Hiltmon

On walkabout in life and technology

RIP Doug Engelbart

Doug Engelbart passed away last night at age 88. I remember him as one of the names behind the beginnings of modern computers, inventing the mouse, hypertext, video conferencing and collaboration. But these were not the ends of his contributions, these were the means by which he tried to achieve his intent, to augment human intellect.

Too bad we use his inventions for Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, LOLCats and flame wars; we degrade human intellect.

The best way to remember him is this, written by Brett Victor on his blog in A few words on Doug Engelbart, (read it all):

The least important question you can ask about Engelbart is, "What did he build?" By asking that question, you put yourself in a position to admire him, to stand in awe of his achievements, to worship him as a hero. But worship isn't useful to anyone. Not you, not him.

The most important question you can ask about Engelbart is, "What world was he trying to create?" By asking that question, you put yourself in a position to create that world yourself.

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