Enabling people "to do more by doing less," that is, to accomplish more
with less work. Bringing abundant computation and communication, as
pervasive and free as air, naturally into people's lives." - Prof.
Michael Dertouzos, 1936-2001
"We made a big mistake 300 years ago when we separated technology and
humanism," Dertouzos said in an interview in Scientific American. "It's
time to put the two back together." (View lecture: "Technology and
Humanity in the 21st Century"
It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Lab for Computer
Science Director, Michael Dertouzos.
< http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/nr/2001/dertouzos.html >
Computer science lost an intellectual cornerstone this week with the
death of Michael Dertouzos, the distinguished Massachusetts Institute of
Technology professor who'd led the school's Laboratory for Computer
Science since 1974. Far more sadly, the world lost a vigorous advocate
for the planet's underdogs - a tireless humanitarian determined to
repair what he saw as a growing and dangerous disconnect between people
and their technology.
A PROLIFIC AUTHOR ON HUMANS AND COMPUTERS
Dertouzos is the author of eight books. His latest, "The Unfinished
Revolution: Human-Centered Computers and What They Can Do for Us"
(HarperCollins), published this year, introduced the concept of "human
centered computing." Computers, he wrote, should serve people, not the
other way around. Today's machines are overloaded with excessive
features, inadequately address our needs, and demand too much of our
attention, he declared.
"Michael argued eloquently for human-centered computing. He thought
deeply about how information technology could help everyone, not just
the technical elite," said Guttag.
In his final interview, printed in the August 22 issue of the Chronicle
of Higher Education, Dertouzos spoke about the qualities that he most
valued in teachers, qualities which were a fundamental part of his own
approach to his interactions with the MIT community:
"Don't forget the impact that love has on education," Dertouzos said in
explaining his skepticism of computer-based distance education. "If you
are loved by your teacher -- and I mean this in the most innocent and
Platonic sense -- if your teacher really cares for your well-being --
and you know that because your teacher will ask about you, will scold
you for not doing the right thing, and will give you stories about why
you should do this or do that -- the learning can be unbelievably
"But our quest goes beyond utilitarian increases in human productivity
to the broader ways in which information can help people. Whether,
through the World Wide Web Consortium, we are working on tomorrow's Web,
or on new computer systems through our Oxygen project, or on machines
that can speak with you - and engage you graphically, or on the meaning
of Genome information, we find ourselves in the junction of two
interrelated challenges: Going after the best, most exciting forefront
technology; and ensuring that it truly serves human needs."
< http://www.lcs.mit.edu/about/director.html >
"To render technology useful, we must blend it with humanity. This
process will serve us best if, alongside our most promising
technologies, we bring our full humanity, augmenting our rational powers
with our feelings, our actions and our faith. We cannot do this by
< http://www.lcs.mit.edu/about/kurzweil.html >
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: LIST OF OVER 3 DOZEN SPINOFF COMPANIES
< http://www.lcs.mit.edu/about/spinoffs.html > including:
* Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Incorporated
< http://www.kr.org >
* The Ontology Page (TOP) < http://www.kr.org/top >
* Software Definable Radio < http://www.vanu.com >
MIT Project Oxygen & Spectrumware Demo of Software-definable Radio from
LCS 35th Anniversary (22MB)
< http://www.oxygen.lcs.mit.edu/ >
< http://www.sds.lcs.mit.edu/SpectrumWare/mpeg/lcs35lo.MPG >
This archive was generated by hypermail 2.0.0 : Thu Sep 06 2001 - 10:46:45 PDT