Inter-Tech Overload

Douglas Engelbart and Modern Computing

October 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Samuel Phineas Upham

These days, most of us interact with computers which means that almost all of us use a mouse to interact with elements we see on the screen. That human-computer interaction is the brainchild of Douglas Engelbart, who was one of the earliest pioneers of the power of the Internet.

He worked with the Augment Research Center Lab, where he pioneered the study of how humans interacted with computers. There, he developed important ideologies that guide much of computer usage today. Aside from the mouse, Engelbart also helped to develop a pre-cursor to the graphical user interface.

During the early 1950s, he stopped thinking about his career in the typical sense and moved away from the concept of a “steady job”. He believed his talents were best focused on solving the world’s complex problems. He thought very hard about how best to do this, and he ultimately came up with the idea that augmenting human intelligence was the only true method forward. As a result, computing became dear to his heart.

Engelbart’s philosophy was that tools needed to be improved constantly for there to be any kind of human progress. He was vocal about developing computer networks to exchange information, and emphasized the importance he felt computers had in the modernizing world.

Engelbart was prominent throughout the 1960s and 70s. He was able to gain funding for most of his concepts, which enabled him to work on ideas he’d cultivated for decades. Unfortunately, that funding and interest dried up in 1986. He retired and lived a quiet life until his death in 2013.

About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or Facebook.

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