On the documents of the future

In 1995, computing visionary Douglas C. Engelbart gave a keynote lecture at UCSB in honor of Glen Culler, who was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at that school. You can view the talk online at the Internet Archive (links to 45:00 for the quote below).

What Dr. Engelbart describes in his depiction of future documents is somewhat similar to the functionality that Oneslate tries to facilitate as a collaborative online concept mapper supporting directed acyclic graph creation with focus-defined subgraph viewing, so it seems worthwhile to post the relevant quote here:

What’s the document of the future going to be like? It’s going to be an online structured sort of thing built up of objects inside the computer whose relationships are explicitly connected to map the kind of conceptual relationships between the concepts in your head, that you’re symbolizing to externalize. And you say, ‘Well, that’ll be very complicated to do.’ And you say, ‘Well, the computer’s going to be there to help me get it out there. The computer’s there to help me get get all sorts of optional views of whatever structured arrangement there is in there, to see how that matches my feeling for the structural relationship among concepts, or the details of them.’

Things like that. So, that’s the image we were starting with in the early 60s. It’s something different, it’s going to be there, and we really feel like the world can go after that. So, why not you guys? ‘Well, I could never learn to fly like that.’ Well, get a pilot, to carry you around, if you don’t have time to learn.

Note: the previous post on this blog covers the many differences between Oneslate as it is and Engelbart’s true Open Hyperdocument System framework proposed by DCE for the goal of augmenting human intellect.  You may find of particular interest the sections General Introduction, Conceptual Framework, and Structuring an Argument, though the entire 1962 document is an enjoyable read.

Disclaimer: Oneslate is neither endorsed by nor associated with the Douglas Engelbart Institute.