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In a way, this is recapitulating an ambitious idea John McCarthy had in 1961, of “creating a space where people out in society can access computing, to do whatever they wanted to do.” He called this a “computing utility,” where people could access a time-sharing mainframe remotely, and do their own programming projects, and run practical applications on it, to do and explore whatever they wanted in the domain. This got overtaken by personal computing in the 1980s and ’90s. Perhaps this idea will follow a similar path, going from “a space” to something you can take with you.

A guy I’ve been following off and on for several years, Bret Victor, set this up, in collaboration with Alan Kay, and some other sponsors, including Andy Herzfeld, and Mitch Kapor.


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