Monday, March 19, 2007

JCR Licklider and "Man Machine Symbiosis"

I thought that you might enjoy reading this article, which discusses Licklider's famous paper "Man Machine Symbiosis". Here is a teaser from this short note:
The sad truth is that several candidates could make a strong claim for ... [the] title [of the most important computer theorist you never heard about]. But when you consider the impact J.C.R. Licklider had on the technology industry, it's hard to square his impact with his subsequent near-anonymity.

Forty-seven years ago this month, Licklider published a 12-page essay with the offputting title "Man-Computer Symbiosis." I'd love to know what kind of impact he thought it might have.

Licklider passed away in 1990 but I did get to know him--a little--through the powerful vision in his writings. Similarly, Rick Rashid, who runs Microsoft Labs, recalled that "Man-Computer Symbiosis" is "an amazing piece to read--even today. It described aspects of what would become elements of personal computing and the Internet long before even the beginnings of either."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

From Tony Debons:

Licklider(Lic) was an associate ( and friend) of mine when he( at ARPA) and I at The USAF Research and Development Command at Mitre were responsible for extending the concept of the ARPA net that the services developed to serve a wide range of research(University) communities throughout the United States. Of course, the ARPA net is the precuror of the present day Internet. Licklider was a brilliant colleague with far reaching views of the role of the computer in almost aspects of human society. Later, in the 70's, I had invited Lick as guest Lecturer at the several NATO Instiitutes that NATO suported. Many benifited by his wisdom and general sense of humanity.

I am very grateful to you, Marty, for bringing the article to my attention. I am deeply grateful for Lick's frienship and wisdom.