Upcoming Events

Dec 12, 2018 6:00 PM Speaker Series
CHM Live
Solving Today's Great Problems? Lessons from Engelbart's Demo @50
Can Engelbart's techniques for accelerating change solve today’s great problems?
Today's urgent issues differ slightly from the 1960s. Climate change has nudged out overpopulation and pollution, while nuclear war and hunger remain high on the list. But we still face the same mismatch that worried Engelbart. As the general pace of change accelerates, problems grow in complexity far faster than our ability to solve them...
For Doug Engelbart and his team, the prize was not the revolutionary tools they previewed at their famous 1968 demo and which went on to revolutionize computing through today: Web-like clickable links, word processing, online collaboration, spell checkers, multiple windows, the mouse, networked information centers, and more. These were all stepping stones to Engelbart's wildly ambitious goal – to help us master the world's greatest challenges, by augmenting humanity's collective problem-solving abilities.

Today's urgent issues differ slightly from the 1960s. Climate change has nudged out overpopulation and pollution, while nuclear war and hunger remain high on the list. But we still face the same mismatch that worried Engelbart. As the general pace of change accelerates, problems grow in complexity far faster than our ability to solve them.

His solution was to address this head-on, by setting up his Augmentation Research Center at SRI International as a giant feedback loop: improved computer tools would lead to more capable users, who would in turn design a further improved generation of tools, and so on. He hoped this kind of snowball effect, which he called bootstrapping, would let users and their tools co-evolve to new levels of capability, much as language and writing did for our ancestors. At minimum, Engelbart hoped future knowledge workers would be able to build and iterate on each other's work with the ease of a musical virtuoso playing an instrument.

50 years on, is Engelbart's approach still relevant to today's urgent problems? The start of the event will introduce his work, and then moderator and leading futurist Paul Saffo will explore that question with a panel of experts on some of today's major challenges. Saffo has been an author, forecaster, and educator at Stanford, Singularity University, and the Institute for the Future, and has studied and presented on Engelbart’s work for over two decades.

The distinguished panel includes Stanford marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer Erika Woolsey, CEO of The Hydrous, whose work focuses on marine collapse and sea level rise; Erika Gregory Managing Director of Nsquare.org, a cross-sector collaboration that leverages both human and cyber networks to address nuclear risks; and Ben Rattray, cofounder of Change.org, to address large-scale change through networked initiatives.

This event will be streamed live on our Facebook page. The Demo@50
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Doug Engelbart's Landmark Demo

This event is a part of the 50th Anniversary celebration of Engelbart’s watershed 1968 demo and its ongoing impact. See thedemoat50.org for information on related events in the series presented with other partners, including the full day Engelbart Symposium on December 9 – the date of the original demo.
Mar 28, 2019 6:00 PM Speaker Series
CHM Live
Ada Lovelace: the Making of a Computer Scientist
Augusta Ada King’s Life in Mathematics, 1815-1843
Ada Lovelace: the Making of a Computer Scientist
Join two of the co-authors of Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist, Ursula Martin and Adrian Rice for a discussion of Ada Lovelace’s life in mathematics and its meaning for us today.
Augusta Ada King, the Countess of Lovelace, is an iconic figure in our vision of computing’s past for her remarkable work with Charles Babbage and on the possibilities of computing machines. And yet her engagement with computing at a time before the roles and definitions of digital computing emerged has made the characterization of her life and contribution a matter of continued study. The new book, Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist, draws extensively on archival collections at Oxford’s famed Bodleian Library to put Ada Lovelace’s life-long pursuit of mathematics at its center.

Born into the heights of the British aristocracy, Ada’s passion for mathematics was encouraged by her mother, Lady Byron, who shared it. From private tutors, Ada’s mathematical education continued under one of the leading British mathematicians of her day, Augustus de Morgan. For a decade, starting at the age of eighteen, Ada collaborated with Charles Babbage on his revolutionary computing machinery, adding her own insights. For most of this collaboration, Babbage was the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics and the University of Cambridge, the seat once held by Isaac Newton.

Join two of the co-authors of Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist, Ursula Martin and Adrian Rice for a discussion of Ada Lovelace’s life in mathematics and its meaning for us today.

We are pleased to have Books Inc. onsite selling copies of Ada Lovelace: The Making of a Computer Scientist before and after the program.

This event will be streamed live on our Facebook page.