Douglas Engelbart – perhaps the last of the great American inventors – is dead. The newspapers are keen to remind everyone that Engelbart invented the computer mouse, but they are largely silent on the matter of his having personally created almost every one of the concepts we think of as part of the standard human-computer interface, including the very idea of an interactive graphical workstation. This is because a silent army of dutiful piss-ants is, by unspoken agreement, always given credit for the bulk of their betters’ accomplishments.
The video clip below is the opening segment of what has long been known as “The Mother of All Demos.” If you have not seen “The Mother of All Demos,” your education in the history of computing is woefully incomplete:
Who among those living today could hope to produce something equaling the pure novelty – the sheer intellectual audacity – of just a single one of the things which appear in “The Mother of All Demos” ?