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My Vision - A Forgotten History

A forgotten history-1


This article was published on April 26, 2021 by Alan Chan, co-founder of Heptabase, one month before he started building the early-alpha version of Heptabase.


In My Vision: The Context, I mentioned that my vision for the next ten years is “To accelerate the speed of the human’s intellectual and technological progress to the theoretical limit.” To achieve this vision, I want to build a truly universal Open Hyperdocument System that I redesigned. In My Vision: A New City, I mentioned that I want to build on that system the next generation of the Internet that incorporates certain ambition and use it to empower all mankind.

Before I explain the Open Hyperdocument System that I redesigned for the next generation of the internet, in this article, I want to talk about the vision of computer pioneers and thinkers in the 1960s, when personal computers, object-oriented programming, graphical user interface, ethernet, and other technologies haven’t been invented yet.

Douglas Engelbart: Augmenting Collective IQ

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Douglas Engelbart was an electrical engineer from UC Berkeley. Two years after receiving his Ph.D., he took a position at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and started his research on “Augment Human Intellect.” The reason he decided to research such a topic can be traced back to the 1950s when young Engelbart had the following findings:

  1. All the complex problems in history have been solved by a group of adults working together.

  2. The complexity and urgency of the problems facing human society today are increasing at an unprecedented rate.

  3. There are limits to what humans can do with the basic capabilities they are born with. Whenever we want to understand complex situations and solve complex problems, we have to introduce other means to augment our basic capabilities. These means fall into four broad categories: artifacts, language, methodologies, and training.

Based on these three findings, Engelbart believed that if we seriously want to solve these problems that are more complex and urgent than ever, we must augment humans’ ability to solve problems collectively, which he defined as collective intelligence. And to augment human collective intelligence, the most effective way is to treat “a group of trained human beings together with their artifacts, language, and methodology” as an entire system and find ways to optimize such a system’s overall efficiency.

In doing this systematic thinking, Engelbart found that whenever the rules of human society (e.g., language, patterns of thought, patterns of behavior, education, ways of doing things, organizational structures, universal values) change, new needs will emerge, and people will create new tools to meet those needs; on the other hand, whenever old tools become obsolete, and new tools become popular, these new tools, in turn, affect the rules of human society. This idea is very similar to what historian Yuval Harari proposed in Homo Deus:

Why did Marx and Lenin succeed where Hong and the Mahdi failed? Not because socialist humanism was philosophically more sophisticated than Islamic and Christian theology, but rather because Marx and Lenin devoted more attention to understanding the technological and economic realities of their time than to perusing ancient texts and prophetic dreams.

Marx and Lenin studied how a steam engine functions, how a coal mine operates, how railroads shape the economy and how electricity influences politics. There can be no communism without electricity, without railroads, without radio. You couldn’t establish a communist regime in sixteenth-century Russia, because communism necessitates the concentration of information and resources in one hub. ‘From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs’ only works when produce can easily be collected and distributed across vast distances, and when activities can be monitored and coordinated over entire countries.

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Socialism, which was very up to date a hundred years ago, failed to keep up with the new technology. Leonid Brezhnev and Fidel Castro held on to ideas that Marx and Lenin formulated in the age of steam, and did not understand the power of computers and biotechnology. Liberals, in contrast, adapted far better to the information age. This partly explains why Khrushchev’s 1956 prediction never materialised, and why it was the liberal capitalists who eventually buried the Marxists. If Marx came back to life today, he would probably urge his few remaining disciples to devote less time to reading Das Kapital and more time to studying the Internet and the human genome.

After realizing the co-evolution relationship between humans and tools, Engelbart had a new understanding of the meaning of tools: when we create a tool, we should not only think about what the tool can do but also think about how the tool might affect human society. As a toolmaker with a vision, Engelbart wondered: What kind of tools can we build to help human society evolve new rules, such that the new tools and the new rules can have this synergy that augments the collective intelligence of mankind?

Engelbart finally came up with his answer: We need to create Dynamic Knowledge Repositories (DKRs), a new kind of tool that can integrate and update the latest knowledge held by a group of people and allows others to use it anytime, anywhere. Such tools would not have been possible in the printing era because paper, as a static physical medium, has physical limitations that make it difficult to efficiently update or integrate collective knowledge. In the 1960s, however, computer technology was taking off, and this new technology made it possible to create Dynamic Knowledge Repositories.

Engelbart’s vision and career culminated on December 9, 1968. He and his team at SRI demonstrated the phased prototype they had built: the oNLine System (NLS). It was the first demo of Windows, Hypertext, Graphics, Command Input, Video conferencing, Computer Mouse, Word Processing, Dynamic File Linking, Revision Control, Collaborative Real-Time Editor, etc. This demo shook up the computer world. The NLS system is later considered the earliest prototype of all modern computer technology, and that demo had come to be known as “The Mother of All Demos.”

In 1968, however, the NLS system cost millions of dollars to manufacture, making it impossible to commercialize. On the other hand, the Dynamic Knowledge Repositories Engelbart envisioned were based on the ideas of “computer networks” that could collaborate and connect in real-time. But at a time when centralized thinking was frowned upon, young engineers were suspicious of the idea of letting other people work on their computers through “computer networks.” Many of Engelbart’s core engineers left SRI around 1970 to work on the “personal computer” at Xerox PARC for all of these reasons.

After the Vietnam War, ARPA and NASA reduced their funding to SRI, and the SRI managers were unable to understand Engelbart’s vision at the time. All these reasons led to a decline in Engelbart’s career and his firing in 1976. Without resources and manpower, Engelbart’s talents went untapped for a long time. It took until the 1990s for people to appreciate Engelbart’s contribution to the computer industry.

Through the years, Engelbart continued to advocate his vision of augmenting humans’ collective intelligence and proposed the design of the “Open Hyperdocument System.” The Open Hyperdocument System was the culmination of his many years of research, and the NLS was only an early prototype of it. In Engelbart’s vision, there were many Dynamic Knowledge Repositories, large and small, on the Internet. All of them and the tools surrounding them use the same protocols to communicate. However, since the Open Hyperdocument System design was proposed, it still has not been implemented on the Internet as we know it today.

Ted Nelson: Literary Machines

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Ted Nelson was raised in a literary family. His father was an Emmy-winning director, and his mother was an Oscar-winning actress. Unlike Engelbart, who came from an engineering background, Nelson majored in philosophy and earned his master’s degree in sociology from Havard. While studying for his master’s degree, Nelson took a course on machine languages and assemblers, realizing that the computer was not just a mathematical machine, nor was it just an engineering machine, but a universal machine that could do all kinds of things. From then on, he had the idea of using this machine to change the way we think about “writing.”

Nelson has long felt that linear writing is a shackle to the mind. He pointed out that our mind consisted of a network of interconnected ideas. The goal of writing should be to present the reader with the “real structure” of how ideas were connected. However, there are three main problems with linear writing:

First, you have to force these ideas into a particular sequence.

Second, you have to make trade-offs and leave out ideas that can’t fit into the current sequential order.

Third, for different types of readers, the same content should be presented in different narrative structures. Ideal writing should decouple content from the structure. Authors should have a unified “content library,” such that they can use different narrative structures to write articles for different readers, based on the contents in this content library. These articles can be regarded as different versions of the same content, which exist parallel in the same time and space.

To solve the problems with linear writing, Nelson coined the concept of “hypertext,” which refers to “non-sequential text with free user movements.” Nelson pointed out that hypertext had long been a part of our daily lives. A post-it note in a book, an annotation in the corner of a newspaper, a reference at the end of a paper, or a content box inside a magazine page, they’re all hypertext. Now that we have computers, it’s the medium that’s best suited to implementing hypertext in history, and it’s the medium that’s going to disrupt the publishing industry.

Nelson’s vision was to use computer technology to create a hypertext-based digital repository scheme for world-wide electronic publishing that is open to all humanity and to which anyone can contribute new content. You are free to use any content in this digital repository to create your work, paying only a small fee to its original author. You can edit the same content into different versions and use it in different articles through transclusion. You can even create hyperlinks between contents. What’s more, all of these embedded, hyperlinked relationships are saved bi-directionally. When you look at a piece of content, you can find all the other contents relevant to this piece of content.

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To achieve this vision, Ted Nelson started Project Xanadu in the 1960s. But even if Project Xanadu’s team had a deep insight into computers’ potential, their ideas were way ahead of their time, and the technology wasn’t yet there to turn Nelson’s vision into reality. Simultaneously, Project Xanadu had long been criticized for its haphazard design process, poor management skills, and lack of attention to market needs, which resulted in the company never having any products tested in the market. After forty years, Project Xanadu became the longest-lasting Vaporware in the history of technology. The winner in the market was the World Wide Web, designed by Tim Berners-Lee with HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

Alan Kay: Dynamic Medium

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Alan Kay was raised in a very special family. His father was a physiologist who designed prosthetic limbs, and his mother was a musician. He majored in Molecular Biology with a minor in Mathematics and was also a professional jazz guitarist. After college, Kay received his master’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 1968 and Ph.D. in Computer Science in 1969. In graduate school, he witnessed Douglas Engelbart’s “The Mother of All Demos” and was deeply inspired. In 1970, Kay joined Xerox PARC to build personal computers, which laid the technical foundation for the computer industry’s future development.

For Kay, science, art and technology are not fundamentally different. They are all forms. The only difference between the three is that the ultimate critic of these forms is slightly different. The ultimate critic of science forms is Nature. A science form can only be good if it can help us better understand how Nature works and make the invisible visible. For example, we can’t see electromagnetic waves, but we can study them with mathematical symbols. In contrast, the ultimate critics of art forms are human beings. The quality of an art form depends on the subjective judgment of human beings. We can all interpret the meaning of an art form in our way. Technological forms are special. They are a mixture of science forms and art forms: good technology should conform to the principles of Nature but also help people live a better life.

When Kay learned about computers, he realized that computers’ real power was their ability to simulate arbitrary descriptions quickly and instantly. Computers can not only perform calculations; they can also give immediate feedback, which paper can’t do. Such a dynamic nature made Kay believe that computers have the potential to become a “metamedium” of all media. To understand what Alan Kay was thinking, we have to introduce Bret Victor, an expert on modern human-computer interaction.

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Victor is a principal investigator at Dynamicland, a human-computer interaction research center formerly known as the CDG Lab (Communications Design Group), which Victor and Kay co-founded in 2014. Victor pointed out that no matter what ideas we want to express, we always need to use certain representations to do so, such as body language, spoken language, words, mathematical symbols, music scores, and visual images. The function of a representation is that it helps us think about things that we cannot think about with other representations. For example, ancient philosophers mainly used “spoken language” and “words” to think about the physic principles behind the world, but what modern scientists are better than ancient philosophers is that we use a new representation called “mathematical symbols” to study physics. A lot of physics theory can only be discovered when we use mathematical symbols. Similarly, Feynman invented a new representation called the Feynman diagram because ordinary mathematical symbols could not clearly express the ideas of the quantum field.

To create great ideas, we need great representations. And to invent great representations, we need a powerful medium. Spoken language is a representation that uses air as its medium; written language is a representation that uses paper as its medium. For a medium to be useful, it has to meet two characteristics. First, useful representations can live on the medium. Second, humans can use their capabilities to create useful representations on the medium. Air is a medium, not only because it can carry sound waves of different frequencies but also because humans can create these sound waves with their vocal cords. Paper is a medium, not only because it can carry written symbols and visual images but also because humans can draw them with their fingers.

The purpose of a medium is to “enable humans to use their capabilities to create representations of ideas,” and whether a medium is good or bad depends on whether the representations it can carry are rich enough and whether the process of humans creating these representations is simple enough. That’s what Kay kept thinking when he saw a computer. The Smalltalk Project, which Kay led at Xerox PARC, aimed to make the computer a medium that anyone in any field could use. The main focus of the Smalltalk team at that time was to build two things:

  1. A programming language that can be intuitively understood and used by the human brain and effectively interpreted by a computer.
  2. A set of user interfaces that allow people to effectively interact with computers.

These two things eventually became known as object-oriented programming language and graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

In inventing the object-oriented programming language, the Smalltalk team’s design principle was that anyone could use the language to create useful representations on a computer and clearly define the rules that those representations have to follow. For example, a composer can use the language to write a music application through abstracting concepts such as Note, Melody, Score, and Timbre into different “classes” and defining the attributes and rules of these “classes” (e.g., storing the frequency of a note in a floating-point variable), and the relationship between these “classes” (e.g., a melody is an array of notes).

When we execute the application, the computer entities these “classes” into “objects” that communicate with each other within the application following predefined rules and change state based on the obtained information. The composer can “see” these objects through the graphical user interface and “hear” these objects through the speaker. At this point, the application created by the composer is a new medium that can express musical ideas, and the objects he sees and hears in the application are the representations he invented in this medium. A composer can change a few melodies and immediately hear the new music. By adding a few lines of code, he can visualize music and use his eyes to understand it. He can also immediately listen to what the same score sounds like when played with different instruments.

Representations exist to help us understand a system that we want to understand. In the past, we used words and speech to understand human society, and mathematical symbols and images to understand the universe. Now that object-oriented programming languages have been invented, anyone can use them to invent a new medium on a computer and create different representations on that medium to simulate the system they wish to understand.

Architects can simulate architectural designs in three-dimensional space; doctors can simulate the chemical reaction system of drugs; physicists can simulate hypothetical worlds dominated by certain physical laws; mathematicians can simulate the abstract structure of mathematical formulas; business people can simulate the outcomes of different business decisions; government officials can simulate the effects of new policies on society.

Aside from Smalltalk, Kay’s most widely known computer idea was the Dynabook he drew after meeting Seymour Papert, an MIT mathematician & computer scientist. Papert was heavily influenced by the developmental psychologist Jean Piaget, who argued that “learning by play” was the most powerful and natural way to learn. That’s why he created Logo, a programming language that children can use to learn math concepts. After seeing Papert’s work, Kay was deeply inspired and came up with the idea of Dynabook, where children could use a programming language to make space games and learn physics concepts without realizing it.

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Kay and Papert are both building things with the same core idea: that computers will redefine learning. Learning is no longer about passively receiving knowledge but about actively simulating different systems and developing a deeper understanding of the systems you are simulating. Education in the 21st century should allow children to simulate different systems on computers easily, acquire knowledge about these systems, and acquire understandings of this knowledge.

Kay argues that the last time there was a qualitative change in the thinking of human society was during the Printing Revolution. The great works of science, philosophy, and literature were made possible by printing, which allows everyone to think and learn using paper as a medium. Now we have a new medium, the computer, which will lead to another qualitative change. The Computer Revolution will bring us even more powerful ways of thinking and learning compared to Printing Revolution.

Unfulfilled Visions

Douglas Engelbart wanted to use computers to help adults work together and solve difficult problems collectively. Ted Nelson wanted to use computers to help creators create an open and pluralism publishing world. Alan Kay wanted to use computers to help humans create powerful representations to simulate and understand different systems, and then set off the second thought and education revolution in human history. These giants of computing history had big visions in the 1960s, but those visions have yet to be realized due to the constraints of their time.

Let’s start with Alan Kay.

What Alan Kay has been emphasizing, and which is now at the heart of Bret Victor’s design philosophy, is that the computer is a “dynamic medium.” The essence of a computer is not the keyboard, the mouse, and the screen. It’s computational and responsive capabilities that don’t exist in a static medium like paper. We should use this dynamic medium to create dynamic representations that can only exist on this medium, to think about ideas that can only be thought of on this medium.

However, Kay believes that most people in the world are still living in the previous paradigm, and that most people are still using computers to simulate old media and create old representations on them. A PDF is an analog of paper, a movie player is an analog of television, and a music player is an analog of a record player. We use the new medium to do what the old medium can do, sometimes not as well as the old medium. Like the clergy of the 15th century saw the printing press and only wanted to use it to print the Bible, modern people have computers but have not yet unleashed the full potential of this dynamic medium.

On the other hand, Kay has a big complaint about the way modern people use computers. Many people will compare the Apple iPad to Kay’s Dynabook, but the two are entirely different for Kay. The fact that we can make computers into tablets is bound to happen sooner or later under Moore’s law of integrated circuits. The point of the Dynabook was not that it was a tablet, but that it revealed the most important use of computers: to help us think, create and learn. Kay inspired Steve Jobs to turn Apple’s products into “bicycles for the mind.” Yet, for many years, most modern people still use computers as a consumer device.

Let’s move on to Ted Nelson.

Ted Nelson is arguably the most critical person in the World today about the World Wide Web. We can see his comments on our World Wide Web today in Ted Nelson on the Web as Hypertext and Ted Nelson’s Computer Paradigm, Expressed as One-Liners:

Today’s nightmarish new world is controlled by “webmasters”, tekkies unlikely to understand the niceties of text issues and preoccupied with the Web’s exploding alphabet soup of embedded formats. XML is not an improvement but a hierarchy hamburger. Everything, everything must be forced into hierarchical templates! And the “semantic web” means that tekkie committees will decide the world’s true concepts for once and for all.

HTML is precisely what we were trying to PREVENT — ever-breaking links, links going outward only, quotes you can’t follow to their origins, no version management, no rights management.

Markup must not be embedded. Hierarchies and files must not be part of the mental structure of documents. Links must go both ways. All these fundamental errors of the Web must be repaired. But the geeks have tried to lock the door behind them to make nothing else possible.

Even if Nelson hates the World Wide Web, we have to admit that this is the world we live in. Huge ecosystems have been built on such networks, and it is extremely difficult to correct these “fundamental errors” from the bottom. Alan Kay commented on Ted Nelson’s career in Intertwingled Festival:

An ancient proverb says that, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Robert Heinlein’s version of this proverb is that, in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is in for one hell of a rough time! My version is that, in the country of blind, the one-eyed people run things and the two-eyed people are in for one hell of a rough time. That said, we owe much of civilization to the insights and suffering of the tiny number of two-eyed people. Ted Nelson was one of those few two-eyed people. We owe much to him, and this is being celebrated today.

A two-eyed person — Ted Nelson — comes up with a glorious symphony of how life will be so much deeper and richer if we just did X, but the regular world acts as a low-pass filter on the ideas. In the end, he is lucky to get a dial tone. The blind won’t see it, and the one-eyed people will only catch a glimpse, but all of them think their sense or glimpse of the elephant is the whole thing. In our day and age, if they think money can be made from their glimpse, something will happen. They want to sell to the mass market of the blind so they will narrow the glimpse down even more. They could be educators and help the blind learn how to see; this is what science has done for the entire human race. But learning to see is a chore, so most, especially marketing people, are not interested. This is too bad, especially when we consider the efforts the two-eyed people like Ted have to go through to even have a glimpse happen. One of the keys is for the two-eyed people to turn into evangelists. Both Ted and our mutual hero, Douglas Engelbart, worked tirelessly over their lifetimes to point out that, in this dial-tone world, the emperor not only has no clothes but his cell phone can’t transmit real music.

Finally, Douglas Engelbart.

Engelbart died in 2013. Many of us in 2020 have never heard of Engelbart. Many people who know Engelbart think of him as “the inventor of the mouse” and “an early contributor to computer technology.” However, as Alan Kay pointed out, Douglas Engelbart and Ted Nelson were both binocular. If we blind and one-eyed people are to understand the true contribution of binocular people to the world, we have to put aside our preoccupations.

Engelbart had a vision, and our world is still a long way from that vision. The best way to understand how far the vision is is to look at what other computer giants have to say about Engelbart’s vision and the current state of computer technology.

On the day Engelbart died, Bret Victor published an article called A few words on Doug Engelbart, in which he wrote:

Engelbart’s vision, from the beginning, was collaborative. His vision was people working together in a shared intellectual space. His entire system was designed around that intent.

Our computers are fundamentally designed with a single-user assumption through-and-through, and simply mirroring a display remotely doesn’t magically transform them into collaborative environments.

If you attempt to make sense of Engelbart’s design by drawing correspondences to our present-day systems, you will miss the point, because our present-day systems do not embody Engelbart’s intent. Engelbart hated our present-day systems.

Alan Kay made many similar points in his How to Invent the Future lecture and in an interview with FastCompany magazine:

The whole impetus behind the ARPA research and inventions of these things, and particularly people like Engelbart, was to try to invent new tools and new media for humanity to get itself out of its problems. Engelbart, for example, said, “Almost everything important that has a consequence in the adult world is done by adults working together.” This is why his system was collaborative. Here’s an interesting thing. Here’s a Mac. Some people have Linux, some people have Windows on it. Not a single one of the main operating systems today has built into it the thing that Engelbart showed in 1968, which is the intrinsic thing to the ability to share any content that you’re looking at with anybody else, to the point of allowing them to interact with it and to talk back and forth.

All three operating systems we have today that are the main ones are old, old ideas. They don’t even get to where PARC was on the notion of how processes can coordinate with each other. There are many, many other of these things. Because these operating systems are rather similar to each other and because they’re pervasive, unless you use your reality kit, you’re going to think that they’re normal and therefore that’s the way things should be.

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You have Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web who was a physicist, who knew he would be thrown out of physics if he didn’t know what Newton did. He didn’t check to find out that there was a Douglas Engelbart.

And so, his conception of the World Wide Web was infinitely tinier and weaker and terrible. His thing was simple enough with other unsophisticated people to wind up becoming a de facto standard, which we’re still suffering from. You know, HTML is terrible and most people can’t see it.

At least give us what Engelbart did, for Christ’s sake.

Finally, the best summary of Engelbart, I think, was Ted Nelson’s eulogy in 2013 at a memorial service honoring Engelbart:

The real ashes to be mourned are the ashes of Doug’s great dreams and vision, that we dance around in the costume party of fonts that swept aside his ideas of structure and collaboration.

Don’t get me wrong, the people who gave us all those fonts were idealists too, in their way — they just didn’t necessarily hold a very high view of human potential.

I used to have a high view of human potential. But no one ever had such a soaring view of human potential as Douglas Carl Engelbart — and he gave us wings to soar with him, though his mind flew on ahead, where few could see.

Like Icarus, he tried to fly too far too fast, and the wings melted off. The melt-off began after the Great Demo of 1968. His team dispersed to seek fortunes elsewhere; and he was subordinated to an artificial intelligence department, where his real intelligence was stifled.

All too soon the Augmentation Research Center was gone, fobbed off on an aircraft company.

He was cast out for the next 30 years into the endless spiral of what they call in Hollywood “Development Hell” — trying to find backing.

Let us never forget that Doug Engelbart was dumped by ARPA, Doug Engelbart was dumped by SRI, Doug Engelbart was snubbed by Xerox PARC, and for the rest of his working life he had no chance to take us further.

But for Doug that great demo was only the beginning.

That great demo which defined the corners of our world was only Square One of his endless new checkerboard– the great playing field, the great workplace of sharing, cooperation and understanding he sought to create, and (alas) that only he could imagine.

Just as we can only guess what John Kennedy might have done, we can only guess what Doug Engelbart might have done had he not been cut down in his prime.

Perhaps the Dynamic Knowledge Repository he imagined — the D.K.R. — would not be feasible in a real-world corporation.

Perhaps his notion of accelerating collaboration and cooperation was a pipe dream in this dirty world of organizational politics, jockeying and backstabbing and euphemizing evil.

Of course he was naïve!

Gandhi and Martin Luther King pretended to be naïve, but Doug was the real thing– a luminous innocent, able to do in all innocence what sophisticates could not, would not, dare.

But that naiveté accomplished a dazzling amount in those few years of his Augmentation Research Center, even as the knives were being sharpened for him.

Did he actually have any more great inventions under that halo?

We’ll never know, will we?

Doug hoped eventually to take on all the urgent and complex problems of humanity, dealing with them in parallel he saw as the true and final challenge.

Could he have done it somehow: given us exalted, radical tools for optimization and agreement, in this urgent complex world of hurt and hatred?

We’ll never know, will we.

But who better should have had the chance to try? To quote Joan of Arc, from Shaw’s play about her:

“When will the world be ready to receive its saints?” I think we know the answer — when they are dead, pasteurized and homogenized and simplified into stereotypes, and the true depth and integrity of their ideas and initiatives are forgotten. But the urgent and complex problems of mankind have only grown more urgent and more complex.

It sure looks like humanity is circling the drain. To quote the great poet Walt Kelly:

“The gentle journey jolts to stop. The drifting dream is done. The long-gone goblins loom ahead– The deadly, that we thought were dead, Are waiting, every one.”

And here we twiddle in a world of computer glitz, as the winds rise, and the seas rise, and the debts rise, and the terrorists rise, and the nukes tick.

So I don’t just feel like I’ve lost my best friend.

I feel like I’ve lost my best planet.


In this article, I share the visions of Douglas Engelbart, Ted Nelson, and Alan Kay, computer pioneers and thinkers in the 1960s, and the current state of these visions. As I mentioned in My Vision: The Context and My Vision: A New City, I think these pioneers came up with many very profound ideas. Some of them were difficult to implement in the past but are now becoming feasible.

Based on my research on the works of these pioneers and contemporary technological developments, starting from the next article, I will start answering the following question: What kind of Internet am I trying to build? What is my strategy to build this Internet? Where I want this new Internet to take the future of humanity?