Archive for January, 2010

Englebart's Augmenting Human Intellect

January 28, 2010

Douglas Englebart was a true visionary in the world of computers. The fact that he was able to predict so much about the capability of computers (what computers are to us today) at such an early time period is simply amazing. He saw the computer as a tool to “augment” human comprehension and/or understanding on a number of different levels. He foresaw this technology benefitting a broad array of different professional fields, including attorneys, diplomats, executives, social and physical scientists. According to Englebart, the computer would provide greater insight and thus give us a better understanding and also give us speedier solutions to problems. Englebart saw endless possibilities for the future of computers.  Englebart wrote this in 1962, a time when computers were looked at as tools for simple computations.  Englebart saw computers as personal aids in the development of mankind; and for that I admire him.

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Kaye and Goldberg's Essay & Campbell's Lecture

January 26, 2010

“The computer is an instrument who’s music is ideas.”  – Alan Kaye

Out of the many insightful things Gaurdner Campbell had to say about Kaye and Goldberg’s essay, it was that quote that struck me the most interesting.  Although the quote wasn’t from the essay, it says a lot about the potential Kaye saw in the future of computers and technology.  So often we take computers for granted, without realizing the power we hold at our fingertips.  Professor Campbell uses this quote by Kaye to emphasize the lack of appreciation we have towards these awe-inspiring devices.  Campbell says that once we grasp the computer as an instrument to which the music is our ideas, we will nor longer view them as just “stuff.”  Personally, this whole concept is mind boggling to me, for I was once one of those who saw the computer as simply another one of my accessories.  Now, I have a whole new insight as to what I am capable of through this tool or “instrument” that is the personal computer.  Another point Campbell made that struck a chord in me was how we define “space.”  The concept was a little hard to grasp for me, but I still wanted to mention that I am interested in diving deeper into that idea.