Augmenting Human Intellect Nugget

In the  “Augmenting Human Intellect”, Doug Engelbart has written:

This report covers the first phase of a program aimed at developing means to augment the human intellect. These “means” can include many things–all of which appear to be but extensions of means developed and used in the past to help man apply his native sensory, mental, and motor capabilities–and we consider the whole system of a human and his augmentation means as a proper field of search for practical possibilities. It is a very important system to our society, and like most systems its performance can best be improved by considering the whole as a set of interacting components rather than by considering the components in isolation.


When I first saw the title “Augmenting Human Intellect”, I was thinking about some kind of chip implantation in human brain to improve cognitive ability, or some fancy genetics work that will alter and manipulate human genomes to improve human’s IQ. That’s why I found this nugget particularly cool and funny, I was just thinking about “isolating mechanism” then right in the reading, it said no, it is wrong, the right answer for maximizing human’s intellect is an interacting mechanism. This paper was written in the early day of computers, where these processing machines are only capable of storing and organizing data in an effective and convenience way. Like an extension of human mind, it augments human memory and processing information speed. The technology has came a long way. It isn’t just calculating for the sake of human anymore but essential part of our society nowadays. Today, the computer technology has thousands times faster CPU speed and high resolution, colorful, user-friendly interface. Its functions don’t just stop at calculating, sorting, typing, but as broad as video editing, web developing, coding, gaming, boundary-less communicating, etc. Interacting plays a huge role. A computer should not be looking at as a dead, pre-programmed machine that only capable of doing what it is designed to do. Being able to understand and communicating with one another, computers prove to be flexible, adaptive, manipulative to human need, Computers are there to assist human in unnecessary boring procedure, calculations, algorithm or repetitive works, thus boost human’s productivity and problem solving speed to another extent.

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1 Comment

  1. Did you watch the movie in the concept experience game? This would be an interesting contrast to the nugget you discuss here. — : )

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