Mc mechanic

MC Mechanic by Steve Willis

Graphical user interfaces are a form of Human-Computer Interaction the ultimate purpose of which is hopefully some betterment of the human condition through the augmentation of human faculties with those of computers.

Sigmund Freud discussed the "prosthetic nature" of man's technology (and its implications) in "Civilization and Its Discontents,"

"Man has, as it were, become a kind of prosthetic God. When he puts on all his auxiliary organs he is truly magnificent; but those organs have not grown on to him and they still give him much trouble at times. ... Future ages will bring with them new and possibly unimaginably great advances in this field of civilization and will increase man's likeness to God still more. But in the interests of our present investigation, we will not forget that present-day man does not feel happy in his God-like character."[1]

Vannevar Bush

MIT Professor.

1945 - "As We May Think "

Advisor to Claude Shannon.

Claude Shannon

Entered MIT in 1936.

Advised by Vannevar Bush. Advisor to Ivan Sutherland.

1948 - "A Mathematical Theory of Communication "

Co-inventor of the first wearable computer (along with Edward O. Thorp.)

J.C.R. Licklider

Psychologist/computer scientist. MIT Professor.

Called computing's "Johnny Appleseed." Worked on SAGE (air defense system). Established Project MAC at MIT. Licklider's ARPA program helped establish graduate programs in CS at Berkeley, Carnegie-Mellon, MIT and Stanford.

1960 - "Man-Computer Symbiosis"

"The hope is that in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today."

1965 - "The Computer as a Communications Device"

"Licklider came to believe that the computer would realize its deepest potential in linking man and machine. He was interested in all forms of technologically augmented human life - what science fiction writers call cyborgs, and what Sigmund Freud meant when he described man as a 'prosthetic god'."[2]

Douglas Engelbart

In 1945 while serving in the Navy, Douglas Engelbart stumbled across a Red Cross reading library on the island of Laiti. In this native bamboo hut on stilts he read Vannevar Bush's "As We May Think". In the article, Engelbart discovered the idea of a device that could extend the power of the human mind:[13]
"Consider a future device for individual use, which is sort of a mechanized private file ad library. It needs a name, and, to coin one at random, "Memex" will do. A Memex is a device in which an individual stores all his books, records, and communications, and which is mechanized so that it may be consulted with exceeding speed and flexibility. It is an enlarged intimate supplement to his memory."[4]

Engelbart was also inspired by William James' lecture "What Makes a Life Significant ."

In December 1950, while pondering how he might make a significant contribution to the world, Engelbart experienced a series of connected flashes of insight that included a complete vision of the coming information age and how collective human intellect might be focused on solving the world's problems:

"He saw himself sitting in front of a large computer screen full of different symbols. (later it occurred to him that the idea of the screen probably came into his mind as a result of his experience with the radar consoles he had worked on in the navy.) He would create a workstation for organizing all of the information and communications needed for any given project. In his mind, he saw streams of characters moving on the display. Although nothing of the sort existed, it seemed the engineering should be easy to do and that the machine could be harnessed with levers, knobs, or switches. It was nothing less than Vannevar Bush's Memex, translated into the world of electronic computing."[13]

1962 - "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework"

1968 - "The Mother of All Demos "

Ivan Sutherland

1963 - "Sketchpad: A man-machine graphical communication system" - Ph.D. Thesis.

Doctoral Advisor - Claude Shannon. Advisor to Alan Kay.

Influenced by Vannevar Bush's Memex.

Sketchpad features :

  • allowed drawing of horizontal and vertical lines and arcs
  • allowed grouping of lines and arcs into figures and shapes
  • allowed specification of constraint relationships among segments and arcs
  • allowed figures to be copied, moved, rotated, or resized
  • supported windows, clipping and zooming

Alan Kay

Ph.D. University of Utah College of Engineering. Advisor - Ivan Sutherland. Formerly a professional musician.

Influenced by Seymour Papert, Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, Lev Vygotsky, and Constructionist learning.

1970 - Joined Xerox Corporation's Palo Alto Research Center, PARC.

Key ideas:

  • one of "fathers of object-oriented programming"
  • conceived the Dynabook concept (laptops, tablets and e-books)
  • architect of overlapping window GUI
  • involved in One Laptop Per Child.
  • worked as Atari's chief scientist for 3 years

Seymour Papert

1971 - "Twenty Things to Do With A Computer"

Xerox PARC

Founded in 1970.

The Apple Macintosh

Multi-Touch Interfaces

Brain-Computer Interfaces


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