In Pictures: The Mother of All Demos - The 1968 presentation that sparked a tech revolution

On December 9, 1968, Dr. Douglas Engelbart addressed a packed theater at the Joint Computer Conference in San Francisco, demonstrating a new computing platform that heralded advancements from the computer mouse to videoconferencing. Forty-five years later, we're still reaping the benefits of his vision.

Copy and paste Engelbart's demonstration started out, like most projects, with a blank screen. To populate it with data, he performed a function that is so mundane to our eyes, it's hard to conceive how revolutionary it was at the time: He selected some text, copied it, and pasted it repeatedly.

To get an idea of how brilliant copy and paste seemed, think back to the first time you saw Microsoft Excel's Autofill: You type the word Tuesday into a cell, drag the cell down and Excel automatically advances the days of the week into each successive cell.

Your smartphone's autocomplete function takes things a step further, anticipating your intent before you even finish typing a word. And isn't that what augmenting human intellect is all about?

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