Re: [unrev-II] Is "bootstrapping" part of the problem?

From: Doug Engelbart - Bootstrap Institute (
Date: Wed Dec 27 2000 - 17:39:00 PST

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    Quick scan of this thread, and I'm impressed by eloquence and erudition. But
    I'd like to clarify what "bootstrapping" has meant to me, because I feel that
    some of that eloquence and erudition has addressed other usages of the term,
    including covering broader types of exponential change.

    Let me provide some background using ref material as published in last winter's
    UnRev-II Colloquium, as well as some in earlier, hard-copy pubs:

       Yes, many exponential challenges -- AND not being matched by the
       evolutionary paths of our organizations' ability to cope:

       Problems are accelerating, but so are Opportunities:

       Goal/Strategy: three statements that launched my "bootstrapping" strategy:

       Expansion of the bootstrapping picture, circa 1962:

       More refined conceptualization, from the '92 paper in the Groupware
       Conference: <>

    Summary: The snowballing growth of complex, urgent problems facing society was
    my primary "motivating driver" in '51; and such problems, because of scale,
    have to dealt with collectively. The concept of harnessing computers to
    improve our collective capbility to handle complex, urgent problems came next
    -- within minutes, actually.

    "Bootstrapping" strategy emerged in the several-year development of the '62
    paper, "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework."

    The '60s & '70s saw our evolution of NLS and collaborative augmentation benefit
    significantly from "local" bootstrapping -- our developers "living it," and
    from '74 to '88, our application-support people and customers becoming a
    dynamic part of the process.

    From '89, within BI's history, we had considerable refinement of
    scaling-motivated strategic concepts as exemplified in the published papers of
    '90 and '91, and last year's Colloquium.

    I've certainly realized that knowledge and Collective IQ alone aren't enough to
    produce a sane and lasting society -- in fact, in the '60s, as I became more
    aware of such important elements as spirituality, integrity, etc., I almost
    abandoned the "Collective IQ" goal in favor of some of the other movements of
    the day. But, with a bit of reflection, I realized that converting the world
    to any "better" mode of life would be a large-scale, complex challenge -- as
    will just the matter of determining a best set of society's large-scale target

    So, the meaning of "bootstrapping" that I bring to our UnRev is focussed on
    compound interest (compound ROI) on investments in boosting our collective
    capabilities to identify and pursue collective challenges and collective
    pursuit of solutions -- and all of this within the huge scale of global
    society, because we'll all go down together if we can't cope with global-scale

    Very appreciatively, Doug

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