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The Mother of All Demos: Fast Forward to the Future

Press Release Date 
Monday, December 1, 2008
Forty years ago Douglas Engelbart slipped behind a sparse desk and, armed with a curious gadget and revolutionary vision, changed the world in the next 90 minutes. Engelbart introduced an astounded public to the computer mouse, copy and paste, e-mail and videoconferencing during what we now call "The Mother of All Demos." But that was only the beginning; Engelbart had hoped his technological breakthroughs would lead to improvements in our "Collective Intelligence," harnessing the combined brainpower of large groups to reach more superior outcomes. Decades later his dream has gone largely unfulfilled. Until now.

On the 40th anniversary of Engelbart's demonstration, The Tech Museum of Innovation, in partnership with the MIT Museum, hosts "Program for the Future: A Summit & Workshop on Collective Intelligence."

The December 8th- 9th conference at The Tech, Adobe and Stanford University will: 
  • Launch a global competition for new tools that improve Collective Intelligence
  • Enhance our capability for problem-solving, decision-making and knowledge organization
  • Fire the imaginations of the next generation of innovators
Summit participants include: Renowned innovator Douglas Engelbart; Dr. Peter Friess President, The Tech Museum of Innovation; Professor John Durant, Director MIT Museum; Professor Thomas Malone, Founding Director, MIT Center for Collective Intelligence; Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple; Peter Norvig, Director of Research, Google; Professor Hiroshi Ishii, Associate Director, MIT Media Laboratory; Professor Andries van Dam, Brown University; Alan Kay, president of Viewpoints Research Institute.

"When it comes to collective intelligence," said Peter Friess, president of The Tech Museum of Innovation, "The Tech not only talks the talk but walks the walk. Our Tech Virtual program takes a collective intelligence approach to creating exhibitions. The "Program for the Future" competition solicits ideas from all over the world, the best of which will become real museum exhibits. The Tech is committed to using technology for the betterment of humankind, therefore we are proud to host this ground-breaking summit for technology, academia and business innovators, and to launch the quest for new collective intelligence tools."

A key function of the conference is to discover the best new Collective Intelligence tools through a global competition. In addition to cash prizes and recognition, selected hands-on, interactive tools will be built as permanent exhibits at The Tech and the MIT Museum in Cambridge, Mass. Submissions may come from any field, including politics, the arts, economics, medicine and philanthropy. Conference participants will have the very first opportunity to engage more than a dozen hands-on, interactive examples of Collective Intelligence tools as part of the December 8th evening program at Adobe. The tools come from all corners of the country and are as innovative as they are compelling.

"We're delighted to be collaborating with our colleagues at The Tech in this initiative. The MIT Museum's mission is to engage the wider community with MIT's research and innovation, in ways that will best serve the nation and the world in the 21st century," said John Durant, director of the MIT Museum. "MIT is a major contributor to the continuing development of Engelbart's farsighted, notably through the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence; and I hope very much that our global competition attracts new creative minds to this important area of innovation."

About The Tech Museum of Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation is a hands-on technology and science museum for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Tech - located in the Capital of Silicon Valley - is a non-profit educational resource established to engage people in exploring and experiencing technologies affecting their lives. Through educational programs, the annual Tech Challenge team competition for youth, and the internationally recognized Tech Awards, presented by Applied Materials, Inc. The Tech Museum of Innovation celebrates the present and encourages the development of innovative ideas for a more promising future. 

About the MIT Museum
The MIT Museum presents exhibitions and public programs designed to engage and entertain the public. Robots, holography, MIT lore, and cutting-edge exhibits blending art and technology draw visitors from around the world. The new Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery opened in 2007 and showcases some of the newest research and creative energy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, MA.

Press Contacts
Roqua Montez
The Tech Museum