The Computer History Museum (CHM), the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society, tonight will host an evening honoring technology legend Douglas Engelbart’s life and achievements. Today marks the 45th anniversary of his famous “Mother of all Demos”; he died on July 2nd of this year.
Speakers on his vast legacythe [mw impact] of his work will include counterculture and online pioneer Stewart Brand, computer and online visionary Ted Nelson, futurist Paul Saffo, Internet Society Hall of Famer Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler, Logitech Chairman of the Board Guerrino de Luca, mouse co-inventor Bill English, and others, with written and video tributes from top networking pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Taylor. Funding for tonight’s event was provided by SRI International and Logitech.
The evening will finish with The New York Times Senior writer and author John Markoff challenging two of today’s pivotal thought leaders, SRI International’s President & CEO Dr. Curt Carlson, and Siri, Inc. co-Founder Adam Cheyer, to think about how Engelbart’s unfinished revolution may be useful moving forward.
Exactly 45 years ago, Douglas Engelbart and his Augmentation Research Center team from SRI International put on what became known as the “Mother of all Demos.” For ninety minutes the stunned audience got a taste of computing’s distant futurewitnessed [a preview of the future of computing]/many of the features of modern computing for the first time, from videoconferencing to a strange pointing device called the “mouse.” Today, we sit at the kind of interactive screens Engelbart demonstrated in 1968. As he foresaw we do much of our reading, writing, and research online. We click on the hypertext links he developed, using the mouse he co-invented. We chat and share documents and send emails as his team did back then. We do all of this over computer networks including the Internet, both partly developed within his laboratory at SRI.
But as noted by Marc Weber, Web historian and founding curator of the Museum’s Internet History Program, “When it comes to the kind of knowledge navigation and collaboration tools that were the heart of Engelbart's system, we've climbed only the first rung of the ladder. The same is true when it comes to the daunting goal that drove him to build all of his technology – to augment human intellect so that we might better address the world's big problems.
Tonight’s speakers will also include:
John C. Hollar, Computer History Museum’s President and CEO; Christina Engelbart, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Doug Engelbart Institute and Doug's daughter; Karen Engelbart, Doug’s wife; Harvey Lehtman, Former Software Developer in Engelbart’s group; Ade Mabogunje, Senior Research Scientist at the Stanford Center for Design Research; Marc Weber, Web historian and founding curator of the Museum’s Internet History Program.
The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history as the world’s leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on society. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs and moving images.
The Museum brings computer history to life through large-scale exhibits, an acclaimed speaker series, a dynamic website, docent-led tours and an award-winning education program. The Museum’s signature exhibition is “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing,” described by USA Today as “the Valley’s answer to the Smithsonian.” Other current exhibits include “Charles Babbage's Difference Engine No. 2,” “Going Places: The History of Google Maps with Street View,” and “The PDP-1 and IBM 1401 Demo Labs.”
The Internet History Program computerhistory.org/nethistory records the history of computer networking including the Web, the internet, and mobile data. It is the first comprehensive effort in this area by a major historical institution. It covers networking as both a technical invention and a new kind of mass medium. Founding curator Marc Weber has researched the history of the Web since 1995, and co-founded two of the first organizations in the field. The Program works with Museum staff, trustees, and advisors with special expertise in networking, including a number of key pioneers.
The main existing records of Engelbart’s work are split between the Computer History Museum and its Internet History Program, and Stanford Libraries. The records at the Museum include many hundreds of boxes of papers, software, photos, video, objects and more from the history of Doug Engelbart’s Augmentation Research Center (ARC), his later work, and on the development of the ARPANET and Internet. To offer or suggest other relevant historical materials please contact Marc Weber (firstname.lastname@example.org, 650-810-1885).
SRI International and Internet pioneer Elizabeth “Jake” Feinler have established a Fund with the Computer History Museum’s Internet History Program to support the preservation of materials related to Douglas Engelbart’s work as described above. To contribute please go to computerhistory.org/contributeand specify that your gift is for the Engelbart Memorial Fund.
For more information and updates, call (650) 810-1059, visit www.computerhistory.org, check us out on Facebook, and follow @computerhistory on Twitter.