Scoble has posted a video where he interviewed Brian Dear, the organizer of the Plato @ 50 Conference.

The conference is in Mountain View, CA at the Computer History Museum on June 2-3.

Do you dare ask…what is PLATO ?  The acronym stands for Programmed Logic for Automated Teaching Operations (this is old-school ARPANET stuff folks). To define it in a sentence, per Mr. Dear, it was the first real online collaborative culture.

If you’re into the history of computing and interested in hearing from some of the engineers that were around developing what collaborative computing would eventually turn out to be; folks like Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect at Microsoft. Dr. Donald Bitzer, the creator of PLATO and co-inventor of the flat-panel gas plasma display, and also on the esteemed list of speakers is Dave Woolley, the creator of PLATO Notes (which inspired Ray Ozzie to later create Lotus Notes).

The conference will include the following activities

  • A rich history of eLearning / CAI / CBT
  • Education success stories, example lessons
  • Social media 1970s-style
  • Early timesharing on the ILLIAC
  • The invention of the gas-plasma display panel
  • Fundamental patents on touch panels
  • Control Data Corp.’s marketing of PLATO
  • The TUTOR programming language
  • Rare footage of PLATO demos from 60s & 70s
  • How authors created content on PLATO
  • PLATO’s legendary multiplayer games
  • NewsReport, the first online newspaper/blog
  • PLATO Notes, Personal Notes (Email), Talk-o-Matic, TERM-talk, Monitor Mode, etc.
  • Military, University, and Industrial Uses
  • What happened to PLATO?
  • A blast from the PLATO past: Cyber1.org

Check out the the conference website here for more specifics and registration – it’s FREE