Computer Love….

Posted: 2012/01/27 in Uncategorized

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Computer Love

Computing’s “Jhonny Appleseed” J.C.R. Licklider A.K.A. “Lick”
Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (1915–1990) began his schooling at Washington State University where he recieved three bachelors degree’s in math, psychology, and physics.  He then got his doctorates in psychoacoustics.      In 1942, he went to work at Harvard’s Psychoacoustics Laboratory where he did work for the Air Force to find solutions for the communication problems faced by crewman in noisy bomber aircraft.  In 1950, he began working at the Massachusetts Institution of Technology where he worked on a Cold War project called SAGE designed to create computer-based air defense systems against Soviet bombers.  At MIT he developed the idea of “Man-computer Symbiosis,” he wrote a paper describing a process in which computers are capable of performing real time interactive computing  which envisions that mutually-interdependent, tightly-coupled human brains and computing machines that would complement each other’s strengths.  He also worked as a top researcher for Bolt, Beraneck, and Newman. He developed the idea of a universal network at the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) of the  U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), where he was responsible for the ideas that led to the creation the first ARPANET.  He headed IPTO from 1962 to 1963, and again from 1974 to 1975.  J.C.R Licklider’s ideas had a profound effect on the development of computer technology and the development of the Internet. He had a vision of man computer symbiosis whereby human intellect could be augmented. He instilled that vision in others who would later on be responsible for implementing them.  The following is a quote from Larry Roberts (A co-worker of “Licks” at ARPA):

“Lick had this concept of the intergalactic network which he believed was everybody could use computers anywhere and get at data anywhere in the world. He didn’t envision the number of computers we have today by any means, but he had the same concept-all of the stuff linked together throughout the world, that you can use a remote computer, get data from a remote computer, or use lots of computers in your job. The vision was really Lick’s originally. None oof us can really claim to have seen that before him nor{can} anybody in the world. Lick saw this vision in the early sixties. He didn’t have a clue how to build it. He didn’t have any idea how to make this happen. But he knew it was important, so he sat down with me and really convinced me that it was important and convinced me into making it happen” -Larry Roberts

Licklider was considered by many as a quiet and humble person.  Licklider never achieved any great amount of fame or widespread recognition for all of the contributions that he has made for the advances in computer technology, so naturally, I am writing this to pay respect to another great mind in computer history.  Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider,  you too are a scholar and a gentleman….thank you

 Additional readings:

Dream Machine, The : J.C.R. Licklider and the Revolution That Made Computing Personal


  1. lockmantuj says:

    Nice write up on Licklider.

    I’d appreciate if you made the hyperlinks in the references section at the bottom appear as words of text instead of long URLs.

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