Alan Kay was a graduate student at the University of Utah when he attended the demo. It changed the course of his studies and career. Kay became a computer visionary and pioneer in his own right. While Engelbart is often referred to as the Father of Personal Computing, Alan Kay and Steve Wozniak are the fathers of the personal computer.
“Doug was like a biblical prophet,” recalls Kay. “His talks were not for information, but to show a promised land that needed to be found and the seas and rivers we needed to cross to get there…He always had a powerful physical presence, and his demos with the projector reminded me of Moses, as played by Charlton Heston, parting the Red Sea in ‘The Ten Commandments.’”
“It was the romance of humanity thinking its way out of its genetic structure,” Kay said at the Stanford event commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Mother of All Demos. As he recounted the impact of the 1968 demo, his voice broke with emotion. “That’s the great thing about this industry. Technology is one thing, but you meet the most fantastic human beings.’’
“He named his group the Augmentation Research Center (ARC), referring to the use of technology to augment human intelligence, or “raise the collective IQ’… Engelbart was describing something that did not exist.
In his book “Weaving the Web,” Tim Berners-Lee identified Engelbart as a visionary. “Doug was too far ahead of his time. The personal computer revolution, which would make Engelbart’s mouse as familiar as the pencil, would not come along for another fifteen years…”