In , J.C.R. Licklider published his groundbreaking paper called “Man- Computer Symbiosis.” Licklider was both a psychologist and a. J.C.R. Licklider (). Excerpts from “Man-computer Symbiosis”. IRE Transactions on Human Factors in Electronics, volume HFE-1, pp (now IEEE). J.C.R. Licklider may well be one of the most influential people in the history of In two extraordinary papers, Man-Computer Symbiosis () and The.

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Throughout the period I examined, in short, my “thinking” time was devoted mainly to activities that were essentially clerical or mechanical: The Artificial Intelligence Debate.

It is to bring computing machines effectively into processes of thinking that must go on in “real time,” time that moves too fast to permit using computers in conventional ways. If an unforeseen alternative arises, the whole process comes to a halt and awaits the necessary extension of the program. A commercial electronic digital voltmeter ljcklider reads aloud its indications, digit by digit.

1 Introduction

The former present or imply something about incentive or motivation, and they supply a criterion by which the human executor of the instructions will know when he has accomplished his task. Perhaps the best outcome is partial symbiosis or intelligence augmentation. Technology advances are making human-computer symbiosis a real possibility.

Who, for example, man-computsr depart from Boston for Los Angeles with a detailed specification of the route? For the purposes of real-time cooperation between men and computers, it will be necessary, however, to make use of an additional and rather different principle of communication and control.

Although I was aware of the inadequacy of the sampling, I served as my own subject.

However, a brief outline of one promising idea, “trie memory,” may serve to indicate the general nature of anticipated developments. We seem to need computers more than ever before, but do our licllider need us? They will formulate hypotheses.

Ask Dan! about DSS – What is a man-computer symbiosis?

Thus, for example, by entering with the argument, “matrix multiplication,” one might retrieve the entire program for performing a matrix multiplication on the computer. Forgie, “Results obtained from a vowel recognition computer program,” J.

Along the first of these paths, there has been promising exploratory work. Published memory will be “read-only” memory. It is easy to overdramatize the notion of the ten-minute war, but it would be dangerous to count on having more than ten minutes in which to make a critical decision.


Preliminary analyses indicate that the symbiotic partnership will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them. Computers “naturally” speak nonredundant languages, usually with only two elementary symbols and no inherent appreciation either of unitary objects or of coherent actions. David Scott Brown January 3, Symbiosis in biology refers to two species of organisms “living together”, often with long term interactions.

The requirement for preformulation or predetermination is sometimes no great disadvantage.

Man-Computer Symbiosis

Fredkin’s trie memory provides a promising paradigm. Perhaps my spectrum is not typical–I hope it is not, but I fear it is. How can we possibly impart this skill to a computer? They would be easier to solve, and they could be solved faster, through an intuitively guided trial-and-error procedure in which the computer cooperated, turning up flaws in the reasoning or revealing unexpected turns in the solution.

The hope is that, in not too many years, human brains and computing machines will be coupled together very tightly, and that the resulting partnership will think as no human brain has ever thought and process data in a way not approached by the information-handling machines we know today.

An Information Society for All?

In the anticipated symbiotic partnership, men will set the goals, formulate the hypotheses, determine the criteria, and perform the evaluations.

Thus far, the achievements have not been substantively important; they have constituted only “demonstration in principle. The vision of Licklider was that men would set the goals and that computers would do the routinized work. Putting those two considerations symbioss brings the estimate of the time required to achieve practically significant speech recognition down to perhaps five years, the five years just mentioned.

Thankfully, the final word remains with the flesh-and-blood doctors. It may also over-write, turning all the 0’s into l’s, as though marking over what was written earlier. Part 5 is the final part of the article and is titled Prerequisites for Realization of Man-Computer Symbiosis.

Licklider Describes “Man-Computer Symbiosis” :

We may in due course see a serious effort to develop computer programs that can be connected together like the words and phrases of speech to do whatever computation or control is required at the moment.


Preliminary analyses indicate that the symbiotic partnership will perform intellectual operations much more effectively than man alone can perform them. As part of their paper, the authors N Lesh et al mention a discussion of prototypes under development by the Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories.

Would 2, words be enough? The large display should be supplemented, according to most of those who have thought about the problem, by individual display-control units. Strangely enough, the problem of language has been a puzzle for philosophers for centuries. The trie structure is created as the items are introduced into the memory.

The foregoing is not a far-fetched example. The argument is introduced into the memory first, one character at a time, starting at a standard initial register. In some instances, particularly in large computer-centered information and control systems, the human operators are responsible mainly for functions that it proved infeasible to automate. Smart, neural network software and a computing device will somehow become integrated with a person.

The man should be able to present a function to the computer, in a rough but rapid fashion, by drawing a graph. What about computer time sharing? To what extent would artificial intelligence be capable of rivaling human intellectual performance in the future? That compound question is asked whenever sophisticated data-processing systems are discussed.

It seems entirely possible that, in due course, electronic or chemical “machines” will outdo the human brain in most of the functions we now consider exclusively within its province. The computer should read the man’s writing, perhaps symbiosls the condition that it be in clear block capitals, and it should immediately post, at the location of each hand-drawn symbol, the corresponding character as interpreted and put into precise type-face.

By and large, in generally available computers, however, there is almost no provision for any more effective, immediate man-machine communication than can be achieved man-comupter an electric typewriter. This is one of several operator-team problems in need of careful study.