Artifact Details


Augmenting Human Intellect 35 Years Later

Catalog Number



Moving Image


This lecture describes “augmenting human intellect,” a key motivational concept for researcher Douglas Engelbart and his team at Stanford Research Institute from the late 1960s onwards. There are four speakers in this lecture: Jeff Rulifson, Bill English, Charles Irby, and Douglas Engelbart.

The lecture begins with Jeff Rulifson describing how Engelbart’s technologies were useful in allowing companies to ‘bootstrap themselves’ into enhanced group productivity using tools developed by Engelbart’s team to specifically facilitate communication. This included the use of video conferencing, hypertext, a graphical user interface, email, and online archiving systems.

Bill English next describes the evolution of hardware pointing devices at SRI, which he joined in 1964. He notes multiple experiments done with diverse pointing devices including light pens, knee controllers, and joysticks and then describes some of the technical background to the “Mother of all Demos” which took place at Brooks Hall on December 9, 1968 at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco.

Charles Irby then elaborates on some of this technical background and specifically the integration of text and graphics during the 90-minute demo. Irby worked with Engelbart from 1969-1975 and notes that Englebart’s team considered computers to be more than ‘number crunchers’ but also communication tools and symbol manipulators.

In the late 1960s, the Arpanet’s 2nd node was installed at SRI. When Englebart’s lab closed, many of his people went to the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in nearby Palo Alto where they continued developing concepts like overlapping windows, icons, a mouse-based GUI, and document editing, this time in the context of the Xerox’s vision of “the office of the future.”

Finally, Doug Englebart describes his early years at SRI, where he began by working with Hewitt Crane on magnetic logic systems. He complained of ‘stove piping’ whereby information within an organization is not efficiently shared among the people who need it. Improving the ability of people within organizations to plan and manage change is the cornerstone of Englbart’s vision for improving humankind’s ability to solve ever more complex social, economic, and technical problems.




Engelbart, Doug, Speaker
English, Bill, Speaker
Irby, Charles, Speaker
Rulifson, Jeff, Speaker


Sun Microsystems

Place of Publication








Copyright Holder

Sun Microsystems




Artificial intelligence (AI); Engelbart, Douglas

Series Title

Bay Area Computer History Perspectives