Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider


Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, often known as J.C.R. Licklider or simply Lick, was a pioneering figure in the development of computer science and communications networks. He is most famous for his visionary foresight into the potential of computers for bringing about social change and is often credited as one of the fundamental architects of the modern internet. He also initiated the concept of a universal network that led to the creation of ARPANET, an early packet switching network.


The phonetics for “Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider” would approximately be: “JOH-zef karl rob-NET lik-LY-der”

Key Takeaways

  1. Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider was a prominent figure in the field of computer science, playing a pivotal role in the development of the internet. His vision of a “Galactic Network” led to the creation of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET).
  2. Licklider was also deeply invested in advancements on human-computer interaction. He was one of the founding fathers of artificial intelligence and championed the concept of “man-computer symbiosis”, which refers to cooperative interaction between humans and computers.
  3. Aside from his pioneering work in computer science, Licklider held significant roles in various institutions. He acted as director at both the Behavioral Sciences Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Information Processing Techniques Office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.


Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, often known as “Lick”, is a significant figure in the history of technology due to his integral role in the development and advancement of computer science. He is most known for his visionary foresight in the potential of technology, particularly regarding the concept of a worldwide interconnected network, which essentially laid the foundation for the modern Internet. Licklider served as a director of the U.S. Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), where he funded early networking research leading to the creation of the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet. His ideas on interactive computing, including his belief in the potential for user-friendly interfaces, have shaped essential aspects of modern-day computer usage.


Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, also known as J.C.R or “Lick”, was not a technology term, but a visionary figure in computer science and technology during the mid-twentieth century. He is primarily known for his fundamental contribution to the development of the internet. Licklider’s purpose, vision and efforts were largely focused on creating a sophisticated interactive and interconnected computer network that would be available to everyone for efficient communication and information sharing.Moreover, Licklider pioneered the concept of a universal network, highlighting the importance of a futuristic tool for research, development, and communication. He foresaw a globally interconnected set of computers, through which everyone could quickly access data and programs from any site. In essence, he dreamed up what we know today as “cloud computing” even before the basic infrastructure for such a technology was in place. This vision materialized into the ARPANET, the predecessor to the modern internet. Without his efforts, the idea of a globally interconnected network of computers that we take for granted today might not have been realized.


1. ARPANET: Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider is often referred to as a crucial figure in the development of the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which was the precursor to the internet. His work on the project resulted in the first wide area packet switching network, laying the foundation for data communication and leading to further developments in computer networking. 2. Concept of Interactive Computing: Licklider’s vision of universal networking and interactive computing — a system in which a human and a computer could work together in an interactive partnership — was groundbreaking. His ideas led to the development of time-sharing systems, which allowed multiple users to interact with a computer at the same time, thereby dramatically increasing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of computer use.3. Human-machine symbiosis and AI: Licklider’s seminal paper “Man-Computer Symbiosis” introduced the concept of a mutually beneficial relationship between humans and machines. This concept has significantly influenced fields like artificial intelligence and machine learning, where developers strive to create systems that can understand, learn from, and interact with humans in sophisticated ways.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Q: Who was Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider?A: Joseph Carl Robnett Licklider, often known as J.C.R. or “Lick,” was an American psychologist and computer scientist who is most commonly associated with his pioneering work in computer networking and the establishment of the internet.Q: When was J.C.R. Licklider born and when did he die?A: J.C.R. Licklider was born on March 11, 1915, and died on June 26, 1990.Q: What is J.C.R. Licklider famous for?A: Licklider is best recognized for his visionary idea of a “Galactic Network,” a concept he introduced in 1962. This idea involved a global computer network that allows users to access data and programs from any site, which later became the foundation for the development of the internet.Q: What significant positions did Licklider hold during his career?A: Licklider served as the director of the Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO) at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where he significantly advanced research in interactive computing and computer networking. He also held prominent positions at Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), and MIT.Q: What is the “Man-Computer Symbiosis” that Licklider proposed?A: “Man-Computer Symbiosis” is a concept proposed by Licklider in his 1960 paper. He envisioned a future where humans and computers would work together interactively and cooperatively, creating a symbiotic relationship where computers would handle the routine and mundane tasks, and humans would focus on problem-solving and decision-making.Q: How did Licklider contribute to the development of ARPANET?A: As the head of IPTO, Licklider invested heavily in establishing a computer network, which eventually evolved into ARPANET, the precursor to the modern internet.Q: How has Licklider’s work influenced modern technology?A: His vision of a connected world with easy access to data and information has had a profound impact on the development of the internet, revolutionizing how we interact with technology today. His concept of interactive computing has set the course for the design and development of user interfaces and modern-day computing.Q: Is there an award established in Licklider’s name?A: Yes, the J.C.R. Licklider Prize for Research in Human-Computer Interaction was established in his honor by the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group in Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI).

Related Tech Terms

  • ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network)
  • Man-Computer Symbiosis
  • Intergalactic Computer Network
  • Information Processing Techniques Office (IPTO)
  • MIT Lincoln Laboratory

Sources for More Information

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