Each generation has its own vision for the purpose of new technology. A wartime ambition of machines calculating ballistics trajectories gave way to Vannevar Bush’s Memex and J.C.R. Licklider’s Man-Computer Symbiosis, which in turn gave way to more recent perspectives on what personal computing, the internet, and mobile are good for. You can’t understand Engelbart’s vision without understanding it in relation to other schools of thought—and your understanding of our current point of view might be enhanced by seeing his perspective.

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