(London Guardian) Doug Engelbart, who has died aged 88, will be remembered as the man who in 1963 invented the computer mouse, but that was incidental to his vision of computers augmenting the human intellect and increasing our “collective IQ”. While he became a much-loved and oft-lauded Silicon Valley celebrity, his most visionary ideas were neglected and went unfunded.
Nonetheless, Engelbart had a massive impact on the world of computing via what became known as “the mother of all demos”, which he gave at a computer conference in San Francisco in 1968. The computer scientist Alan Kay, a co-founder of Xerox PARC, said later: “The demo was one of the greatest experiences of my life. To me, it was Moses opening the Red Sea … It reset the whole conception of what was reasonable to think about in personal computing.” It was a huge leap forward compared with operating computers using punch cards and it inspired a generation. Engelbart’s ideas were at the root of what we do online today.