AI commonly stands for "Artificial Intelligence" nowadays --- though a veterinarian friend (Suzanne Schoener Burnham, aka "Dr. Suz") points out that AI is "Artificial Insemination" in her world ... and yes, over the years that meaning has a lot more weight of usage behind it. Nevertheless AI, in the Artificial Intelligence sense, gets reams of media coverage in spite of its history of big talk and relatively lightweight performance.

In contrast, scarcely noted is IA: Intelligence Augmentation, the use of computing machinery to leverage human thinking ability. Doug Engelbart is something like the godfather of IA (and by the way, the inventor of the computer "mouse" plus various other fundamental tools). He gets a nod for his decades of work, once in a while --- and then is put back in the cabinet while reporters run off in pursuit of the latest AI hypestory.

Case in point: Engelbart gave a talk at the "Fed Web" conference on 11 June 1998. The auditorium echoed like a hollow gourd; there were all of 15 people in attendance, scattered over the first dozen rows of seats. White-haired and well-dressed, Doug stood in front and spoke quietly for four hours. He talked about his Bootstrap Alliance and its goal of "raising the overall IQ" of organizations and of humanity as a whole. Adjacent rooms were packed with people listening to the latest Java sales pitches, ephemera, deservedly forgotten. Embarrassing ....

TopicProgramming - TopicSociety - 2001-08-25

(correlates: AcronymOverload, Deadlines, HarmonicMotel, ...)