Let’s start at the end point: what you’re doing right now. You are pulling information from a network onto a screen, enhancing your embodied experience with a communication web filled with people and machines. You do this by pointing and clicking, tapping a few commands, organizing your thoughts into symbols that can be read and improved by your various correspondents.
There was a beginning to all this, long before it became technically possible.
Well, actually, there were many beginnings.
But one — maybe the most important one — traces back to Douglas Engelbart, who died last week, and his encounter with a 1945 article published here at The Atlantic, “As We May Think,” by Vannevar Bush, an icon of mid-century science. —Atlantic.