Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-5c569c448b-t6r6x Total loading time: 0.437 Render date: 2022-07-02T10:46:01.867Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Chapter 3 - Augmenting the Intellect: NLS

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 September 2013

Get access

Summary

Dr Douglas Engelbart is a softly spoken man. His voice is low yet persuasive, as though ‘his words have been attenuated by layers of meditation’, his friend Nilo Lindgren wrote in 1971 (cited in Rheingold 2000, 178). I struggled to hear him, being partially deaf myself, but that didn't matter; he has been describing the same vision in great detail to journalists, historians and engineers for over 60 years. The words change slightly in each interview, but the vision remains clear and sweeping, like a horizon line on a bright summer's day. Engelbart wants to improve the model of the human, to ‘boost our capacity to deal with complexity’ as a species (Engelbart 1999).

To get what he means by ‘boost our capacity’ as a species, we must first understand his philosophical framework. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, this framework profoundly influenced his own approach to invention in the '60s and '70s. Secondly, it represents a fascinating (and novel) theory of technical evolution, a topic we have already started to explore in this book.

Engelbart believes that human beings live within an existing technical and cultural system, an ‘augmentation’ system. We are born with a particular set of genetic capabilities, and then we build on these innate capabilities using tools, techniques, skills, language and technology. There is no ‘naked ape’; from the moment we are born we are always already augmented by language, tools and technologies.

Type
Chapter
Information
Memory Machines
The Evolution of Hypertext
, pp. 37 - 64
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2013

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×