50 years, we live near the reality shown at the "mother of all demos"


Douglas Angelbart during his 1968 demonstration.

Douglas Angelbart during his 1968 demonstration.

SRI International

A half-century ago, Computer History took a giant leap when Douglas Angelbart – then a tired career 43-year-old engineer at Stanford Research Institute at the heart of Silicon Valley-given what was coming to be known as the "Mother of All demos. "

On December 9, 1968, in a computer conference in San Francisco, Angelbart has shown off the first inclines of many technologies that we all now take for granted: video conferencing, a modern desktop-style user interface, word processing, hypertext, the mouse, collaborative editing , Among many others.

Even before his famous demonstration, Ingberbart has expressed his vision of the future more than a half-century back in his historic 1962 paper, "August Human Rights: A Conceptual Framework."

To open the 90-minute length of presentation, Engelbart posited a question that almost seems to us trivial in the early 21st century: "If in your office, you as an intelligent worker was to provide a computer display, backed by a computer that was Alive for you all day, and was instantly responsible-to-every action you had, how much would you expect from that? "

Of course at this time, computers are vastly managed, which are light-years away from the pocket-sized devices that have been practically an extension of themselves.

Engelbart, who passed away in 2013, was inspired by a now-legendary essay published in 1945 by Vannevar Bush, a physicist who was charged with the United States Office of Scientific Research and Development during World War II.

That essay, "as we could think," speculated on a "future device for individual use, which is a kind of mechanized private file and library." It was the essay that stuck with a young gangster-then a Navy technician station in the Philippines-for more than two decades.

In 1968, Engelbart created what he calls the "N-Line System," or NLS, a proto-intranet. The propane, the predecessor to the Internet itself, would not be established until late the following year.

Five years later, in 1973, Xerox debuted the Alto, considered to be the first modern personal computer. That, in turn, served as both the inspiration for both the Macintosh and Microsoft Windows, and the rest, clearly, is history.

"Dug and [J.C.R. Licklider] There are two of our worst vision visionaries, "Wind Serf, the co-creator of the TCP / IP protocol, told Ars in July 2013.

"Doug's Nile is as close to Wonder Bush's vision of MEMEX as you could get in the 1960's. It has a sharp sense of the way in which computers can increase human capacity to think. Origins to dug and the people who created it with him [Web] Is a certificate of some of what he imagined or hoped though his aspirations exceeded even in terms of man and computer partnerships.

In 2015, Stanford University hosted "The Demo," a work of musical theater inspired by this occasion.

The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California is a bit happening that is related to the anniversary, both on December 9 and another later this week, on December 12th.

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