It all began in the early 1960s when ARPA
had a number of offices in high technology. It's an agency,
that's Advanced Research Projects Agency, that sits in
the office of Secretary of Defense, down under a whole
bunch of other stuff. And its idea was it would launch
and push for advanced technologies and get them far enough
so that the rest of the military processes could take
them up. So it was advanced exploration.
C. R. Licklider came from Cambridge to take over ARPA's
newly formed Information Processing Techniques Office
in late 1962, I was figuratively standing at the door
with the Conceptual Framework report and a proposal. There
the unlucky fellow was, having advertised that "man computer
symbiosis," computer time-sharing, man-computer interface
etc. were the new directions -- how could he in reasonable
consistency turn this down, even if it was way out there
in Menlo Park.
So Licklider gave me money. And we started
building up a team. And we made some pretty dismal flops
first, but then we got going on this thing. And this bootstrapping
really started working. We lived it. We built the things,
used it daily, and lived it.
This basically characterizes what we pursued
for many years in what we called the "Augmentation Research
Center" at Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park.
ARC was driven by a coherent, long-term
pursuit. This involved the continuing evolution of an
ever-larger and more sophisticated system of hardware
and software. It also came to involve delivering solid
support service to outside clients to provide meaningful
environments for learning about the all-important co-evolution
processes in human organizations (human system & tool