October 12, 2021

Alan Kay

Mentioning Alan Kay in San Francisco is like mentioning Steve Jobs, everyone is familiar with him and the work. It did however occur to me that I stumbled upon Kay’s work by an accident while in Sweden and he’s not as prevalent in Europe. Alan’s wikipedia page does a way better job than I do explaining his contributions and his legacy on computer science but he’s commonly attributed as a visionary in computer science and one of the inventors of the computer GUI.

There are two standout tidbits that I wanted to share.

1. How to Invent the Future”

A lecture given at Stanford in two parts in which Alan Kay does a retrospective on the inventions from Xerox PARC and which ones got picked up by the industry down the road followed by an outline of his vision on how computing will keep interweaving into our lives.

2. Alan Kay’s Reading List

A reading list which for someone that’s active in computer science contains basically no books about computer science. The list is a gold mine of books on topics which often ends up changing your perspective of the world.


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