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“Steve Jobs Explaining Ten-Year Technology Development Cycles.” Sonoma, California, 1986. © Doug Menuez/Contour by Getty Images/Stanford University Libraries

From humble beginnings in his family’s garage to CEO of one of the world’s largest tech companies, Steve Jobs revolutionized personal computing, music, photography, apps, and countless other industries and facets of technology. He brought us the Macintosh, iPhone, iTunes, and more. Most importantly, he gave us a glimpse at what can happen when human creativity meets technology-and he put that magic into the hands of many.

In honor of what would have been the Apple cofounder’s 66th birthday, we’re sharing the February 23 Clubhouse conversation with CHM trustees Chris Fralic and Andy Cunningham, journalist Steven Levy, tech media pioneer…


By Heidi Hackford

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New Year, New Perspective

In the waning days of 2020, a remarkable panel came together for a virtual CHM Live event to share something that felt rare last year: optimism. Steve Davis, an advisor with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke with Keller Rinaudo, CEO and cofounder of Zipline, and Vin Gupta MD, a professor at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, about how new technology can improve the lives of millions. …


By Hansen Hsu

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48 Years of Smalltalk History at CHM

In commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the release of Smalltalk-80, the Computer History Museum is proud to announce a collaboration with Dan Ingalls to preserve and host the “Smalltalk Zoo.” Below, computer scientist Adele Goldberg explains the vision behind Smalltalk.

What is Smalltalk, and what is the Smalltalk Zoo?

The Smalltalk Zoo is a collection of historical versions of the revolutionary graphical programming and user environment Smalltalk, originally developed at Xerox PARC, ranging from the 1972 version all the way to the modern “Squeak” version whose development began in 1995. …


By Heidi Hackford

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“Do you have integrity?”

With that provocative question, Rob Chesnut, Airbnb’s former chief ethics officer, opened a recent CHM virtual workshop event. Viewers responded to the survey with 93% saying “yes,” but Chesnut pointed out that everyone thinks they have integrity and yet people don’t trust the media, government, corporations, or even their fellow citizens. In a rapidly changing world where everyone is connected, there are immediate and drastic consequences for behavior, and trust and integrity are more important than ever. Had George Washington lived during these times, Chesnut joked, he would have been immediately decried on social media for deforestation…


By Dag Spicer

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We the People

The history of American democracy traces an ever expanding definition of “We the People,” those first three words of the United States Constitution, words standing tall and proud, apart from all other words, emphasizing that legitimacy in leadership comes only from the citizens of a land. The United States was to be a country ruled by laws, not kings. …


by Emily Parsons

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Is social media good or evil? “The answer is ‘yes’,” says Sinan Aral, the David Austin Professor of Management and Director of the Initiative on the Digital Economy at MIT. His tongue-in-cheek response speaks to his hope that we can transcend the good-or-evil debate and think instead about how we can achieve the promise and avoid the perils of social media. During a virtual CHM Live event on November 11, 2020, Aral shared with veteran tech journalist John Markoff the four levers we have available to us to steer social media technology toward promise and away from…


By David C. Brock

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Hero Stories & Society

People, in general, have a real weakness — or to put it more positively, a real fondness — for heroes. And our fascination with heroic individual men has largely come at the expense of our veneration of heroines, with heroic women. We find this fascination with heroic figures reflected back to us everywhere. It dazzles in cinema enterprises from Bollywood to Hollywood. Shelves bulge and memory chips strain under the weight of books — non-fiction and fiction alike — centered on the heroic figure. Celebrity culture is built on the notion. Politics today offers a kaleidoscopic…


By Heidi Hackford and Emily Parsons

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Earthrise, NASA Apollo Space Mission, December 24, 1968

Can Innovative Tech Policies Help Solve Earth’s Greatest Challenges?

Is the next moonshot-an ambitious endeavor to solve a great challenge-perhaps climate change, or safeguarding public health in the pandemic age? How can the first moonshot in 1969 that landed a man on the moon, and all we’ve learned since, help us apply what works and avoid what doesn’t to foster innovations that create a better future?

CHM was fortunate to host a discussion with four thought leaders in today’s critical issues surrounding the development, use, and misuse of technology. On October 7, 2020, Judy Estrin, CEO of JLABS; California Congressman Ro Khanna; Mariana…


By Ramya Chitturi, Lydia Lam, Zade Lobo, Diya Pathak and Merritt Vassallo

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First-time Voters Speak Up

“Should I post this? What should the caption be? Will this fit in with my feed?” These are just some of the many questions we, as teens, ponder constantly. Social media has always been a major part of our lives in connecting with our peers, favorite celebrities, and the world around us, especially during the pandemic.

But recently something has changed.

There was a time we would go on Instagram for important life updates from our peers: Sonia’s trip to Sweden, Ryan’s new boyfriend, or Karie’s argument with…


By David C. Brock

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In the United States, politics was intertwined with electronics from the very start. The advent of vacuum tubes in the early twentieth century marked the beginnings of our electronic world. These tubes — cousins to the incandescent light bulbs that are now becoming a rarity — controlled flows of electricity, switching and amplifying them among other things. Early tubes were used to amplify the dots and dashes of telegraph codes as they sped flows of political and economic news across continents and underneath oceans.

In the 1920s, tubes afforded the construction of radio broadcasting, and a…

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