Douglas Engelbart: The Mother of All Demos

Douglass Engelbart passed away today.

You probably don’t know his name but you should. He invented the computer mouse. He helped develop hypertext (those hyperlink thingies, for instance) networked computing, and pushed forward the field of human-computer interaction (that thing that helps make your computers work a little better for you.)

He decided when he got married that he wanted to change the world for the better, and that meant creating a way for more people to get together to make better decisions. He wasn’t the first to have this idea (J.C.R. Licklider wrote of such things), but he was one of the first to make this a reality.

You can start reading about him on his Wikipedia page and you can read what my friend Howard Rheingold wrote about him in “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Thinker.”

You can also watch “The Mother of All Demos” as he introduces the idea of computing to the world of non-engineers in 1968.