1968 “Mother of All Demos” Forecasted Much of the Technology We Use Every Day

Doug Engelbert

We all have our share of anniversaries to remember, but here’s one that has impacted all of our lives: on December 9, 1968, Douglas Engelbart and his SRI team delivered what has come to be known as the “Mother of All Demos.”

Hard to believe, but in one presentation, Dr. Engelbart and his Augmentation Research Center at SRI introduced many technology concepts that we now enjoy. On that December day, an awed crowd at the Fall Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco got the very first look at the computer mouse. Even more significant was the debut of personal and interactive computing.

Watch highlights of Engelbart’s demo on SRI’s YouTube channel

The demonstration featured hypertext linking, real-time text editing, multiple windows with flexible view control, cathode display tubes, and shared-screen teleconferencing. It was a tour de force of personal computing innovation.

Engelbart’s vision to augment human capabilities and cooperation were pioneering concepts that continue to impact research at SRI—from Siri, the first virtual personal assistant to our recently launched bRIGHT project .

Learn more: Wikipedia’s “Mother of All Demos” page

Photo: SRI staff members and visitors prepare for the December 9, 1968 demo.

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