Click here to show or hide the menubar.
Thread started by Dave Winer on Friday, July 05, 2013.

The Engelbart Award?

A picture named engelbart.gifDoug Engelbart will be remembered for a lifetime of achievement in the technology arts. He will not be remembered for the fortune he amassed (pretty sure didn't make one). His list of his creations is long, but that misses the whole of it. He needed pointing devices and windows and outlining to achieve his vision of augmenting human intellect. That is the potential that got me excited about creating in this medium. Engelbart serves as a powerful role model of what one person can accomplish.

There aren't many prizes or awards in tech, certainly not compared to other arts, such as film, theater, dining, architecture, painting. To the extent there are awards, they honor the huge enterprises. The ones that make the most money for investors.

I suggested the idea of an award in Engelbart's name in a tweet, it got forwarded more than most. There were some objections. One was that there aren't enough new ideas that are generously shared to make an annual award possible. To that I have two responses:

1. No one said the ideas have to be huge. Sometimes small ideas turn out to be important. Personally, I'm not interested in huge single steps, rather new ideas that take us in a good direction deserve recognition.

2. If there were incentives to create beyond wealth and personal satisfaction, maybe more people would create new original ideas that advance technology for its own sake.

Anyway, I just wanted to put the idea out there. Doug Engelbart was a model for one kind of technologist that we should hope to see more of, for the tradition to continue. Perhaps there's some way for that to coalesce into something tangible and long-lived.

XML