I never thought I'd be one of those people sitting in a conference and actually blogging about it, but here I am. I'm listening to Doug Englebart talking at the Accelerating Change conference at Stanford.
I've met a lot of "smart people" in my career. Silicon Valley is full of them. Few are truly brilliant. Most are, well, full of themselves in one way or another.
Doug Englebart is, I'm convinced, truly brilliant. He is talking in dated generalities like paradigms and human capability, but they transcend the existing computer industry and looks at the whole thing afresh. I'm boggled.
I can't sum up what he is saying, but at the heart of it is communal intelligence. Like parallel processing, it requires the collective intelligence of communities to process information. "It needs to be open source, in the same way that natural language evolved in an open way."
My favorite bit: someone told Doug Englebart a long time ago that things needed to be "easy to use" and "easy to figure out". He said, "oh, right, that's why everybody is riding tricycles." His point was that nobody really understands how they ride bicycles; it is a very complex activity, yet people figure it out and it becomes natural.
I have a lot of new things to think about.