Last month we lost an Internet pioneer. “[The head of ARPA] liked the idea immediately,” Robert W. Taylor told the New York Times, “and he took a million dollars out of the ballistic missile defense budget and put it into my budget right then and there.” That was the beginning of Arpanet, which evolved into the Internet.
That was in 1966. In a paper he co-wrote two years later, Taylor predicted that the Internet would link humans in an unprecedented way, letting us communicate more effectively over the net than face-to-face, replacing existing print dictionaries and encyclopedias, and serving as a grand public information utility.
Later, he ran Xerox PARC, where he oversaw the development of the Alto computer and the modern graphical user interface, Ethernet, laser printer technology, and WYSIWYG word processing.
He also wrote this.
He died Thursday, April 13, in Woodside, California, at the age of 85.