Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

Incunabula, Wing Flaps and Word Processors: The Strange, Secret History of How Innovations Happen

Photo: Christopher Michel

April 23, 2024 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 PST

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Our next Decoding the Past program is a conversation with technology forecaster and Stanford professor Paul Saffo on the non-linear cultural process of innovation and ways that we can learn from past technologies. Join us for a look at the how studying the innovations of the past can help us deconstruct the myth of the lone innovator and better understand our present and future!

Paul Saffo is a Silicon Valley-based forecaster who studies the dynamics of large-scale, long-term technological change, and advises corporate, NGO and governmental clients worldwide.  Paul has taught foresight in Stanford’s Engineering School for the last two decades, is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a Fellow of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. Paul was the founding Chair of the Samsung Science Board, and has served on the technology advisory boards of AT&T and Motorola, as well as the boards of a range of public and private companies. Paul will be joined in conversation by Karen Wickre, author and long-time observer of corporate culture and the internet.


Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

The Global Stage and CGU: Personal Computing and the Legacies of Paul Gray

November 8, 2023 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 PST

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The next session of Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators will celebrate the unique vision of Professor Paul Gray. Founder of CGU’s Center for Information Systems and Technology, his innovative approach brought distinction to CGU’s newly formed department. The Paul Gray PC Museum, founded 22 years ago, was named in his honor.

Join us for a conversation with those whose lives Paul touched – students, colleagues, friends and family – as we reflect on the lasting impact of his research and work as an educator.


Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

Getting AI Right: the Balance Between Innovation and Social Responsibility

Valerie Morignat and Barbara Usher head shots
April 4, 2023 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 PST

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The Paul Gray Personal Computing Museum is proud to announce Dr. Valérie Morignat as the next guest in our popular speaker series Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators.

Join CGU alum Dr. Barbara Usher and AI governance expert and professor of Responsible AI Strategy Dr. Valérie Morignat as they explore the benefits and challenges of AI innovation and learn about ways to ensure ethical AI development and use.

Learn more about Dr. Morignat and Dr. Usher on our BLOG


Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

The Future of Democracy in the Digital Age

Gregg Zachary speaking at a podium
February 15, 2023 | 12:00 pm – 1:30 PST

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Barack Obama recently said, “I think [new malevolent information] is the single greatest threat to our democracy.”

Our next Decoding the Past conversation examines the future of democracy amid the rise of information pollution, digital manipulation and misinformation in a free society.

Please join former Wall Street Journal chief writer on Silicon Valley, Gregg Pascal Zachary, and author of Digital Manipulation and the Future of Electoral Democracy in the U.S. in conversation with Karen Wickre, author and long-time observer of corporate culture and the internet, as they discuss our current world and the hope for a more secure future.

Learn more about G. Pascal Zachary and Karen Wickre on our BLOG

Headshot of Karen Wickre


Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

Cartoon drawing of Benj Edwards
Serious Fun: Representation and Popularity In Early PC Gaming
October 26, 2022 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

This session, Serious Fun: Representation and Popularity in Early PC Gaming, is an opportunity to join a conversation with Benj Edwards, tech historian, veteran technology journalist, and current AI and Machine Learning Reporter for Ars Technica. As a journalist, Edwards broke stories about the importance of software preservation, early video game history, the first computer art, minority and female tech pioneers, and online service archeology. A collector of vintage computers and video games, Edwards shares his expertise on his blog Vintage Computing and Gaming (VC&G) and is a regular contributor to the Retronauts podcast.

Harry McCracken, technology journalist and current editor for Fast Company, will moderate the conversation.

Harry McCracken headshot

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April 19, 2022 | 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
The Roots of Techno-Optimism

This session of Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators is an opportunity to join a conversation with Harry McCracken, veteran technology journalist and current editor for Fast Company. A self-proclaimed techno-optimist, McCracken has spent the last three decades writing about how technology and personal computing affects peoples’ lives, serving as editor at large for Time magazine, editor of PC World, and founder and editor of Technologizer.

Watch the Recording Here


February 10, 2022 | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Full STEAM Ahead: Inclusion Across Generations

This session of Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators is an opportunity to join a conversation with Maria Klawe, president of Harvey Mudd College and renowned computer scientist and scholar, known for her advocacy of women in STEM fields.

Watch the Recording Here


September 21, 2021 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

This session is an opportunity to join a conversation with Walt Mossberg, renowned journalist and principal technology columnist for The Wall Street Journal from 1991 through 2013. Karen Wickre, veteran connector, editor, and communicator based out of Silicon Valley, will moderate the conversation.

Watch the Recording Here


February 16, 2021 | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

This session, PC Software Innovation for Education and Business, is an opportunity to join a conversation with Adele Goldberg, who co-developed the programming language Smalltalk-80 as principal scientist and laboratory manager at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). Karen Wickre, veteran connector, editor, and communicator based out of Silicon Valley, will moderate the conversation.

Watch the Recording Here


December 9, 2020 | 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

This event is an opportunity to join a conversation with Ken Wasch, founder and CEO of the Software and Information Industry Association, and Dan Bricklin, inventor of VisiCalc, the first electronic spreadsheet.

Watch Dan Bricklin’s TED.com talk Here


September 30, 2020 | 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Decoding the Past: Conversations with PC Innovators

Join us for a conversation with Jack Nilles, internationally known as the father of telecommuting and teleworking, Len Jesup, President of CGU, and Lorne Olfman, Professor and Director of CISAT.

Watch the Recording Here