“Tools for Thought: The History and Future of Mind-Expanding Technology” by Howard Rheingold is available online. Tools for Thought is an exercise in retrospective futurism; that is, I wrote it in the early 1980s, attempting to look at what the mid 1990s would be like.
My odyssey started when I discovered Xerox PARC and Doug Engelbart and realized that all the journalists who had descended upon Silicon Valley were missing the real story. Yes, the tales of teenagers inventing new industries in their garages were good stories. But the idea of the personal computer did not spring full-blown from the mind of Steve Jobs. Indeed, the idea that people could use computers to amplify thought and communication, as tools for intellectual work and social activity, was not an invention of the mainstream computer industry nor orthodox computer science, nor even homebrew computerists.
Table of Contents
- The Computer Revolution Hasn’t Happened Yet
- The First Programmer Was a Lady
- The First Hacker and his Imaginary Machine
- Johnny Builds Bombs and Johnny Builds Brains
- Ex-Prodigies and Antiaircraft Guns
- Inside Information
- Machines to Think With
- Witness to History: The Mascot of Project Mac
- The Loneliness of a Long-Distance Thinker
- The New Old Boys from the ARPAnet
- The Birth of the Fantasy Amplifier
- Brenda and the Future Squad
- Knowledge Engineers and Epistemological Entrepreneurs
- Xanadu, Network Culture, and Beyond
Link: Read online.