Joseph Licklider 1960

It’s very appropriate to begin the 1960s with a far-seeing paper by a scientific visionary, whose work defined much of the underpinning engineering of our 21st century cyber-culture. Man Computer Symbiosis! The title itself grapples with a recurring zeitgeist theme of the 20th century, first given expression in Raoul Hausmann’s iconic Spirit of Our Time in 1921. It was Licklider’s seminal paper that kick-started several major strands of research during his tenure at ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) – the government-funded agency that oversaw the invention of the future in the USA. It was ARPA that invented the Internet (1969-1972),  the idea of the personal computer (Engelbart 1968), computer graphics, 3d CG-modelling and simulation, and sowed the seeds of the graphical user interface (Engelbart 1968, Kay 1973). And it was Licklider’s vision – expressed in Man Computer Symbiosis (1960), the Intergalactic network idea (1962), Libraries of the Future (1965), The Computer as a Communications Device (1968), that drove this multi-million dollar investment in cyber-infrastructure.



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