Nugget #3 “Augmenting Human Intellect”

“Augmenting Human Intellect” is about Engelbart’s idea of making¬† the world a better place with computers. I decided to do a little research on him after reading this article.¬†Here is a link to a Wikipedia page that tells you a little bit more about Engelbart. I found it interesting that he was the inventor of the mouse for computers. This alone is an example of him getting a step closer to making interactions between humans and computers easier! Below is a picture of Douglas Engelbart and the mouse he invented.


“Existing, or near-future, technology could certainly provide our professional problem-solvers with the artifacts they need to have for duplicating and rearranging text before their eyes, quickly and with a minimum of human effort. Even as apparently minor an advance could yield total changes in an individual’s repertoire hierarchy that would represent a great increase in over-all effectiveness. Normally the necessary equipment would enter the market slowly; changes from the expected would be small, people would change their ways of doing things a little at a time, and only gradually would their accumulated changes create markets for more radical versions of the equipment. Such an evolutionary process has been typical of the way our repertoire hierarchies have grown and formed.”

Douglas C. Engelbart

I chose to focus on this passage because I feel like technology has really come a long way since Engelbart’s paper. He talks about how, “technology could certainly provide our professional problem-solvers with the artifacts they need to have for duplicating and rearranging text before their eyes”. Today, people can talk into their phones and their voice will immediately be translated into text before their eyes. I am sure that this technology is used for other purposes and not just sending text messages. Programmers or people like “Tony Stark” from Iron man talk to their computers and it is not because they are crazy. It is because it is faster than typing out words. Here is a link to an interesting article on It is about a team that is working to make a version of JARVIS, like the artificial intelligence computer Tony Stark uses in the movie Iron Man. This is a great example of computers helping people because look at what Tony got away with in the movie Iron Man. Now, granted it is a fictional story, but so was Blade Runner. Look at how much of that technology is real today.

You can click on the picture to see the GIF. I did not know how to make it play automatically.


Engelbart also talks about how technology is kind of introduced slowly into the market. People are always creating newer technology and constantly improving it. There are so many great examples of this. Computers, cellphone, cars, even suing machines! Those things have gotten pretty fancy. Cars did not jump from a horse drawn carriage to a 2014 corvette in just a couple of years. It was a slow process of evolution that has led to the luxury automobiles we drive today. This being said, I am starting to see the trend of technology improving at a faster rate today than it may have when Engalbart wrote this paper. Buying the newest phone these days is almost pointless because it will only be the newest for a few months before something else outperforms it. It is a fast pace market full of innovations that make what use to be very involved tasks so mundane.

Understanding that technology is improving at a faster rate means that our “professional problem-solvers” are getting more and more”artifacts” to help them. The advancements in technology and the tie between humans and computers is so interesting because as technology grows, so does the tie between humans and computers. It is like the Man Computer-Symbiosis is only a few steps away from where we are today.

tech advance

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