machine, we need to braid these three strands, looking at programmers, millionaires, and dreamers.

That is not to say that historians, hardcore hackers, and the occasional technologist or techoartist have not drawn inspiration from their example, but in terms of general recognition, they do not rate nearly as high in the pantheon of cultural heroes as they should. The reason for this is painfully simple: they did not capitalize on their genius. Engelbart invented the mouse, and SRI sold the license for it for forty thousand dollars. Kay was part of the team that created the Alto, the first marketable personal computer, but Xerox could never quite figure out how to sell it.19 Others, like Ted Nelson, the most explicitly Aquarian of them all, have been taken as cautionary tales by those who followed. 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?


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

The first half was an interview with Gregory Bateson2 about how cybernetics would change society and the way we know the world. The other half was devoted to Spacewar!, the first networked videogame, and the fanatical devotion the game inspired. Another example was cloaked as a grainy retort to the craft of printing, just like New York conceptual art ’zines. This was Computer Lib/Dream Machines, by Ted Nelson. Unreadable in sections, thanks to an infinitesimal font, it was a glimpse of a promised land through distant fog, enchanting. It had two front covers. One cover was for a book about how computers would inspire utopian politics, the specifics of which were either not articulated or not legible. Flip it over and twirl it upright, and there was found a montage of tales and images suggesting a digital psychedelic destiny.

That’s not the way we talked at the time. Terms like “viral” and “disruptive” still sounded negative and destructive. We hadn’t yet hypnotized ourselves into Möbius-Orwellian tech talk. Now we describe what we are doing accurately, but we pretend we’re being ironic, so that we can feel better about ourselves. Shall we call it “Notwellian?” I remember looking at the first Web pages with people at Xerox PARC, and with Ted Nelson. “Unbelievable that someone would launch a design with only one-way links.” That was the universal appraisal; it was cheating. But there was undeniable action there on the nascent Web, more than anywhere else. We techies collectively acquiesced; we succumbed to the decision to make online networks artificially mysterious by leaving out the reverse links. Maybe we feared that a knowable ’Net would not be commensurate with our capacity for wonder, as it was put long ago, so instead we chose a murky, unknowable ’Net.

Even if there’s a massive revival of phenotropic research, there will turn out to be problems I never foresaw. Nothing is ever perfect. But this is the mind-set of computer science. You keep chasing. Ivan Sutherland has been pursuing “asynchronous” computer architectures for years now. These are hardware systems without a master clock, but the implication is deeper; that computation can be fundamentally less localized and hierarchical. It’s been a long haul for him. Similarly, Ted Nelson is still working with a shifting group of students and followers to implement Xanadu, the original design for a digital network, which he started on in 1960. I’m convinced it would be better than the World Wide Web, but no one can know until there’s a fuller implementation. The idealist projects of computer scientists aren’t the ones that end up running the world, but they have indirect influence.


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

Predicting the future is risky sport, but most people, when presented with the question, seemed eager to bite. "One hundred years from now, Richard and a couple of other people are going to deserve more than a footnote," says Moglen. "They're going to be viewed as the main line of the story." The "couple other people" Moglen nominates for future textbook chapters include John Gilmore, Stallman's GPL advisor and future founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Theodor Holm Nelson, a.k.a. Ted Nelson, author of the 1982 book, Literary Machines . Moglen says Stallman, Nelson, and Gilmore each stand out in historically significant, nonoverlapping ways. He credits Nelson, commonly considered to have coined the term "hypertext," for identifying the predicament of information ownership in the digital age. Gilmore and Stallman, meanwhile, earn notable credit for identifying the negative political effects of information control and building organizations-the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the case of Gilmore and the Free Software Foundation in the case of Stallman-to counteract those effects.

As an author, I was willing to let other people amend my work just so long as my name always got top billing. Besides, it might even be interesting to watch the book evolve. I pictured later editions looking much like online versions of the Talmud, my original text in a central column surrounded by illuminating, third-party commentary in the margins. My idea drew inspiration from Project Xanadu (http://www.xanadu.com/), the legendary software concept originally conceived by Ted Nelson in 1960. During the O'Reilly Open Source Conference in 1999, I had seen the first demonstration of the project's open source offshoot Udanax and had been wowed by the result. In one demonstration sequence, Udanax displayed a parent document and a derivative work in a similar two-column, plain-text format. With a click of the button, the program introduced lines linking each sentence in the parent to its conceptual offshoot in the derivative.


pages: 457 words: 128,838

The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money Are Challenging the Global Economic Order by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

Airbnb, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, bitcoin, blockchain, Bretton Woods, buy and hold, California gold rush, capital controls, carbon footprint, clean water, collaborative economy, collapse of Lehman Brothers, Columbine, Credit Default Swap, cryptocurrency, David Graeber, disintermediation, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, financial innovation, Firefox, Flash crash, Fractional reserve banking, hacker house, Hernando de Soto, high net worth, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, inventory management, Joi Ito, Julian Assange, Kickstarter, Kuwabatake Sanjuro: assassination market, litecoin, Long Term Capital Management, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, McMansion, means of production, Menlo Park, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, new economy, new new economy, Nixon shock, offshore financial centre, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer lending, pets.com, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, profit motive, QR code, RAND corporation, regulatory arbitrage, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, seigniorage, shareholder value, sharing economy, short selling, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart contracts, special drawing rights, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, The Great Moderation, the market place, the payments system, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, transaction costs, tulip mania, Turing complete, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, underbanked, WikiLeaks, Y Combinator, Y2K, zero-sum game, Zimmermann PGP

,” Wall Street Journal, MoneyBeat blog, April 16, 2014, http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/04/16/bitcoin-creator-satoshi-nakamoto-unmasked-again/. Writing for The New Yorker: Joshua Davis, “The Crypto-Currency: Bitcoin and Its Mysterious Inventor,” New Yorker, October 10, 2011. New York University journalism professor Adam Penenberg: Adam L. Penenberg, “The Bitcoin Crypto-currency Mystery Reopened,” Fast Company, October 11, 2011, http://www.fastcompany.com/1785445/bitcoin-crypto-currency-mystery-reopened. Next came Ted Nelson: Ted Nelson, “I Think I Know Who Satoshi Is,” YouTube, May 17, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emDJTGTrEm0. Then, on March 6, 2014, the weekly magazine Newsweek: Leah McGrath Goodman, “The Face Behind Bitcoin,” Newsweek, March 6, 2014. “It piqued my interest,” says Andresen: Gavin Andresen, interviewed by Michael J. Casey, February 11, 2014. Andresen started a project he called Bitcoin Faucet: Ibid.

In an article for Fast Company he pointed to three names who’d jointly filed cryptocurrency-relevant encryption patents around the time of bitcoin’s release: Neal King and Charles Bry, who both resided in Germany, and Vladimir Oksman, living in the United States. He got explicit denials from them, including one from King in which he criticized bitcoin for having “no intrinsic value.” Penenberg was undeterred by this and speculated that King’s statement could have been a red herring, but Penenberg’s evidence was circumstantial and inconclusive, and he conceded that. Next came Ted Nelson, an information theorist famous for coining the term hypertext in the 1960s. In a rambling, videoed monologue in which he adopted faux-British accents to mimic Sherlock Holmes, Nelson declared that the bitcoin inventor was Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki and dared him to deny it. Not only did Mochizuki have the kind of mind capable of devising such a scheme, Nelson said, he also had the suspicious habit of quietly leaving his mathematical discoveries on the Internet for people to find.


pages: 369 words: 80,355

Too Big to Know: Rethinking Knowledge Now That the Facts Aren't the Facts, Experts Are Everywhere, and the Smartest Person in the Room Is the Room by David Weinberger

airport security, Alfred Russel Wallace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, book scanning, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, corporate social responsibility, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, Debian, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Exxon Valdez, Fall of the Berlin Wall, future of journalism, Galaxy Zoo, Hacker Ethic, Haight Ashbury, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the telegraph, jimmy wales, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, Kevin Kelly, linked data, Netflix Prize, New Journalism, Nicholas Carr, Norbert Wiener, openstreetmap, P = NP, Pluto: dwarf planet, profit motive, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Republic of Letters, RFID, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, semantic web, slashdot, social graph, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, technological singularity, Ted Nelson, the scientific method, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Whole Earth Catalog, X Prize

The problem with knowing the role of social media in the recent Mideast revolutions is that the events themselves are the result of a complex cluster of details that defies predictability and complete understanding. The same is true for human events overall, which is why we’re still arguing about whether the Civil War was fought over the issue of slavery.32 The world is too intertwingly, to use a word coined by network visionary Ted Nelson—too complexly interdependent and entangled to be fully comprehensible.33 The messy web of links that transparency gives rise to reflects that intertwingularity. It should lead us to wonder if one of the problems with objectivity and long-form argument is that they aren’t a good match to the structure of the world. Perhaps intertwingly networks reflect the world more accurately than does an “objective” news report or a walk along a long form’s narrow path.

I posted a reply: http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/2011/02/04/gladwell-proves-too-much/. 31 Louis Menand, “Books as Bombs,” New Yorker, January 24, 2011, http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2011/01/24/110124crbo_books_menand. 32 For example, South Carolina’s celebration of the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War set off a new round in the controversy. See Wayne Washington, “150 Years Later, S. Carolina Celebration Sparks New Civil War,” McClatchy.com, December 19, 2010, http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/12/19/105532/150-years-later-s-carolina-celebration.html. 33 Ted Nelson coined the term “intertwingularity” in Computer Lib: Dream Machines (1974). Frank Hecker read my use of the word in Everything Is Miscellaneous and tracked down the exact source of Nelson’s phrase “Everything is deeply intertwingled,” which is harder than it seems because of the nonstandard ways in which Nelson published his work. See details at http://www.everythingismiscellaneous.com/2007/06/09/untwingling-nelsons-intertwingularity-quote/. 34 See WolframAlpha’s Frequently Asked Questions at http://www.wolframalpha.com/faqs.html.


pages: 528 words: 146,459

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

The only “catalog” to ever win a National Book Award, the publication was inspirational to many personal-computer pioneers including Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs, who later reminisced: “The Whole Earth Catalog . . . was one the bibles of my generation. . . . It was a sort of Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.” While Brand and The Whole Earth Catalog offered inspiration, the most articulate spokesperson for the computer-liberation idea was Ted Nelson, the financially independent son of Hollywood actress Celeste Holm. Among Nelson’s radical visions of computing was an idea called hypertext, which he first described in the mid-1960s. Hypertext was a system by which an untrained person could navigate through a universe of information held on computers. Before such an idea could become a reality, however, it was necessary to “liberate” computing: to make it accessible to ordinary people at a trivial cost.

Besides acting as a swap shop for computer components and programming tips, it provided a forum for the computer-hobbyist and computer-liberation cultures to meld. During the first quarter of 1975, MITS received over $1 million in orders for the Altair 8800 and launched its first “worldwide” conference. Speakers at the conference included Ed Roberts, Gates and Allen as the developers of Altair BASIC, and the computer-liberation guru Ted Nelson. At the meeting Gates launched a personal diatribe against hobbyists who pirated software. This was a dramatic position: he was advocating a shift in culture from the friendly sharing of free software among hobbyists to that of an embryonic branch of the software-products industry. Gates encountered immense hostility—his speech was, after all, the very antithesis of computer liberation. But his position was eventually accepted by producers and consumers, and over the next two years it was instrumental in transforming the personal computer from a utopian ideal into an economic artifact.

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. . . .


pages: 348 words: 97,277

The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything by Paul Vigna, Michael J. Casey

3D printing, additive manufacturing, Airbnb, altcoin, Amazon Web Services, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, bitcoin, blockchain, blood diamonds, Blythe Masters, business process, buy and hold, carbon footprint, cashless society, cloud computing, computer age, computerized trading, conceptual framework, Credit Default Swap, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, cyber-physical system, dematerialisation, disintermediation, distributed ledger, Donald Trump, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, failed state, fault tolerance, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, informal economy, intangible asset, Internet of things, Joi Ito, Kickstarter, linked data, litecoin, longitudinal study, Lyft, M-Pesa, Marc Andreessen, market clearing, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Network effects, off grid, pets.com, prediction markets, pre–internet, price mechanism, profit maximization, profit motive, ransomware, rent-seeking, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, smart contracts, smart meter, Snapchat, social web, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, Ted Nelson, the market place, too big to fail, trade route, transaction costs, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Uber and Lyft, uber lyft, unbanked and underbanked, underbanked, universal basic income, web of trust, zero-sum game

The Internet’s Missing Piece This was not the dream conveyed in the Cypherpunk manifesto of Tim May and his fellow band of libertarian advocates for cryptography, privacy, and an online world of individual empowerment. Those geeky rebels of the 1990s Bay Area wanted an Internet that was free of both government and corporatist control, a decentralized online economy where self-expression was devoid of censorship, where anyone could transact with anyone else under whatever identity they chose. Ideas like Ted Nelson’s ill-fated Xanadu project, which never achieved anywhere near its lofty vision of a global network of independent, self-publishing, interlinked, fully autonomous computers, envisaged a network in which far more processing power and data was placed under the control of individual owners’ computers. They were ideas that were far ahead of their time, conceived at a moment when resource, economics, and political realities simply weren’t compatible with them.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman: Thomas Friedman, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005) In The Age of Cryptocurrency, we reported: Paul Vigna and Michael J. Casey, The Age of Cryptocurrency (St. Martin’s Press, 2015), pp. 57–60. This was not the dream conveyed: Timothy C. May, “The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” https://www.activism.net/cypherpunk/crypto-anarchy.html. Ideas like Ted Nelson’s ill-fated Xanadu project: For a detailed analysis of the Xanadu Project’s sweeping vision but failed implementation, see: “The Curse of Xanadu,” Wired, June 1, 2015, https://www.wired.com/1995/06/xanadu/. These people included Marc Andreessen: Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott, Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business and the World (Portfolio, 2016), p. 5.


pages: 103 words: 32,131

Program Or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age by Douglas Rushkoff

banking crisis, big-box store, citizen journalism, cloud computing, digital map, East Village, financial innovation, Firefox, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, invention of the printing press, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, peer-to-peer, Silicon Valley, statistical model, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, WikiLeaks

You Are Not a Gadget. New York: Knopf, 2009. Lessig, Lawrence. Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity. New York: Penguin, 2005. McLuhan, Marshall. Understanding Media. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1964. Packer, Randall and Ken Jordan. Multimedia: From Wagner to Virtual Reality. New York: Norton, 2001. See the essays by Vannevar Bush, Norbert Weiner, James Licklider, Douglas Englebart, Ted Nelson, Alan Kay, and other Internet pioneers and visionaries. Postman, Neil. Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. New York: Vintage Books, 1993. Rheingold, Howard. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Boston: MIT Press, 1993. Rushkoff, Douglas. Cyberia: Life in the Trenches of Hyperspace. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994. Shiffman, Daniel. Learning Processing: A Beginner’s Guide to Programming Images, Animation, and Interaction.


pages: 151 words: 39,757

Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now by Jaron Lanier

4chan, basic income, cloud computing, corporate governance, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Filter Bubble, gig economy, Internet of things, Jaron Lanier, life extension, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Milgram experiment, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, ransomware, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Silicon Valley, Snapchat, Stanford prison experiment, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, theory of mind, WikiLeaks, zero-sum game

Back in the early decades of the twentieth century, there had not been any choice but to make over-the-air radio and TV free, because there was no way for a station to know who was tuning in. Who would you charge? Business plans have a way of sticking around even when they’re obsolete, however. Note that the ads didn’t go away when customers moved to paid cable. In the case of internet services, there was a choice from the start. In fact, the very first design for a digital network, dating to Ted Nelson’s work as a student in the 1960s, presumed that people would pay and be paid in tiny increments for goodies on a digital network. But that idea was pounded into virtual oblivion—albeit with the best of intentions—by the free-software movement. The movement to make software free was founded on an honest mistake. It became dogma that if software wasn’t free, then it couldn’t be open, meaning no one but the owner would see the source code, so no one would understand what the software really did.


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

Bush called this “associative indexing … the basic idea of which is a provision whereby any item may be caused at will to select immediately and 10 The Invisible Web automatically another. This is the essential feature of the MEMEX. The process of tying two items together is the important thing.” In Bush’s visionary writings, it’s easy for us to see the seeds of what we now call hypertext. But it wasn’t until 1965 that Ted Nelson actually described a computerized system that would operate in a manner similar to what Bush envisioned. Nelson called his system “hypertext” and described the next-generation MEMEX in a system he called Xanadu. Nelson’s project never achieved enough momentum to have a significant impact on the world. Another twenty years would pass before Xerox implemented the first mainstream hypertext program, called NoteCards, in 1985.

Also in 1994, two graduate students at Stanford University created “Jerry’s Guide to the Internet,” built with the help of search spiders, but consisting of editorially selected links compiled by hand into a hierarchically organized directory. In a whimsical acknowledgment of this structure, Jerry Wang and David Filo renamed their service “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” commonly known today as Yahoo!. Table 1.1 A Timeline of Internet Search Technologies Year 1945 1965 1972 1986 1990 1991 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000+ Search Service Vannevar Bush Proposes “MEMEX” Hypertext Coined by Ted Nelson Dialog—First Commercial Proprietary System OWL Guide Hypermedia Browser Archie for FTP Search, Tim Berners-Lee creates the Web Gopher: WAIS Distributed Search ALIWEB (Archie Linking), WWWWander, JumpStation, WWWWorm EINet Galaxy, WebCrawler, Lycos, Yahoo! Infoseek, SavvySearch, AltaVista, MetCrawler, Excite HotBot, LookSmart NorthernLight Google, InvisibleWeb.com FAST Hundreds of search tools 16 The Invisible Web In 1995 Infoseek, AltaVista, and Excite made their debuts, each offering different capabilities for the searcher.


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

In Chandler, everything that you stored—email and addresses and events (appointments) and to-dos and random notes—was simply an “item,” and items would be organized and displayed however you damn well pleased. Conventional programs segregated information of various types in what OSAF’s developers began to call “silos.” The Chandler developers’ battle cry was: Level the silos! It was not the first time such a cry had been raised. Digital-age maverick Ted Nelson had propounded the idea of computers as “dream machines” and engines of personal liberation in the 1970s and invented the term hypertext to describe writing with embedded links that let you jump from one place to another. (Nelson views today’s Web as a bastardization of his more complex vision.) Nelson also coined the word intertwingularity as a label for the kind of complexity that informational silos ignore: “People keep pretending they can make things deeply hierarchical, categorizable and sequential when they can’t,” he said.

“They do have an economic model”: Author interview with Brad Cox, June 2005. “Unfortunately, most programmers like to program”: Larry L. Constantine, Constantine on Peopleware (Prentice Hall, 1995), pp. 123–24. “Keeping up with what’s available”: Ward Cunningham, quoted by Jon Udell in his InfoWorld blog at http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/05/21.htm #a1006. “People keep pretending they can”: These lines by Ted Nelson are widely distributed on the Net, and the word intertwingle appears frequently in Nelson’s writing, but the original source of the full quotation is obscure. One source cited is p. 45 of the first (1974) edition of his book Computer Lib/Dream Machines. There are two discussions of the quote’s origins at http://www.bootstrap.org/dkr/discussion/3260.htm and http://listserv.linguistlist.org/cgi-bin/wa?


pages: 413 words: 119,587

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

He made the case that an ontology was a “treaty,” a social agreement among people interested in sharing information or conducting commerce. It was a technology that resonated perfectly with the then new Internet. All of a sudden a confused world of multiple languages and computer protocols were all connected in an electronic Tower of Babel. When the World Wide Web first emerged, it offered a universal mechanism for easily retrieving documents via the Internet. The Web was loosely based on the earlier work of Doug Engelbart and Ted Nelson in the 1960s, who had independently pioneered the idea of hypertext linking, making it possible to easily access information stored in computer networks. The Web rapidly became a medium for connecting anyone to anything in the 1990s, offering a Lego-like way to link information, computers, and people. Ontologies offered a more powerful way to exchange any kind of information by combining the power of a global digital library with the ability to label information “objects.”

Isaac Asimov, for example, was living in Cambridge at the time and came to Negroponte’s class to speak each year, as did Gordon Pask, a British cyberneticist who was traveling widely in U.S. computer research circles in the 1960s and 1970s. If Kay was influenced by Negroponte, he in turn would point to the influence and inspiration of Gordon Pask. At the beginning of the interactive computing era Pask had a broad but generally unchronicled influence on computer and cognitive science research in the United States. Ted Nelson met him in the hallways of the University of Illinois Chicago Circle campus and fell under his spell as well. He described Pask affectionately in his Computer Lib manifesto as the “maddest of mad scientists.” In 1968, Negroponte, like many in the computing world, was deeply influenced by Ivan Sutherland’s 1963 Ph.D. project, Sketchpad, a graphical and interactive computing tool that pioneered human-computer interaction design.


pages: 314 words: 46,664

The Making of Karateka: Journals 1982-1985 by Jordan Mechner

a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, financial independence, game design, Rubik’s Cube, Ted Nelson

July 1, 1983 Just now while D2 was assembling, I idly reread my English 120 papers. I was surprised at how bad they were. What disturbs me is not that they’re bad – I cranked them out stupidly fast – but that I didn’t realize how bad they were at the time. I’d hate to think that the stuff I‘m writing now could be that much worse than I think it is. HELP! I’m panicking! I just read an article by Ted Nelson in the May 1982 Creative Computing about Siggraph ACM. I can’t believe I missed the July ’82 one in Boston! I’ve GOT to go to this year’s! Oh shit … I’m ruined for the day now. I’ve got to get one of those “No Jaggies” Lucasfilm T-shirts! *** “It was at that moment that he realized that his future did not lie in scientific research, writing, academia, law, medicine, or the priesthood. With that clarity that comes only in those rare moments of insight that shape our lives, the young Mechner realized that his future — whatever it was — would involve colorful things moving about on a screen and making noise.”


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

One free tool that is spreading through the Net these days, for example, is hytelnet . This program, which your Internet host computer runs, turns the Net into a series of menus you can navigate with the arrow keys on your desktop computer keyboard. The name of the command combines an ancient grail quest in the computer world with the Internet tool for hopping from computer to computer. HyperT The ancient grail quest, known as hypertext, was first proposed by Ted Nelson in the 1960s and first implemented by Engelbart's SRI project, as a linked series of texts that could automatically summon other texts for viewing. When you come across a reference or footnote in one document of a hypertext database, you can point at it and instantly see the source document cited, 26-04-2012 21:43 howard rheingold's | the virtual community 33 de 43 http://www.rheingold.com/vc/book/3.html then go back to the first document, if you wish, or continue to explore links forward, to other documents.

Intellectual Property The other barrier to a Net that contains all the text and photos and sounds in the Library of Congress is a less technical and more social issue: intellectual property. A lot of the best books, photos, lyrics, articles, and videos are owned by somebody. How are royalties to be determined and collected in a world where you can copy anything with a keystroke and transfer a library around the world in a minute? Ted Nelson, who coined the term hypertext, first dreamed up a scheme in the 1960s, looking forward to the day when this social problem lurking at the heart of computer technology would grow large. Nelson's scheme, called Xanadu, involves a database of all the literature in the world, including anything anybody wants to contribute; readers would be able to have access to documents, and the system would automatically pay from their accounts a tiny amount of money to the original author.


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

They were wrong – they lacked the needed hardware, their software tools were primitive, and their conceptual understanding of intelligence was too crude. Just because they were wrong then, doesn’t mean the current AGI field is similarly wrong – but the “guilt by association” lingers. An interesting analogy is the early visionaries who foresaw the Web – Vannevar Bush in the 1950s, Ted Nelson in the 1960s, and others. They understood the potential computer technology held to give rise to something like today’s Web – and Ted Nelson even tried to get something Web-like built, back before 1970. But the technology just wasn’t there to support his vision. In principle it might have been doable given the technology of that era, but it would have been insanely difficult – whereas by the time the Web came about in the 1990s it seemed almost a natural consequence of the technological infrastructure existing at that time.

Notes We thank the whole extended Xanadu team for having struggled together for many years on a project that has been at least as much a cause as a business. We thank Eric Drexler for exploring the relationship of hypertext publishing to evolutionary epistemology (Drexler 1991). We thank Anita Shreve for extensive help in editing this presentation. 1 The Xanadu trademark has since become the sole property of Ted Nelson. 2 Karl Popper originally proposed that selection proceeds by a process of refutation. See Popper 1959. His student, William Bartley, generalized this to criticism. See Bartley 1962. 3 Examples include World Wide Web anchors, Microsoft Word bookmarks, Lotus Notes, and Folio Views Popup text. 4 The use of bidirectional links for decentralized consumer reports is already happening on the American Information Exchange. 5 This essay was written well before 1997, thus the fictitious tongue-in-cheek story is actually a hypothetical scenario about electronic media.


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

"So by the time we finished MAXC, I had read the 'Symbiosis' article, which was where Lick had said it all, and which was probably one of the things that made Bob's idea less inscrutable"). And then, having done all that, Taylor was con- tent to sit back in the Dealer Meetings and elsewhere and let his people function as a kind of self-exciting system. As Stu Card remembers it, "There was this thread of ideas that led from Vannevar Bush through J. C. R. Licklider, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and Alan Kay-a thread in the Ascent of Man. It was like the Holy Grail. We would rationalize our mission according to what Xerox needed, and so on. But whenever we could phrase an idea so that it fell on this path, then suddenly every- body's eyes would light up, and you'd hit this resonance frequency." Take graphics, for example: everybody resonated with graphics. They had 364 THE DREAM MACHINE Alan Kay right there, after all, constantly preaching his gospel of computers as the most richly expressive medium humans had ever known-and more to the point, showing them his group's prototype font editors, drawing programs, on- screen document windows, and iconic programming systems.

The phenomenon had been gath- ering force for the better part of a generation, both in the marketplace and in society at large. Witness the public's eager embrace of computer utilities in the 1960s, when thousands of nonprofessionals had finally gotten the chance to tap in and experience the exhilaration firsthand. Or witness the rhetoric of counterculture gurus such as Stewart Brand (who'd called computing "the best news since psychedelics") and Ted Nelson, an independently wealthy computer activist who had declared that "hypertext" -a word he'd invented to describe the electronic links first imagined by Vannevar Bush-would at last allow us to break free from linear thought and hierarchical power structures. The ARPA vi- sion of personal involvement with computers had resonated deeply with the head-tripping, antiestablishment spirit of the era.

And then around Christmastime 1990, at CERN, the European Center for Particle Physics in Geneva, Switzerland, an English physicist named Tim Berners- Lee finished the initial coding of a system in which Internet files could be linked via hypertext. Actually, Berners- Lee had already been playing with the idea of hypertext for a full decade by that point, having independently reinvented the idea long be- fore he ever heard of Vannevar Bush, Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, or, for that matter, the Internet itself; his first implementation, in 1980, had been a kind of free-forn1 database that simply linked files within a single computer. But having a program follow hyperlinks across the network was an obvious extension of the idea, especially after CERN joined the Internet in the late 1980s. Thus the 1990 implementation, which also included Berners-Lee's notion of "browsing": the program had a word-processor-like interface that displayed the links in a file as underlined text; the user would just click on a link with the mouse, and the pro- gram would automatically make the leap, display whatever files or pictures it found at the other end, and then be ready to leap again.


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

Severo Ornstein, a member of the inner circle of PARC researchers that Taylor called his “graybeards” and a man who respects Taylor, calls him “a concert pianist without fingers.”17 Taylor could hear a faint melody in the distance, but he could not play it himself. He knew whether to move up or down the scale to approximate the sound, he could recognize when a note was wrong, but he needed someone else to make the music. There have been many great technical visionaries whose ideas never reached full expression under the visionary’s guidance. In Taylor’s own day, indeed within a few miles of the Xerox PARC office, there were two. In the 1970s, Ted Nelson, who coined the word “hypertext,” wrote about a complex information architecture called Project Xanadu that never came to fruition, despite anticipating and in some ways exceeding the World Wide Web. Likewise, many of Douglas Engelbart’s ideas were not realized until they were refined at PARC, in the computer science and systems science labs. Taylor was different. He could recruit to PARC an outstanding group of researchers—selected based on his belief that “a very good researcher was worth two dozen good researchers”—and keep them working together for years.18 He also had the support of his boss, Jerry Elkind, who handled much of the lab’s administrative work.

The CSL Activity Report for March 15–June 12, 1972, references Peter Deutsch’s volunteer work with Resource One. Kay’s library order: Fred Turner, From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006): 124. 37. Chuck Thacker, interview by author, April 11, 2014. 38. Paul A. Strassmann, CBI interview. Computer Lib is also the title of a book published by Ted Nelson in 1974. 39. Kearns and Nadler, Prophets in the Dark. There Are No Standards Yet — Mike Markkula 1. Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith, iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It (New York: W. W. Norton & Co, 2006): 184. 2. Ibid.: 186. 3. Ibid.: 180. 4. Ibid.: 196. 5. Outline for Apple Computer Buisness [sic] Plan, Nov. 18, 1976, ACM. 6.


pages: 233 words: 66,446

Bitcoin: The Future of Money? by Dominic Frisby

3D printing, altcoin, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, capital controls, Chelsea Manning, cloud computing, computer age, cryptocurrency, disintermediation, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, fiat currency, fixed income, friendly fire, game design, Isaac Newton, Julian Assange, land value tax, litecoin, M-Pesa, mobile money, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, Occupy movement, Peter Thiel, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price stability, QR code, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, too big to fail, transaction costs, Turing complete, War on Poverty, web application, WikiLeaks

I mean he likes Hungarian notation for this or that variable and I’m, like, nah.’201 Malmi himself is another name that has been ventured. But he is not old enough, in my view, and his English, though excellent, is not as impeccable as Satoshi’s. A quick read of his posts reveals this. The reclusive Japanese-American mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki was a hot favourite to be Satoshi at one stage, thanks to a YouTube video released by the outspoken Californian academic, Ted Nelson. Mochizuki made no public denial. He certainly has the writing and mathematical ability, but there is no evidence of his having the C++ coding skills, nor the background in cryptography or Cypherpunk, let alone the interest or desire to devise an electronic currency. He’s all about the maths. The plethora of academic papers he released during the 2007–10 period that Satoshi was developing Bitcoin indicates he would also not have had the time for Bitcoin.


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

A Report to the President by Vannevar Bush, Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, July 1945.” Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office. http://www.nsf.gov/about/history/vbush1945.htm; also available as ACLS Humanities E-Book (August 1, 2008). Some believe that Paul Otlet, not Bush, ought to get the credit for the concept of hyperlinks for his 1934 “réseau” idea. Wright, Alex. 2008. “The Web Time Forgot.” The New York Times (June 17). In the 1960s, Ted Nelson took Bush’s ideas and extended them to support a new paradigm for literature in a networked world. He coined the term hypertext and proposed ideas that are current today, like virtually including one work inside another and using micropayments. Nelson, Theodor Holm. 1993. Literary Machines. Sausalito, Calif.: Mindful Press. Nelson, Theodor Holm. 1999. “Xanalogical Structure, Needed Now More Than Ever: Parallel Documents, Deep Links to Content, Deep Versioning, and Deep Re-Use.”


pages: 269 words: 79,285

Silk Road by Eileen Ormsby

4chan, bitcoin, blockchain, Brian Krebs, corporate governance, cryptocurrency, Edward Snowden, fiat currency, Firefox, Julian Assange, litecoin, Mark Zuckerberg, Network effects, peer-to-peer, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, Right to Buy, Ross Ulbricht, Satoshi Nakamoto, stealth mode startup, Ted Nelson, trade route, Turing test, web application, WikiLeaks

The financial pages of major media outlets continued to report on the cryptocurrency, with various experts divided about its relevance and longevity. But it was clear that it no longer relied on the dark markets for its value. What would Satoshi Nakamoto think of his multibillion-dollar invention now? The hunt for Satoshi had not slowed down. Revered as the genius father of bitcoin, his elusiveness made him all the more interesting. American IT sociologist and philosopher Ted Nelson had named maths genius Shinichi Mochizuki (male, 44, Japan) in May 2013 in a video he released on YouTube, but, as with earlier ‘unmaskings’, the evidence was weak. And again, the accused denied it. In mid-2013, blogger Sergio Lerner uncovered a hoard of about $120 million in bitcoins owned by a single entity. That entity had begun mining right from block one – the so-called ‘genesis block’.


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

Launched in 1969, the catalogue touched on an extraordinary range of topics, from cybernetics and communication theories to agriculture and medicine, with an eclectic individualism purportedly inspired by Buckminster Fuller. It grew with successive editions until by 1971 it was almost 450 pages long. Its influence was demonstrated by the People’s Computer Company, a project overseen by Brand and Robert Albrecht (whom Ted Nelson hailed as the “caliph of counterculture computerdom”). The PCC was both a publication and an institution. As a publication, it was produced on the same printing equipment as the Whole Earth Catalog, using similar pagecraft to proselytize for a cognate message. It even reprinted Catalog material verbatim. As an institution, it developed from an older project, “Community Memory,” that had deployed public terminals linked to a mainframe, the hope being that they would become both communications devices – pathways by which citizens could establish links with each other – and portals to information.

Illich was not sanguine about the prospects of achieving this – he mused that only Mao’s Communists had the clout to do it. But he nevertheless maintained that “while democracy in the United States can survive a victory by Giap, it cannot survive one by ITT.” Illich defined a vision for some early digital pioneers, like Felsenstein. Yet, contrary to much hacker mythology, enthusiasts in the early days were never united in opposing intellectual property per se. Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines of 1974, the foremost example of countercultural computer literature, is revealing of the tensions involved – tensions that would end up shaping digital culture itself. A visionary manifesto for the power of engagement with computers, Nelson’s book was in one sense a clear articulation of the principle of computer conviviality. It was also, as he put it, a “blatant” imitation of “the wonderful Whole Earth Catalog.”


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

Once of the most important signs of this utopian instinct is the hacking community’s anti-commercial bent. Software products have long been developed and released into the public domain, with seemingly no profit motive on the side of the authors, simply for the higher glory of the code itself. “Spacewar was not sold,” Steven Levy writes, referring to the early video game developed by several early computer enthusiasts at MIT. “Like any other 51. Another is the delightfully schizophrenic Ted Nelson, inventor of hypertext. See Computer Lib/Dream Machines (Redmond, WA: Tempus/Microsoft, 1987). 52. Pierre Lévy, L’intelligence collective: Pour une anthropologie du cyberspace (Paris: Éditions la Découverte, 1994), p. 120. 53. Stewart Brand, “SPACEWAR: Fanatic Life and Symbolic Death among the Computer Bums,” Rolling Stone, December 7, 1972, p. 58. 54. McKenzie Wark, “A Hacker Manifesto [version 4.0],” available online at http://subsol.c3.hu/ subsol_2/contributors0/warktext.html.


pages: 791 words: 85,159

Social Life of Information by John Seely Brown, Paul Duguid

business process, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, cross-subsidies, disintermediation, double entry bookkeeping, Frank Gehry, frictionless, frictionless market, future of work, George Gilder, George Santayana, global village, Howard Rheingold, informal economy, information retrieval, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Markoff, Just-in-time delivery, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, lateral thinking, loose coupling, Marshall McLuhan, medical malpractice, moral hazard, Network effects, new economy, Productivity paradox, Robert Metcalfe, rolodex, Ronald Coase, shareholder value, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Superbowl ad, Ted Nelson, telepresence, the medium is the message, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Y2K

If a little is lost on the journey, it is of no more significance than the odd package lost in transit. The English language also reflects this view. Documents are said, for example, to contain, hold, carry, and convey information. For those who remember them, this way of talking recalls the old-fashioned telegram (or ransom note) where strips of text were pasted down on a backing sheet. Ted Nelson, one of the early champions of hypertext, was no doubt thinking in much the same way when he dismissively described paper documents as just "an object that information has been sprayed onto in the past." 16 All these usages are instances of what the linguist Michael Reddy has called "conduit" metaphors. Reddy notes how people talk about getting, delivering, passing along, or circulating ideas.


pages: 239 words: 80,319

Lurking: How a Person Became a User by Joanne McNeil

4chan, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Ada Lovelace, Airbnb, AltaVista, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Burning Man, Chelsea Manning, Chris Wanstrath, citation needed, cloud computing, crowdsourcing, delayed gratification, dematerialisation, don't be evil, Donald Trump, drone strike, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, feminist movement, Firefox, Google Earth, Google Glasses, Google Hangouts, helicopter parent, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, l'esprit de l'escalier, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, Menlo Park, moral panic, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, Network effects, packet switching, PageRank, pre–internet, profit motive, QAnon, recommendation engine, Saturday Night Live, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, social graph, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Turing complete, We are the 99%, web application, white flight, Whole Earth Catalog

Another stunning work is Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby, a poetic, transgressive, and strange online document, with illustrations and recursive humor, that also happens to be one of the first guides to the Ruby programming language. The author, who was known as Why the Lucky Stiff, or “_why,” had a restless Pynchonian humor (and disappeared from public life, like him). Other work just never materialized, like Ted Nelson’s impossible dream of Project Xanadu, a goal since 1960 for universal electronic publishing with version control and unbreakable links—hypertext vaporware, which lives in the hearts of many internet old-timers, like Alejandro Jodorowsky’s unrealized film of Dune. Unfocused internet-hating in culture writing happened alongside uncritical, even fanboyish reporting on the tech industry that appeared in business sections.


pages: 371 words: 93,570

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

“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.


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.


pages: 407 words: 103,501

The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Netwo Rking by Mark Bauerlein

Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andrew Keen, business cycle, centre right, citizen journalism, collaborative editing, computer age, computer vision, corporate governance, crowdsourcing, David Brooks, disintermediation, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Howard Rheingold, invention of movable type, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Kevin Kelly, knowledge worker, late fees, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, means of production, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral panic, Network effects, new economy, Nicholas Carr, PageRank, peer-to-peer, pets.com, Results Only Work Environment, Saturday Night Live, search engine result page, semantic web, Silicon Valley, slashdot, social graph, social web, software as a service, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, technology bubble, Ted Nelson, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thorstein Veblen, web application

It seemed all we needed to do was get a person online, and he or she would be changed forever. And people were. A sixty-year-old Midwestern businessman I know found himself logging on every night to engage in a conversation about Jungian archetypes. It lasted for four weeks before he realized the person with whom he was conversing was a sixteen-year-old boy from Tokyo. It felt as though we were wiring up a global brain. Techno visionaries of the period, such as Ted Nelson—who coined the word hypertext —told us how the Internet could be used as a library for everything ever written. A musician named Jaron Lanier invented a bizarre interactive space he called “virtual reality” in which people would be able to, in his words, “really see what the other means.” The Internet was no longer a government research project. It was alive. Out of control and delightfully chaotic.


pages: 268 words: 109,447

The Cultural Logic of Computation by David Golumbia

Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, American ideology, Benoit Mandelbrot, borderless world, business process, cellular automata, citizen journalism, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, corporate governance, creative destruction, en.wikipedia.org, finite state, future of work, Google Earth, Howard Zinn, IBM and the Holocaust, iterative process, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph Schumpeter, late capitalism, means of production, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, packet switching, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Stallman, semantic web, Shoshana Zuboff, Slavoj Žižek, social web, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Ballmer, Stewart Brand, strong AI, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, The Wisdom of Crowds, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, web application

It seems not merely reasonable but likely that the best-known humanistic worldviews would resist applications of schemes like the Semantic Web to ordinary textual data, and in particular to focus attention on what humanists have always put first: our responsibility to each other as human beings, and our profound interest in and respect for human creations, including both computers and language. While such a view is compatible with the perspective that embedded markup is itself potentially harmful (as no less a thinker than Ted Nelson has suggested, 1997; also see Smith 2001), it at least leads to what practice itself has shown the OHCO theorists: where semantic markup is concerned, less is more. Where the humanities are concerned, the linguistic imperatives offered by computers and the web seem less promisingly those of markup-based machine communication than the communicative opportunities computers may open for human beings who need them—and no less the avenues of linguistic communication whose existence computers help put into jeopardy.12 Monolingualism of the World Wide Web Another tempting but inaccurate analogy between programming languages and natural languages can be found along the axis of linguistic diversity.


pages: 317 words: 101,074

The Road Ahead by Bill Gates, Nathan Myhrvold, Peter Rinearson

Albert Einstein, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, Berlin Wall, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Bob Noyce, Bonfire of the Vanities, business process, California gold rush, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, glass ceiling, global village, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, John von Neumann, knowledge worker, medical malpractice, Mitch Kapor, new economy, packet switching, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, speech recognition, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, transaction costs, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture

The Internet's unique position arises from a number of elements. The TCP/IP protocols that define its transport level support distributed computing and also scale incredibly well. The protocols that define Web browsing are extremely simple and have allowed servers to handle immense amounts of traffic reasonably well. Many of the predictions about interactive books and hyperlinks—made decades ago by pioneers like Ted Nelson—are coming true on the Web. Today's Internet is not the information highway I imagine, although you can think of it as the beginning of the highway. An analogy is the Oregon Trail. Between 1841 and the early 1860s, more than 300,000 hardy souls rode wagon trains out of Independence, Missouri, for a dangerous 2,000-mile journey across the wilderness to the Oregon Territories or the gold fields of California.


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

Depth, breadth, and richness of knowledge are what make it work in my passions and my profession. Before the Internet, that was limited by the boundaries of my brain. 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.


pages: 398 words: 107,788

Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking by E. Gabriella Coleman

activist lawyer, Benjamin Mako Hill, commoditize, crowdsourcing, Debian, Donald Knuth, dumpster diving, en.wikipedia.org, financial independence, ghettoisation, GnuPG, Hacker Ethic, informal economy, Jacob Appelbaum, Jaron Lanier, Jason Scott: textfiles.com, Jean Tirole, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, Larry Wall, Louis Pasteur, means of production, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, pirate software, popular electronics, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, software patent, software studies, Steve Ballmer, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, The Hackers Conference, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, web application, web of trust

For a discussion of some of the tensions in the corporate world that arose due to the perception of programmers as clever and idiosyncratic, and an excellent history of programmers, see Ensmenger 2010, especially chapter 3. 6. http://www.ingen.mb.ca/cgi-bin/news.pl?action=600&id=10383 (accessed November 20, 2007). 7. I would like to thank Jonah Bossewitch, who pushed me to think about humor in light of the rationality of the computer more deeply. 8. Some notable examples of populist formulations are Computer Lib by Ted Nelson (1974) and Stallman’s “GNU Manifesto.” For examples of the elitist manifestation, see Levy 1984; Sterling 1992; Borsook 2000. 9. http://osdir.com/ml/linux.debian.devel.mentors/2003-03/msg00272.html (accessed July 5, 2009). 10. http://osdir.com/ml/linux.debian.devel.mentors/2003-03/msg00225.html (accessed July 5, 2009). 11. This is quite similar in logic to liberal notions of states of nature that posit forms of individuality outside social relations.


pages: 565 words: 122,605

The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us by Joel Kotkin

autonomous vehicles, blue-collar work, British Empire, carbon footprint, Celebration, Florida, citizen journalism, colonial rule, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, Downton Abbey, edge city, Edward Glaeser, financial independence, Frank Gehry, Gini coefficient, Google bus, housing crisis, illegal immigration, income inequality, informal economy, Jane Jacobs, labor-force participation, land reform, life extension, market bubble, mass immigration, McMansion, megacity, new economy, New Urbanism, Own Your Own Home, peak oil, pensions crisis, Peter Calthorpe, post-industrial society, RAND corporation, Richard Florida, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Seaside, Florida, self-driving car, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Silicon Valley, starchitect, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, the built environment, trade route, transit-oriented development, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Victor Gruen, Whole Earth Catalog, women in the workforce, young professional

Between 2000 and 2010, its population grew 63 percent.2 Bounded by the Grand Parkway that loops around the region’s massive 1,700-square-mile urban footprint, the development stretches over 8,100 acres. The tracts range from small townhomes costing about $200,000 to what some might call McMansions that go for several times more. Nearly 60 percent of local residents who have moved there since 2014—over 1,100 households—are married couples with children, while less than 10 percent are single. “It’s a pretty family-centric area,” notes Ted Nelson, regional president of the central states for Cinco Ranch’s primary developer, Newland Real Estate Group. To some critics, Cinco Ranch—and other developments around Houston like Bridgeland, Sienna Plantation, The Woodlands, and Sugar Land—represents everything that is bad about suburban “sprawl,” with leapfrogging development that swallows rural lands and leaves inner-city communities behind.3 The Grand Parkway, which will connect the community with the giant new Exxon campus rising to the north, has similarly been widely denounced as spurring “sprawling land development” that could hurt both the environment and the core city.4 Houston may be a uniquely “self-organizing city,” in the words of Rice University’s Lars Lerup, but this reality is deeply offensive to many planners and retro-urbanists.5 Yet to many residents of this burgeoning community, Cinco Ranch represents something else: an opportunity to enjoy the American dream with good schools, nice parks and a thriving town center.


pages: 472 words: 117,093

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future by Andrew McAfee, Erik Brynjolfsson

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, additive manufacturing, AI winter, Airbnb, airline deregulation, airport security, Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Amazon Web Services, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, backtesting, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, British Empire, business cycle, business process, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, centralized clearinghouse, Chris Urmson, cloud computing, cognitive bias, commoditize, complexity theory, computer age, creative destruction, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Dean Kamen, discovery of DNA, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, distributed ledger, double helix, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Ethereum, ethereum blockchain, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, family office, fiat currency, financial innovation, George Akerlof, global supply chain, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, information asymmetry, Internet of things, inventory management, iterative process, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Markoff, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, law of one price, longitudinal study, Lyft, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mitch Kapor, moral hazard, multi-sided market, Myron Scholes, natural language processing, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Oculus Rift, PageRank, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer lending, performance metric, plutocrats, Plutocrats, precision agriculture, prediction markets, pre–internet, price stability, principal–agent problem, Ray Kurzweil, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Stallman, ride hailing / ride sharing, risk tolerance, Ronald Coase, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, smart contracts, Snapchat, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, supply-chain management, TaskRabbit, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas Davenport, Thomas L Friedman, too big to fail, transaction costs, transportation-network company, traveling salesman, Travis Kalanick, two-sided market, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, uber lyft, ubercab, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, winner-take-all economy, yield management, zero day

The advent of the World Wide Web extended the reach and power of enterprise systems to individual consumers via their computers (and later their tablets and phones). The web was born in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee developed a set of protocols that allowed pieces of online content like text and pictures to link to each other, putting in practice the visions of hypertext first described by science and engineering polymath Vannevar Bush in 1945 (theoretically using microfilm) and computer visionary Ted Nelson, whose Project Xanadu never quite took off. The web rapidly turned the Internet from a text-only network into one that could handle pictures, sounds, and other media. This multimedia wonder, so much richer and easier to navigate than anything before, entered the mainstream in 1994 when Netscape released the first commercial web browser, named Navigator. (One of Netscape’s cofounders was Marc Andreessen, a then twenty-two-year-old programmer who had worked on earlier web browsers.


pages: 675 words: 141,667

Open Standards and the Digital Age: History, Ideology, and Networks (Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise) by Andrew L. Russell

American ideology, animal electricity, barriers to entry, borderless world, Chelsea Manning, computer age, creative destruction, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Edward Snowden, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, interchangeable parts, invisible hand, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Leonard Kleinrock, means of production, Menlo Park, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, open economy, packet switching, pre–internet, RAND corporation, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Ted Nelson, The Nature of the Firm, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, transaction costs, web of trust

Historians such as Paul Edwards, Ted Friedman, and Fred Turner have analyzed, more than I have attempted to do here, the close links between counterculture ideals and skepticism toward unrestrained technological power. They point to films such as Desk Set (1957), Dr. Strangelove (1964), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), Blade Runner (1982), and The Terminator (1984) as well as books such as Herbert Marcuse’s One Dimensional Man (1964), E. F. Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful (1973), and Ted Nelson’s Computer Lib/Dream Machines (1974) as indicators of an emerging critical approach to capitalist technology. These ideas took root in the freewheeling corporate cultures in Silicon Valley, which nurtured a fusion between the hacker critique of centralized control and a libertarian strain of individual freedom and empowerment.57 It would be oversimplifying matters, however, to reduce the critiques of centralized control that matured in the 1960s and 1970s to some sort of irresistible triumph of a populist or democratic control over technology.


pages: 494 words: 142,285

The Future of Ideas: The Fate of the Commons in a Connected World by Lawrence Lessig

AltaVista, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, business process, Cass Sunstein, commoditize, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, disintermediation, disruptive innovation, Donald Davies, Erik Brynjolfsson, George Gilder, Hacker Ethic, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, HyperCard, hypertext link, Innovator's Dilemma, invention of hypertext, inventory management, invisible hand, Jean Tirole, Jeff Bezos, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Larry Wall, Leonard Kleinrock, linked data, Marc Andreessen, Menlo Park, Mitch Kapor, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, price mechanism, profit maximization, RAND corporation, rent control, rent-seeking, RFC: Request For Comment, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, Robert Bork, Ronald Coase, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, smart grid, software patent, spectrum auction, Steve Crocker, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, transaction costs, zero-sum game

.: Prentice-Hall, 2000), 691 (HTTP stands for “hypertext transfer protocol” and is “[t]he protocol used to transfer Web documents from a server to a browser"), 713 (TCP stands for “transmission control protocol"), and 694 (IP stands for “Internet protocol).” Together, TCP and IP allow data delivery between machines on the Internet. “The entire protocol suite is often referred to as TCP/IP because TCP and IP are the two fundamental protocols.”). 49 Berners-Lee, 35. 50 See, e.g., Paul E. Ceruzzi, A History of Modern Computing (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1998), 301-2 (describing hypertext “inventor” Ted Nelson's debt to Vannevar Bush, quoting Bush: “The human mind . . . operates by association. With one item in its grasp, it snaps instantly to the next that is suggested by the association of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails carried by the cells of the brain.”). 51 See Robert M. Fano, “On the Social Role of Computer Communications,” Proceedings of the IEEE 60 (September 1972): 1249. 52 Berners-Lee, 46.


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The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads by Tim Wu

1960s counterculture, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, AltaVista, Andrew Keen, anti-communist, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, barriers to entry, Bob Geldof, borderless world, Brownian motion, Burning Man, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, colonial rule, East Village, future of journalism, George Gilder, Golden Gate Park, Googley, Gordon Gekko, housing crisis, informal economy, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, Live Aid, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, McMansion, Nate Silver, Network effects, Nicholas Carr, placebo effect, post scarcity, race to the bottom, road to serfdom, Saturday Night Live, science of happiness, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, slashdot, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, the built environment, The Chicago School, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Tim Cook: Apple, Torches of Freedom, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, white flight, zero-sum game

He proceeded to compare playing video games to sniffing glue. “The games present a seductive world….[Young people want] to be totally absorbed in an activity where they are out on an edge and can’t think of anything else. That’s why they try everything from gambling to glue sniffing.” Others seemed to think Space Invaders’s success had to do with the recent national experience. “It’s really Vietnam,” wrote Ted Nelson, a magazine editor. “It’s a body count war. You do it and you never ask why.” With Space Invaders, computers broke through as an indisputable part of the entertainment industry. Indeed, in 1982, the game would be the highest grossing entertainment product in the United States; outperforming even its inspiration, Star Wars, it earned more than $2 billion, one quarter at a time. But it was perhaps no surprise: by 1980, in the United States alone, video games were consuming 11.2 billion quarters annually, yielding $2.8 billion in revenue; by the early 1980s, the estimate was $5 billion, exceeding, for a while, the income of the film industry.


pages: 629 words: 142,393

The Future of the Internet: And How to Stop It by Jonathan Zittrain

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Amazon Mechanical Turk, Andy Kessler, barriers to entry, book scanning, Brewster Kahle, Burning Man, c2.com, call centre, Cass Sunstein, citizen journalism, Clayton Christensen, clean water, commoditize, corporate governance, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, game design, Hacker Ethic, Howard Rheingold, Hush-A-Phone, illegal immigration, index card, informal economy, Internet Archive, jimmy wales, John Markoff, license plate recognition, loose coupling, mail merge, national security letter, old-boy network, packet switching, peer-to-peer, post-materialism, pre–internet, price discrimination, profit maximization, Ralph Nader, RFC: Request For Comment, RFID, Richard Stallman, Richard Thaler, risk tolerance, Robert Bork, Robert X Cringely, SETI@home, Silicon Valley, Skype, slashdot, software patent, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Ted Nelson, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Nature of the Firm, The Wisdom of Crowds, web application, wikimedia commons, zero-sum game

Some experiments have also attempted to empower individuals to make their preferences clear at the point an image or video is initially captured. An example is Miguel Mora’s Identity Protection System, which would allow a sticker or badge to function as a signal for surveillance cameras to block an individual from their recording. See Miguel.Mora.Design, http://www.miquelmora.com/idps.html (last visited July 28, 2007). 124. TED NELSON, LITERARY MACHINES (1981); Wikipedia, Transclusion, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transclusion (as of June 1, 2007, 10:30 GMT). 125. Consider, for example, the Internet Archive. Proprietor Brewster Kahle has thus far avoided what one would think to be an inevitable copyright lawsuit as he archives and makes available historical snapshots of the Web. He has avoided such lawsuits by respecting Web owners’ wishes to be excluded as soon as he is notified.


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

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. Nelson’s work inspired Bill Atkinson, a software engineer who had been part of the original Macintosh team; in 1987 he came up with a link-based system called HyperCard, which he sold to Apple for $100,000 on the condition that the company give it away to all its users.


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

The invention of the world wide web took place in Europe, in 1990, at the Centre Européen pour Recherche Nucleaire (CERN) in Geneva, one of the leading physics research centers in the world. It was invented by a group of researchers at CERN led by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau. They built their research not on the ARPANET tradition, but on the contribution of the hackers’ culture of the 1970s. In particular, they partly relied on the work of Ted Nelson who, in 1974, in his pamphlet “Computer Lib,” called upon people to seize and use computer power for their own benefit. Nelson imagined a new system of organizing information which he called “hypertext,” based on horizontal information links. To this pioneering insight, Berners-Lee and co-workers added new technologies adapted from the multimedia world to provide an audiovisual language to their application.


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 games were unsophisticated, but they gave onlookers a chance to understand the potential of computers in a fun way. Attendees would type in commands and most of the time received the response, “Captain, I’m afraid your last command made no sense.” Despite the shortcomings of these early games, people received a distinct thrill from interacting with a computer. Around the edges of the auditorium were side rooms, where presenters gave unorthodox presentations. Among them was Ted Nelson, author of Computer Lib, a book hailed as revolutionary for the time. The book, written in 1974 before the KIM-1 and Altair 8800, envisioned networked computers with libraries of information linked together. At the conference, Nelson gave an impassioned speech about software, criticizing the current state of affairs. In the center of the auditorium were the larger microcomputer companies, including Commodore (with their Mr.


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

He pointed out how “Mendel’s concept of the laws of genetics was lost to the world for a generation” because the right people could not access it and asserted that “this sort of catastrophe is undoubtedly being repeated all about us.” He proposed a theoretical system he called “Memex” to create a new kind of cataloging system “ready made with a mesh of associate trails running through them.” 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.


pages: 1,535 words: 337,071

Networks, Crowds, and Markets: Reasoning About a Highly Connected World by David Easley, Jon Kleinberg

Albert Einstein, AltaVista, clean water, conceptual framework, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Douglas Hofstadter, Erdős number, experimental subject, first-price auction, fudge factor, George Akerlof, Gerard Salton, Gerard Salton, Gödel, Escher, Bach, incomplete markets, information asymmetry, information retrieval, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Arrow, longitudinal study, market clearing, market microstructure, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, Network effects, Pareto efficiency, Paul Erdős, planetary scale, prediction markets, price anchoring, price mechanism, prisoner's dilemma, random walk, recommendation engine, Richard Thaler, Ronald Coase, sealed-bid auction, search engine result page, second-price auction, second-price sealed-bid, Simon Singh, slashdot, social web, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, Ted Nelson, The Market for Lemons, The Wisdom of Crowds, trade route, transaction costs, ultimatum game, Vannevar Bush, Vickrey auction, Vilfredo Pareto, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game

Acad. Sci. USA, 36:48–49, 1950. [308] John Nash. Non-cooperative games. Annals of Mathematics, 54:286–295, 1951. [309] National Research Council Committee on Technical and Privacy Dimensions of Information for Terrorism Prevention and Other National Goals. Protecting Individual Privacy in the Struggle Against Terrorists: A Framework for Program Assessment. National Academies Press, 2008. [310] Ted Nelson. Literary Machines. Mindful Press, 1981. [311] Mark E. J. Newman. Scientific collaboration networks: II. Shortest paths, weighted networks, and centrality. Physical Review E, 64:016132, 2001. [312] Mark E. J. Newman. The structure of scientific collaboration networks. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 98(2):404–409, January 2001. [313] Mark E. J. Newman. Mixing patterns in networks. Physical Review E, 67:026126, 2003