The Engelbart Hypothesis: dialogs with Douglas Engelbart

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9780615308906: The Engelbart Hypothesis: dialogs with Douglas Engelbart

Engelbart is often called the father of personal computing. In 1968, he produced an event so ground-breaking it earned the name "the mother of all demos."

At the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, Engelbart and his team demonstrated a powerful integrated personal computing system complete with robust collaborative features (some of which did not yet have these names): word processing, document sharing, trackback links, hypertext, version control, integrated text and graphics and, of course, the computer mouse.

These innovations have become the foundations of personal computing. He has received the highest honors for his contributions, including the 2000 National Medal of Technology from President Clinton. Engelbart is most famous for inventing the mouse, but his legacy lies with his conceptual framework that foreshadowed the shift from the Industrial Age to the Information Age.

Engelbart is considered by many to be one of the 20th century's greatest visionaries. Over the past 50 years, he has maintained that the mind-set of the linear book, the alphabet, and even the Web page no longer suffice for serious intellectual pursuits in a global context. To raise the collective IQ (a term of Engelbart's from the 1960s that caught on decades later) he calls for new ways of communicating: new symbols, new ways of structuring arguments, facts, and evidence.

This paradigm shift will enable us to tap into our collective perceptual capabilities for large scale collaboration, creating an evolutionary step well beyond Web 2.0 into a new paradigm for solving complex global problems from environmental threats to war.

Engelbart has always been far ahead of his time. Imagine reading his works in 1962, when room-sized computers, with disks the size of tractor tires, could cost millions of dollars. That was the year he described portable electronic devices connected together, enabling people to look up and share information on any subject.

During the dot.com boom at the dawn of the 21st century, bits and pieces of his framework emerged in interesting and unintended ways. Blogs, wikis, hypermedia, and networked communities of practice using dynamic knowledge repositories, such ass the Center for Disease Control website, the Human Genome project, and Wikipedia proliferated. But the haphazard, market-driven diffusion of technology lacks Engelbart s foundational philosophical framework for augmenting human intellect for solving complex problems. These writings by Engelbart and his colleagues place his well-known technology achievements in the context of his grand vision for a paradigm shift in our thinking. We believe that Engelbart s philosophy is at least as significant as his inventions.

His inventions were a result of his philosophy, thereby proving its validity. What Engelbart wants most and we want for him and for the world is for his philosophy to be understood, applied, improved upon, defined, and understood in a new way, to again be applied, improved, defined and....on and on. He calls it dialog. As a man who has always had ideas before words caught up to him, Engelbart has longed for discussion to help articulate his vision. We responded to Engelbart s call for dialog.

This edition is the latest synthesis of our years of conversation with him (Landau s goes back to 1985, Clegg s to 2004). We have published several versions, starting with an online book in 2004. We have devoted a chapter at the end of this edition to describe how we continually improved our improvement process to work with Engelbart.

In addition to choosing the best of Engelbart s words about his philosophy, we ve also included his memories of episodes in his life that shed light on his philosophy. And in keeping with Engelbart s commitment to dialog we have included chapters from people who have been in conversation with him.

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Review:

Centuries of silo thinking and win-or-die ideological and economic competition have finally generated a global crisis. Now either we collaborate on a global scale to solve the new global problems, or we won't survive. The technology is available to do so. Billions of intelligences are waiting to participate. How do we bring the two together? We are at a decision crossroads. And as this book vividly demonstrates, Doug Engelbart as been there all along, waiting for us with the answer.

Emmy-Award Winning Historian James Burke --Email to the authors

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Valerie Landau, Eileen Clegg
Published by NextPress (2009)
ISBN 10: 0615308902 ISBN 13: 9780615308906
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Book Description NextPress, 2009. Book Condition: Very Good. 2st Edition. Great condition for a used book! Minimal wear. Bookseller Inventory # GRP83721465

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