Knowledge Navigator Implications

Between 1987 and 1988 Apple has created a couple of vision videos under the common research theme Knowledge Navigator. Of course, Knowledge Navigator and Future Shock are most famous; but there are about 10 others short clips which illustrate additional concepts. Note that these are created in the pre-Web and pre-tablet era.

Below is a video that features Steve Wozniak, Diane Ravich (then director of Encyclopædia Britannica <sic!>), Alan Kay and the authors Ray Bradbury and Alvin Toffler. They are dreaming about the future – our present. Although the technology today seems capable to deliver on this vision, I suppose we have some work left to do you adjust our tools in a way to really support it.

Topics: computers as simulation tools, education, agents, voice user interfaces, automated translation, hypermedia

Knowledge Navigator Implications, Apple 1988 at YouTube


WYSIWYG is the abbreviation for What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get. It is a concept developed at Xerox PARC; it means that the display on screen corresponds to the printed sheet of paper – a quite radical idea in the early days of desktop computing.  According to Wikipedia the expression was “coined by John Seybold and popularized at Xerox PARC during the late 1970s.” – According to Alan Kay it was Charles Simony, who introduced the term.

Therefore it is quite stunning to hear the words in a totally different context. Tim Rice used the very same phrase for a chorus in Jesus Christ Superstar (music Andrew Lloyd Webber, 1970) in the piece The Temple.

what you see is what you get

Score of Jesus Christ Superstar, The Temple

Quite possible that John Seybold knew the song.

[Update 26-Apr-2017] I do not what to push this over the edge, but the following lines are kind of intriguing as well, once you switch the context back to computing:

No-one’s been disappointed yet – success rate, ease of use
Don’t be scared give me a try –  familiarity, robustness, undo, user experience
There is no-thing you can’t buy – Business goals; revenue comes from happy customers

[Update 29-Dec-2018] Alan Kay: What exactly is WYSIWYG?