Jul 25, 2014

Augmenting human intellect

Medieval mouse, Museum Meermanno, MMW, 10 B 25, Folio 24v
Engelbart's mouse, 1963

That’s the title of one of the foundational essays in the history of computing: Douglas Engelbart’s Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework (1962). Engelbart is mostly known today as the inventor of the computer mouse, but this device was only one component of a much more radical, pioneering vision for using computers as tools to enable human beings to perform complex tasks – not just as giant calculators, which was what computers were being used as in the 1960s, but as partners with human beings in a symbiotic relationship between people and machines.