douglas_engelbart_and_i_bcnet2004It was great to see and meet Doctor Douglas Engelbart at BCNET 2004 today. He is inspirational and a great thinker and the inventor of the mouse and many of the concepts behind today’s computers including windowing systems, email and many more.

My notes aren’t very good (click [read the rest of this entry] to see them). But there might be some nuggets in them that might help others. Better to check out Douglas Engelbart’s site at Or check out my two sentence summary of Dr. Engelbart’s keynote over at Urban Vancouver. Or check out my 3 minute video of Engelbart’s first 3 minutes. Or my photos of Engelbart’s BCNET 2004 keynote which include his slides.

Can you tell I’ve had no sleep or caffeine :-) ! richard smith
- communications prof SFU - - Plone blog Tim Devlin - client services BC NET - CONTEST: devise creative and innovative ways of using big honkin’ network
- giving 9.5K to 4 grad students Chinook and Sockeye projects - UBC - big kahuna, best overall application - p2p distributed bioinformatics server ifinder sfu - extracting relevant info from data files e.g. Google best chance of commercial success grid canada resource optimizer Brian corey - most innovative best broadband usage - danniel vandister iCor sponsor of conference - Alberta - recruit outstanding technical research people focused on AB universities - introducing Dr. Engelbart phd UC Berkley 20 year career at SRI conference in 1968, best demo of all time! ‘the click heard round the world’ - January issue of wired WYSIWYG text editing, mouse - 1968!!!!!!!!! 7 years at Time Share then McDonnell Douglas last 15 years at Bootstrap Institute 3 kinds of activity a) normal org work b) activity improving a) c) improving improvement process 20 patents including mouse 35 awards 2001 industry hall of fame 2001 loveless medal (Britain) 2000 Clinton 2000 computer hall of fame (top innovator of all time) 1999 Van Neumann medal 1999 Benjamin Franklin Medal 1997 ACM Turing award 1997 Discovery online hackers hall of fame

Icor's motto - heart of every success story are amazing people  e.g. Doug Engelbart
grew up in woods outside portland
gee whiz country boy
dream about making a dirigible
impractical side forever
1951 read one book about computers
electrical engineer working w/nasa
no goal - steady job and interesting work
2 hours idea from naive country boy
maximize benefit to humanity
took some months to flesh out
world is getting more complex
must get better collectively or world will crash
still believes that
started in 1950 - how to make ourselves smarter
WWII trained as electronic technician
punch cards, print, put stuff on a screen - that's what he knew
image of this in 1951 - this time of the year in 1951
if you are naive, you keep plugging and feed things out
viscosity of trying to move is hard
prevailing paradigms like heavy viscosity
shifting paradigms is amorphous
if you try to do stuff that doesn't meet prevailing paradigms
people at this conference are talking at a level that he's been waiting for a long time
how much more effectively can we learn to harness the machinery we have
the potential
web brought us so far, potential is much much further
like the invention of the alphabet
computer can give you sensory things that are much different
paradigm is that knowledge comes like you see things in a book
WYSIWYG is not enough
want link to passage (right from the beg, his hypertext had it)
show me only first line of paragraph
don't set the cost of learning at the middle
start talking about the capability
what's the value of increased capability
learning how to read gives you knowledge capability
nobody debates this cost
but what about the cost of using computer capability
so what if it costs learning?
build it and see - find ways to measure capability levels
scale of problems go up
scale of making changes must adapt
real challenge is how to set up improvement infra that facilitates evolution
need way to open up community dialog
last published in 1992 because nobody talked to him about it
have to have a strategic framework because of the scale of the problems
As much as possible, to boost mankind's collective IQ
collective IQ is primary strategic focus
developing, integrating and applying knowledge
recorded dialog resides in dynamic knowledge repository
capability of any individual or group is actually an infra
where's the cursor - 'some people just can't keep up' :-) 
techies - tool system fixes capability
    e.g. elevators 1st to 4th, so build bigger buildings -> congestion ->
        social changes
human systems
    cultivation tools - hunter gatherers don't have to roam-> settle down->commerce-> towns -> immense social changes
concurrent evolution of tool and human systems must be taken into account
Basic Human Capabilities - Sensory, perceptual, motor, mental
need skills knowledge and training
Augment human capability
computer is just another category of augmentation artifact
the smaller you make a device, at some point it's too small to work
devices change characteristic at linear and other scales
more computer power will be available in 15 or 20 years than you can imagine
e.g. hold in your device power  in that's equal to today's computing power
ultra wide band with super small devices
no such thing as privacy - do some good e.g. corruption
degrees of changes are limitless
logjams to solve problems
how many autos can the world support?
just bringing the amount up is not a simple answer
must be able to collectively enable ourselves to understand complex things
collective iq is not a 'that would be nice' - we need it or we will crash
basic human capabilities (sensory, perceptual, motor, mental) - this interface is much more significant than HCI - i.e. the interface between basic human capabilities and capability infra and tool system and augmentation system
more than scrolling
pedestrian - GUI interface nice intro to 70s and 60s
GUI is pidgin english - we are all grunting, vocab is poor
we need much more flexible sophisticated vocab about the objects we manipulate
facilitating evolution is HUGE challenge requires effective strategies in applying our resources
concurrent evolution of society's dynamic knowledge repositories (DKRs)
if we get better at this, this will help us with all kinds of things
can't specify must depend of evolutionary process
how can we learn to facilitate this?
how can this get integrated?
must be dynamically done over time
every coherent community must have process to keep up to date and integrate
inevitable that all knowledge in DKRs will be online
we gave up stone tablets
so we can give up paper
only use it for snapshots (this is my take, not doug's)
publish right away, get settled, structure argumentation, can backtrack, as it matures over time, peer review comes after and is much more meaningful based on where the world is actually moving
why do I say this
community consensus emerges
suzuki and kroker at conscience and science conference WOSC center at 1:15
human paradigms lag behind opportunities
human skills, culture, government already lagging
networked improvement community (NIC)
when is it going to be that whatever comes out of this meeting is IMMEDIATELY integrated instead of being very defused
organize ourselves into a NIC
publish journals afterwards (after meetings) NICs are just an evolution
bigger frontier opening up
what's the best group in your org that can meet the challenges of this frontier
we need a NIC whose DKR provides the best understanding of the current and projected states of the frontier
saying this to make us feel guilty
making NIC infra work is different than conference infra
need boot strap feedback loop!!!    
The better we get better at getting better the faster we can improve
the need for an open hyperdocument system (OHS)
need interfaces that allow experimentation
evolvability doesn't come from proprietary systems
hyperscope - special kind of link - intermediate processor that transforms a file into a normal, allows addressability, multiple views, links to this hyperscope, certain link types, does it for all media and document types
don't have to move on to use it can still use existing stuff

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