A study of the evolution of the modern computer profiles the work of MIT psychologist J. C. R. Licklider, whose visionary dream of a 'human-computer symbiosis' transformed the course of modern science and led to the development of the personal computer. Reprint.
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: While most people may not be familiar with the name J. C. R. Licklider, he was the guiding spirit behind the greatest revolution of the modern era. At a time when most computers were big, ponderous mainframes, he envisioned them as desktop tools that could empower individuals, foster creativity, and allow the sharing of information all over the world. Working from an obscure office in the depths of the Pentagon, he set in motion the forces that could make his vision real. Writing with the same novelistic flair that made his Complexity "the most exciting intellectual adventure story of the year" (The Washington Post
), Waldrop presents the history of this great enterprise and the first full-scale portrait of the man whose dream of a "human-computer symbiosis" changed the course of science and culture, gave us the modern world of computing, and laid the foundation for the Internet age.
"Waldrop's account of [Licklider's] and many others' world-transforming contributions is compelling." (John Allen Paulos, The New York Times Book Review
"A masterpiece! A mesmerizing but balanced and comprehensive look at the making of the information revolution." (John Seely Brown, former director of Xerox PARC, and coauthor of The Social Life of Information