[Cuis-dev] Inventing the next Licklider

Casey Ransberger bahweep at icloud.com
Sat Jan 1 20:51:27 PST 2022

We’re in an emergency. 

I’m not talking about the Pandemic. 

There was an amazing person once who probably coulda licked the problem. (Sorry.) Just knocked it out. He assembled a huge team of incredibly curious do-ers, people who said #doIt: a lot. 

One of the things we got out of it was the internet, which I used to find the other thing we got out of it, Smalltalk. 

I think maybe we spend too much effort trying to groom “the next Alan Kay” (and mostly without funding.) My view at last is that we were looking for the wrong person. Tap a community with polymaths in it and you’ll find a replacement for Alan Kay; what we need now is someone who can find the research funding for “people, not projects” and this person has been elusive. 

We probably have a decade (if we’re lucky) to identify and support a suitable replacement for JCR Licklider before our species is on an inevitable road to extinction. With each passing day, that person has less time to work with. 

So I posit this question: how do we forster, shepherd, and above all *teach* a human to think like Lick did? How do we fund it?

I’m starting to get the idea in my head that we’re dead without a well-funded thought leader and I’m disinclined that it should be anyone with smaller ideas that Licklider’s. 

Sorry if this seems off topic, but I promise you that if you read enough, it isn’t. We’re arguably a splinter group created when ARPA became DARPA and funding for individual scientists dried up. 

We still have a whole planet to rescue. How should we go about that?


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