J. C. R. or "Lick"
His name was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider (1915–1990), a famous American computer scientist, one of the most important figures in computing history.
He was one of the first to foresee modern-style interactive computing and remains an Internet pioneer with an early vision of a worldwide computer network long before it was built. He was successful in funding research, initiating today's graphical user interface, and creating the ARPANET, later to become the Internet.
Waldrop Mitchell, his biographer, says: “He has been called "computing's Johnny Appleseed", for planting the seeds of computing in the digital age; Robert Taylor, founder of Xerox PARC's Computer Science Laboratory […] noted that ‘most of the significant advances in computer technology […] were simply extrapolations of Lick's vision’."
Mitchell sums up his vision saying he “has seen a future in which computers will empower individuals, instead of forcing them into rigid conformity. He is almost alone in his conviction that computers can become not just superfast calculating machines, but joyful machines: tools that will serve as new media of expression, inspirations to creativity, and gateways to a vast world of online information."
He graduated in physics, mathematics, and psychology, got a PhD in psychoacoustics (worked at the Psycho-Acoustic Laboratory at Harvard University, a world-famous specialist on pitch-perception, 1943-1950). He became an associate professor in information technology at MIT, where he got involved in the SAGE project, as head of the team concerned with human factors : "SAGE" (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) was a Cold War project to create a computer-aided air defense system ; computers collected and presented data to a human operator, who then chose the appropriate response. Indeed Licklider was a human factors expert. Later director of Project MAC at MIT, his team produced the first computer time-sharing system, CTSS. He also played a part in the invention of the computer mouse.
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His most famous article, Man–Computer Symbiosis, insisted on the need for simpler interaction between computers and computer users. Unlike many AI (artificial intelligence) practitioners, Licklider never felt that men would be replaced by computer-based beings : "Men, he wrote, will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations. Computing machines will do the routinizable work that must be done to prepare the way for insights and decisions in technical and scientific thinking". His approach is sometimes called Intelligence amplification (IA).
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