The Doug Engelbart Institute, The Future of Text & The Computer History Museum Celebrates

The 50th Anniversary of Doug Engelbart's Demo
with an all-day Symposium at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley


On the 9th of December 1968 Doug Engelbart ushered in the era of personal computing with a demo which would go on to be called the mother of all demos.


Doug Engelbart wrote about the potential of computers to augment our capabilities in ‘Improving Our Ability To Improve’, where he referred to interactive computers as “a tool that radically extends our capabilities in the very area that makes us most human, and most powerful”. He likened the power of computers to the use of fire by mankind as portrayed in native American folklore:


“There is a native American myth about the coyote, a native dog of the American prairies - how the coyote incurred the wrath of the gods by bringing fire down from heaven for the use of mankind, making man more powerful than the gods ever intended. My sense is that computer science has brought us a gift of even greater power, the ability to amplify and extend our ability to manipulate symbols.”


We need to become better at being humans. Learning to use symbols and knowledge in new ways, across groups, across cultures, is a powerful, valuable, and very human goal. And it is also one that is obtainable, if we only begin to open our minds to full, complete use of computers to augment our most human of capabilities.”


It is with these words we invite you to join our all-day, in-depth Symposium at the Computer History Museum, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ‘mother of all demos’ and exploring where we can go from here.



Doug Engelbart felt that it was of “critical importance and enormous value in learning to use this new kind of fire.” We are still only poking at the embers of what he introduced us to 50 years ago.


Join us as we celebrate re-igniting his revolution and ask the question again: How can we augment our abilities to work to solve urgent complex problems collectively?


The presentations and panels will include, though subject to change, in no particular order: Ted Nelson, Gardner Campbell, Andy Van Dam, Wendy Hall, Howard Rheingold, Andy van Dam, David Alberts, Peter Norvig, Tom Gruber, Tim O’Reilly, Tim Berners-Lee, Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn.



From 9am til 5pm on December 9th 2018 at The Computer History Museum





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