The July 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

“What Would Doug Engelbart Do?” Ask Organizers of a Silicon Valley Event

Inspired by the man who showed the way to modern computing, tech-minded experts shared ideas for how to tackle climate change, nuclear proliferation, and broken political systems

5 min read
Christina Engelbart told an audience at the Computer History Museum that her father, Doug Engelbart, would be concerned that the evolution of digital technology has outpaced the evolution of the organizations that need to manage it.
Christina Engelbart told an audience at the Computer History Museum that her father, Doug Engelbart, would be concerned that the evolution of digital technology has outpaced the evolution of the organizations that need to manage it.
Photo: Douglas Fairbairn/CHM

Fifty years ago this month Doug Engelbart demonstrated what we’ve come to know as computing—the mouse, hypertext, and windows. His goal wasn’t to revolutionize computing per se, it was to give people better tools for collaboration, which he hoped would lead to better ways to fix the real problems of society. (Moving a cursor around a display, while sometimes challenging before the mouse, was not a real societal problem.)

“He thought the single greatest existential challenge of our time was to raise the curve on our ability to collectively solve problems,” said Christina Engelbart, Doug Engelbart’s daughter, who spoke at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., this week, along with a group of tech execs, futurists, and other people interested in tackling today’s big problems.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

His pivot from defense helped a tiny tuning-fork prevent SUV rollovers and plane crashes

11 min read
Vertical
Asad Madni and the Life-Saving Sensor

In 1992, Asad M. Madni sat at the helm of BEI Sensors and Controls, overseeing a product line that included a variety of sensor and inertial-navigation devices, but its customers were less varied—mainly, the aerospace and defense electronics industries.

And he had a problem.

The Cold War had ended, crashing the U.S. defense industry. And business wasn’t going to come back anytime soon. BEI needed to identify and capture new customers—and quickly.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":[]}