The Mother of All Demos: The 1968 presentation that sparked a tech revolution

On December 9, 1968, Dr. Douglas Engelbart addressed a packed theater at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, demonstrating a new computing platform that heralded advancements from the computer mouse to videoconferencing. Forty-five years later, we're still reaping the benefits of his vision.
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Credit: SRI International/YouTube

Dec. 9, 1968

"If, in your office, you as an intellectual worker were supplied with ... a computer that was alive for you all day and was instantly responsive to every action you had, how much value could you derive from that?"

So Dr. Douglas Engelbart kicked off his December 1968 demonstration of the oNLine System (NLS), a remarkable computing platform developed by his team at Stanford Research Institute's Augmentation Research Center. Engelbart, who passed away this year, showed what it would be like if computers were always with us, facilitating communication and collaboration, making information accessible and easy to manipulate.

That presentation, which was later dubbed "The Mother of All Demos," inspired a generation of computer scientists and helped spur the personal computing revolution.

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