Douglas C. Engelbart

neckafterthoughtAI and Robotics

Dec 1, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)

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The Web as an Augmentation of the

H
uman
I
ntellect


Since the beginning of the computer age, questions and theories of how the future would manifest
intellect have been documented and debated at great lengths. With this essay the debate was and
partly
still is, "The Web as an Augmentation of the Human Intellect".

October 1962,
Douglas C. Engelbart

published the paper "Augmenting Human Intellect: A
Conceptual Framework". In this paper Engelbart talks
of a concept that is "augmenting human
intellect" and
explains his meaning of the concept

of "Augmenting"

in the following paragraph:


"
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 t
o 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 previou
sly was too complex, speedier solutions,

better solutions, and the possibility of finding solutions to problems that before seemed insoluble. And

by "complex situations" we include the professional problems of diplomats, executives, social

scientists, l
ife scientists, physical scientists, attorneys, designers
--
whether the problem situation

exists for twenty minutes or twenty years."

The paragraph
while being published in 1962,
appears to represent the way the "Web" is used
today, in that we can individually understand part of a problem, which can then be shared
to

the
web, where

another

is
now
able to comprehend the

problem and

can

continue the problem using
there individual int
ellect to which

the result

is shared back to the interface of the web for a
propagation of understanding
.

This process gives the "Web" the reference

of

an "Augmentation of
the Human Intellect" in a worldwide vie
w.

The
existence of
debate

in the how the web

would evolve

was hard to deny in the year 1962
.

A
s the
technology was a long way behind and all very new. However that same debate today would seem
almost trivial with the majority of users
happy to agree
that the theories of Englebart were correct,
as t
hey

now

know what the web has evolved into first hand.

IA
,

Intelligence
A
mplification. The reality of
"
Augmented Human intellect
"

available worldwide
required the need for the term Intelligence amplification. IA can be contrasted with the
difference

of
th
e "Web" and the "Internet". As the "Web" can be considered "Augmented Human Intellect", the
Internet Can be considered " Intelligence amplification". The internet is the tool used to amplify
information sharing, resulting in the ability to "A
ugment

Human Intellect". The Idea of IA is massive
where the internet is just an example. The Human race continues to improv
e ways of amplifying
intellect and this is cause for predictions and theories of the future as Englebart had done decades
ago.

C
urrently t
he process

of IA

is automating knowledge,

can be knowledge obtained from the "Web",
to create

for example a program

that

is static, known information

used to process an
often
unknown

variable

input

resulting in an

understandable
output.

H
owever the proces
s of know
ing

what previous knowledge is required to make up the static information of a program can only be
automated to a finite

point, majority of the designing in a program requires the human intellect.

This
is the current barrier between IA and "Augmen
ted Human Intellect"
and the non existence of
Artificial Intelligence (AI).

W
ith the clarification of the web following the predicted outcome of 1962, relative to Engelbarts
views
,
a
new

debate and speculation arose. T
he meaning of augmentation was speci
fied in the
concepts of

the web while other meanings were ruled

out to avoid confusion. H
owever

with the
ever climbing evolution in IA,

could
the definition of "Augmentation of the

H
uman
I
ntellect"

manifest
into the creation of AI?

or will

Augmenting Intellect continue
to stall at

the Current

level of
the

"Web"?

Simply improving the organic intelligence of the brain.



References


W. Ross Ashby, An Introduction to Cybernetics,

Chapman & Hall, London, 1956. Internet (1999):

http://pcp.vub.ac
.be/books/IntroCyb.pdf


Douglas C. Engelbart,
AUGMENTING HUMAN INT
ELLECT:


A CONCEPTUAL FRAME

WORK
,

Stanford Research Institute, California, 1962:

http://www.dougengelbart.org/pubs/papers/scanned/Doug_Engelbart
-
AugmentingHumanIntellect.pdf

http://www.invisiblerevolution.net/engelbart/full_62_paper_augm_hum_in
t.html

http://www.dougengelbart.org/pubs/augment
-
3906.html