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“The original hypertext concept of the 1960s

got lost on the way to the Web–

and all current document standards oppose it.

This is an important fight.”

Ted Nelson, in Xanadu Basics.

Today’s computer world is not as many idealists had dreamt it. – and certainly not how Ted Nelson, who coined the term hypertext in the 60’, had imagined it.

Ted Nelson – information technology thinker, pioneer, philosopher, and founder of project Xanadu (1960)

– has been defending a vastly different web infrastructure: one that favors freedom, privacy, creativity, and understanding. He advocates for new forms of writing and new forms of education fostered by the hypertext system he originally worked on.

His vision for organizing our computer interfaces and presenting information involves creating visible connections between parallel pages, and highlighting related content. It supports connected documents, non-hierarchical ways of structuring, and maintaining true archives. It aims for clarity of visualization, to empower people, and make us all smarter.

These different models directly relate to the issue of modern culture and how technology is shaping it. Can we use these paradigms to strengthen human civilization? How can the original framework of the hypertext inform our existential hope, and help us navigate towards better futures?

Join us for a night of telling and debating the alternative history of personal computing and world hypertext.

You can learn more about Ted Nelson’s life and work on his personal website.

Light snacks and drinks will be provided.

Please message us two days in advance if you will need childcare at foresight (at) foresight (dot) org.

Your ticket fee goes towards supporting Foresight Institute’s mission to advance transformative technology towards futures beneficial to life and the biosphere. If that’s not something you are currently able to contribute to, do still join. No one will be turned away for lack of funds at the door. You can shoot us a message at foresight (at) foresight (dot) org for sliding scale access.

This event is brought to you by Foresight Institute, and generously hosted by Academia.edu.

Foresight Institute is a non-profit steering technologies of fundamental importance towards futures of Existential Hope, focusing on molecular machine nanotechnology, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence.

Learn about future Foresight events via our Newsletter.

Watch all previous Strenghtening Civilization salons.

Academia.edu: Guided by a mission to accelerate the world’s research, Academia.edu aims to make every academic paper ever published available for free online and accessible by anyone. The platform now has over 75 million global users and hosts over 23 million academic papers. Academia.edu was founded in 2008 in San Francisco by Richard Price who recognized the need for open access of scholarly work while he was a doctoral candidate in philosophy at Oxford University.