Person:Michael Dertouzos (1)

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Michael Dertouzos
b.1937
d.27 AUG 2001
Facts and Events
Name Michael Dertouzos
Gender Male
Birth? 1937
Occupation? Professor
Death? 27 AUG 2001
Reference Number? Q92994?

Dr. Dertouzous in 2000 was the Head of the Computer Laboratories of M.I.T.

He died in 2001, and the following is an article from The Boston Globe written by Bill Gates of Microsoft:

     REMEMBERING A COMPUTER VISIONARY
       Author: BY BILL GATES
       Date: 09/06/2001 Page: A15 Section: Op-Ed
     BILL GATES
     Bill Gates is chairman and chief software architect of Microsoft Corp.
     MICHAEL DERTOUZOS, WHO DIED LATE LAST MONTH AT THE EARLY AGE OF 64, WASN'T  A WELL-KNOWN NAME TO MOST PEOPLE OUTSIDE THE HIGH-TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS. YET  HIS WORK TOUCHED ANYONE WITH A COMPUTER, AND HIS LEGACY WILL BE WITH EVERY  ONE OF US

FOR DECADES TO COME.

     More than anyone else in his field, Michael understood that technology -  particularly computer technology - must serve people's needs, not the other way round.
     He was the first real technology humanist who believed that technology was largely worthless unless it truly enhanced human life, human  communication, human work and play. He would often talk about his childhood in Greece, and I remember

how passionate he was about what

technology could do for countries such as his own.
     To Michael, technology was a means to a very nontechnological end: enabling everyone on Earth, rich and poor alike, to achieve their  potential.
     In our many discussions, he was especially concerned that the computing and communications revolution was passing by the poor. He passionately - and rightly - believed that the companies and governments of the rich

industrial world had a responsibility to help right that wrong.

     Michael's work always reflected his view that people should come first and that technology should be inclusive.
     In the early 1990s, he was instrumental in creating the World Wide Web Consortium, the body that now oversees development of the Web, fired by  his determination that the Web should be accessible to all and that it should be driven

forward by constantly innovating standards.

     In recent years, one of his main interests was the $50 million Oxygen Project, which was focused on making computers as natural a part of our environment as the air we breathe.
     The project was led by the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Michael had been director for more than a quarter century.
     Despite his concern that computer technologists were still some way from achieving the high goals he set for all of us, Michael remained unfailingly optimistic about the future. He was convinced that the information revolution offered a

real chance to heal a split between technology and humanism that he believed started 300 years ago with the

Enlightenment and continued through the Industrial Revolution.

     But he also feared that, unless technology became much more human-centered, the opportunity would be lost.
     Michael was an icon in the technology world, but he was also a close friend, one of those rare people whose warmth and wisdom always left me inspired and hopeful for the future.
     For one thing, he was a true visionary. Back in the mid '70s, when Microsoft was still a start-up and the personal computer as we know it didn't exist, he predicted that within 20 years many homes would have PCs.
     And in 1980 he envisioned that a global network of computers would one day revolutionize the world's economies.
     But all his predictions had one thing in common: the need to bring humanity and technology together.
     The last time I saw Michael, we talked about his latest book, "The Unfinished Revolution," and about the progress we were making toward his human-centered ideal. As ever, he seemed optimistic, confident that we were getting closer than

ever to achieving harmony with technology. At the same time, he knew just how much remained for us to do.

     It's hard for me to believe that we'll no longer have his compass to guide us. Michael's revolution truly was unfinished, and it is up to all of us to continue his great work.

SEE ALSO Technology Review, November 2001, editorial and article.

For more information, see the EN Wikipedia article Michael Dertouzos.