J. C. R. Licklider
When people communicate, they usually communicate to other people. Sometimes they talk to themselves, and sometimes they talk to their pets. Until very recently, however, they almost never tried to hold conversations with a machine. They might curse at their car when it did not start, but they did not really expect the car to answer back.
Today, however, things are changing. More and more people are now spending more and more time communicating to machines, and receiving communications back. I do not mean that they are just talking through a machine, the way a voice goes through a microphone. I mean they are interacting with the machine much as they would with a real conversational partner.
The machines I have in mind, of course, are the modern, high-speed computers. If you know how to speak their language, you can get these machines to help you solve many different kinds of problems. It can be rewarding to communicate with a computing machine, because the computer can serve as an aid in your thinking process. So more and more people are learning to do it.
In order to develop computers as aids to thinking, one needs to analyze the process of thinking and determine to what parts of that process computers can contribute. The first step of the analysis is simple: most problems require two stages of activity for their solution -- formulation of a procedure and execution of the procedure. People -- at least some people -- are good at formulating procedures, but people are not good -- as "good" is mea