A Field Guide to Doug's 1962 Framework 0

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By 'augmenting human intellect' we mean increasing the capability of a man to approach a complex problem situation, to gain comprehension to suit his particular needs, and to derive solutions to problems. Increased capability in this respect is taken to mean a mixture of the following: more-rapid comprehension, better comprehension, the possibility of gaining a useful degree of comprehension in a situation that previously was too complex, speedier solutions, better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble.
— Doug Engelbart, in his Introduction to Augmenting Human Intellect

wordle Wordle of 1962 Report

Engelbart did not think of the computer as merely improving human thinking, but as transforming the processes of our institutions in a more profound way...
— Janet H. Murray, on Inventing the Medium in New Media Reader


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Watch Doug presenting (1986) (20 min.)


Doug thought at scale. He understood that a car is not simply a faster tricycle. He had faith that an augmented intellect, joined to millions of other augmented intellects, could clarify individual thought even as it empowered vast new modes of thinking, new modes of complex understanding that could grasp intricately meaningful symbols as quickly and comprehensively as we can recognize a loved one's face.
— Gardner Campbell, Dreams About How The World Could Be

What it is 1

Welcome to our rudimentary field guide to Doug Engelbart's 1962 'manifesto':

Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework, Douglas C. Engelbart, SRI Summary Report AFOSR-3223 Prepared for: Director of Information Sciences, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Washington DC, Contract AF 49(638)-1024 SRI Project No. 3578 (AUGMENT,3906,). Later included in the New Media Reader, Noah Wardrip-Fruin and Nick Montfort [Ed.], The MIT Press, 2003, Chapter 8.

This was the final report of a groundbreaking study conducted by Doug Engelbart at Stanford Research Institute (SRI) to flesh out his ideas for making the world a much better place in the fastest possible timeframe. In the course of this study, Doug forged a new discipline he called Augmenting the Human Intellect, with in-depth conceptual framework, research agenda, and strategic approach for bootstrapping the results at scale. This report summarizes his findings and recommendations. Funding ensued, and so the Augmenting Human Intellect Research Center (AHIRC) was born. In a few short years, Doug and his team forged a constellation of breakthrough firsts to herald in a new era in human effectiveness, as demonstrated first in 1968 in what is now known as the Mother of All Demos, again in 1969 with the 'sequel' to the Demo, and beyond.

In other words, Doug's conceptual framework for augmenting the human intellect drove one of the more revolutionary research agendas on record and, like Einstein's Theory of Relativity, is still enormously relevant, and yet we still have barely scratched the surface of achieving its true potential.

Find it here 2

Browsable with our usual enhanced navigation and associative trails features, such as floating Table of Contents and Purple Numbers (see About Our Website), with more formats offered through the Doug Engelbart Texts Archive at the Internet Archive, all hotlinked below.

Primary Report 2a

Related Works 2b

Resources 3

In Perspective 3a

Selected Press Articles 3b

Selected Engelbart Articles 3c

Learn More 4

About Doug 4a

The Archives 4b

  • Books and Articles - see Books by Doug Engelbart; for articles by him and his team see the and Bibliography (list with complete citation details) and Augmentation Papers (same list, streamlined)
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  • Videos - Videography - links to the video collections of Doug's key talks, presentations, workshops, awards, and conferences available online.
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  • Complete Archives - visit the Engelbart Archive Collection, a portal into his photos, videos, texts, slides, demos, software, press coverage, historic events, stories, and more.
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