back to article Lovelace at 200: Celebrating the High Priestess to Babbage's machines

A few of computing’s most vivid characters have become cultural icons. Most are from the last few decades, such as Steve Jobs and Alan Turing, but last month the University of Oxford held an academic symposium to mark the 200th birthday of one of the first: Ada, Countess of Lovelace, born on 10 December, 1815. Her …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sexist shite

    Would she be so celebrated if a man had played her bit-part in the history of computing ? Of course not.

    Celebrate ( and employ ) women for what they achieve, not for being the best person-with-vagina at doing their job. Anything else is patronising. And sexist.

    1. 45RPM

      Re: Sexist shite

      Bit part? Jesus! Are you serious? Go away and research what she did - her genitals have nothing to do with it. She was a genius, and is rightly lauded for her acheivements. If her sex has been celebrated latterly, that’s just out of necessity - as a society we do need to get more women into STEM, and giving them heroines to look up to might just be a useful tool to do that.

      Ada Lovelace was not only one of the very few who could understand what Babbage was on about (and presumably you believe that we should celebrate him, right?), she was also able to extend his ideas beyond anything that he had dreamed (not least looping) - to the extent that a Babbage / Ada machine (if built) would likely have been Turing Complete. Sure, it would likely also have ripped itself to pieces (steam not being the ideal power source for a computer) - but the principle was sound.

      Having done all that she went on to propose a means for programming the damned thing. And you have the gall to suggest that she shouldn’t be celebrated? Seriously, dude, you have a lot to learn.

      You might also want to read up on other mathematical luminaries such as Emmy Noether, Mary Lucy Cartwright, Florence Nightingale, Julia Robinson, Shafi Goldwasser, Sofia Kovalevskaya… I could go on.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sexist shite

        You are saying someone deserves to celebrated for understanding Babbage ?!

        And your list of other minor players in history further disproves your point.

      2. Arctic fox
        Flame

        @ 45RPM Re:"Bit part? Jesus! Are you serious?"

        I wholly agree. The lady was a major contributor in her own right. I also take grave exception to the fact that El Reg mentions Apple's former CEO in the same breath as a genius like Turin. You would have to be a totally brain dead iFanboi to believe that such a comparison was appropriate.

        1. Lars Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: @ 45RPM Bit part? Jesus! Are you serious?"

          I would agree too. If Apple has to be mentioned for some silly reason then mention Woz as this is about programming but even that is just silly. If you want to mention the first personal computer then write about Olivetti Programma. If you want to mention the world's first programmable computer then write about the functional program-controlled Turing-complete Z3 (1941) by Konrad Zuse. Mentioned in another comment here too.

          English has become so widespread that you cannot hide any longer just tapping Anglo-American shoulders. And as you know ElReg is read in many countries to day, I like that. There was some stats about it some years ago.

          As for Babbage and Lovelace, yes I fully agree.

          This link was in another comment, a nice read with some good comments, (just spoiled by Jobs again).

          http://blog.stephenwolfram.com/2015/12/untangling-the-tale-of-ada-lovelace/

    2. PassiveSmoking
      Thumb Down

      Re: Sexist shite

      Go back to Return Of Kings, its comments section is far better suited to your attitudes.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sexist shite

        "Go back to Return Of Kings, its comments section is far better suited to your attitudes."

        Two weeks ago I wouldn't have understood that comment, but then I was looking for scholarly articles on a battle I'm researching and clicked a link.

        Hoo boy. What a collection of basement dwellers.

    3. Yugguy

      Re: Sexist shite

      Looking at your previous posts you have a real problem with strong, intelligent, successful women.

      Heh, you'd hate my wife and daughter. That said, I doubt they'd be very impressed with you either.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sexist shite

        I love strong, intelligent women. Hyping minor celebrities just because they are not men is a sad way to celebrate them.

    4. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re:

      Embrace your X chromosome and all your mitochondrial DNA. It's one of the better parts of you.

    5. Loyal Commenter Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Sexist shite

      I think you may be confused about the meanings of the words, 'patronising', and 'sexist'.

      For clarity, my comment is patronising, and you are sexist.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sexist shite

        Look up "patronising".

        Work out if that applies to pretending women are clever, just because they are women.

        Look up "sexist".

        Work out if that applies to pretending women are clever, just because they are women.

        For clarity, you are an idiot.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sexist shite

      Ada's role was to attempt to popularise Babbages invention and in attempting to do so she wrote a better exposition of it than Babbage managed to create and wrote, with support from Babbage, a more elegant and sophsiticated 'program' than those that Babbage wrote but ultimately she did nothing of significance. She invented nothing and did not create the first program. She appears to have been competent at mathematics but unlike Babbage (who was not a mathematician of note) wrote no mathematics papers or originated anything.

      She was the right sex at the right time in the right technical area so she is lauded in the absence of any better women but Marie Curie would be a much better hero for contributions to science and Grace Hopper for computing. These women's contributions would be note worthy if they were men unlike Ada's.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Sexist shite

          >>"Many people want to believe that men and women are equal not only in potential but also ability. They argue that even if there are small differences they should not be explored or explained because of the divisive effect that it has on both sexes."

          Let me explain simply to you, what sexism is. Sexism is when you judge someone by their sex rather than all of their qualities as an individual. That includes pre-judging (or prejudice without the hyphen).

          There are minor differences between male and female brains as I understand it. Though the differences are small enough and in fact are not even consistent across different individuals of different sexes (i.e. correlation, not causation), that any resultant impact in, for example, mathematical ability has so far been unproven.

          As a result, IF there is a difference in mathematical potential between males and females, we know three things about it: One - it is small enough that it is hard to prove; two - it defines only potential (obviously) and barely anyone actually reaches their maximum potential in mathematics; three - it is vastly outweighed by social and cultural factors as evidenced by comparisons of education between different societies - both modern day nations and modern day with the past.

          Given these three clear and well-supported statements about any difference in mathematical ability IF one should exist, we can with some very basic probability conclude that it is flawed to make assumptions about any given woman's mathematical ability compared to any given man's. In layspeak, if you were making some decision about someone based on if they were good at maths, and there were even a 2% difference in maximum mathematical potential between males and females which would be quite high, you would have to be an idiot to base it on their sex rather than on who they were.

          To justify sexism, there would have to be staggering differences in mathematical ability between men and women - the point there could be no debate. As there is no such staggering difference, then statistically speaking being sexist only leads to unfair discrimination and an inefficient society that doesn't make best use of its resources. And, you know, is grossly offensive and stupid.

          There are a number of key figures in the fields of mathematics and science that are female. And that is increasing. Where might we be if we (as a society) hadn't had so many centuries of sexism? How many Emmy Noethers never managed to overcome all the prejudice they faced?

          The point of this post isn't to state that you're wrong because you're sexist, it is to show the basic flaws in being sexist. Just a little thought about how great any difference in ability would have to be to make pre-judging people based on sex a sensible thing to do, will tell you it is never a sensible thing to do and never has been.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sexist shite

        "so she wrote a better exposition of it than Babbage managed to create"

        This may be understating her achievements but even accepting your evaluation I can think of plenty instances where better documentation would be a major contribution.

    7. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Sexist shite

      The first person to actually write something that is recognizably a computer program is very important. She had to solve many logical and algorithmic problems on her own. There were no books because no one had done it before. Even her accomplishments were forgotten and rediscovered she was the first.

    8. jonathanb Silver badge

      Re: Sexist shite

      She invented computer programming. Babbage just wanted to make a better abacus. Lovelace saw that it was capable of much more than that. That is not a "bit-part" in the history of computing.

    9. Semtex451 Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Sexist shite

      If only there was a Lovelace out there for each of us.

      We'd have to invent the "Poke Engine" to get any green beer time.

      Whaddya mean its already invented?

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    She is an icon all right

    Very nice write-up.

    She is an icon all right, but she is reinstated to that status by us. Today. In reality she did _NOT_ leave a trail in science or technology. She was promptly forgotten for 100 years. We have recovered her "trail" after we rediscovered most of what she did once more in the 20th century. However, for most of that it was recovered after we rediscovered it and was of little use to advance science and technology to rediscover it.

    I know I will get modded down by zealots, but for me Sophie Kovalevskaya and Marie Curie are way ahead of her in the icon list.

    They did not just drive battering rams through what is mostly male professions till this day (math and physics), they also left a trail. What they did was followed immediately and used for advancement of technology, including computers - we would not have semiconductors if we did not understand the structure of the atom and we would not have been able to do that if we did not do partial diff equations.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: She is an icon all right

      Good point, well made.

      1. Anthony Hegedus Silver badge

        Re: She is an icon all right

        Well yes, you have a point. What Lovelace did was way ahead of her time, but sadly forgotten, and was not used as the basis for other work. Without her, the field of computer science would be no better or worse off. Which is a shame. It doesn't take away from her her genius though. Nor does her vagina, or associated parts.

    2. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: She is an icon all right

      She is an icon all right, but she is reinstated to that status by us. Today. In reality she did _NOT_ leave a trail in science or technology. She was promptly forgotten for 100 years.

      Yes, because the society of her time very rarely recognised the intellectual achievements of women. Thankfully we've moved on since then. A bit.

    3. quattroprorocked

      Re: She is an icon all right

      Hardly forgotten for a a 100 years. Simply 100 years ahead of the curve for general appreciation. That she was rediscovered only after the work had been done from scratch simply shows how good she was.

      Computer programs need computers. Until practical computers existed computer programming was as useless as prime number stuff but with even less scope for intellectual fun.

      Prime number factorization dates back to Gauss and had damn all use until there were practical computers. However it wasn't forgotten because math types can do shit for fun with paper and pencil :-)

  3. Sir Barry
    Coat

    Ada?

    I thought this was going to be about Linda.

    Mine's the one with the video in the pocket.

    1. Little Mouse

      Re: Ada?

      Would Linda be so celebrated if a man had played her bit-part in the history of pr0n ? Of course not.

      Celebrate ( and employ ) women for what they achieve, not for being the best person-with-vagina at doing their job. Anything else is patronising. And sexist

    2. Mike 16 Silver badge

      Re: Ada?

      Linda?

      You mean the parallel processing tuple-space stuff?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Gelernter

      Ted? is that you?

    3. Scott 53

      Re: Ada?

      It was a bit of a shock to realise "Deep Throat" was that long ago.

  4. SVV Silver badge

    IT person gets bracket position wrong in work shocker...

    "although her mother left the notorious poet (accompanied by Ada) as a one-month-old baby."

    Unless her mother had by some miracle already given birth herself by the age of one.

    Some debugging requred I think.....

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: IT person gets bracket position wrong in work shocker...

      @SVV

      Beat me to it. I was wondering whether it was the mother or the notorious poet who was the one-month-old baby.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Pint

    A toast to Ada

    More women with pipes needed! SFW

    https://drinkingviv.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/mutine.jpg

  6. Mage Silver badge

    Strange connections

    Mary Shelly was writing practically the first SF , Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus when Ada was a baby...

    First Scientist & Electricity in fiction? (Volta invented Electric battery in about 1799 and wrote refutation of Galvanism, or Animal Electricity, such which was obviously an idea for animating the monster.).

    It's a great pity that Babbage chose the mechanical calculator route rather than electrical relays, which would have been possible. (c.f. Conrad Zuse and Z1). The Babbage design wasn't really manufacturable with the machine tools of the time.

    In 1814, Mary began a romance with one of her father’s political followers, the then married Percy Bysshe Shelley. Together with Mary's stepsister Claire Clairmont, Mary and Shelley left for France and traveled through Europe. Upon their return to England, Mary was pregnant with Percy's child. Over the next two years, she and Percy faced ostracism, constant debt, and the death of their prematurely born daughter. They married in late 1816, after the suicide of Percy Shelley's first wife, Harriet.

    In 1816, the couple famously spent a summer with Lord Byron, John William Polidori, and Claire Clairmont near Geneva, Switzerland, where Mary conceived the idea for her novel Frankenstein. The Shelleys left Britain in 1818 for Italy, where their second and third children died before Mary Shelley gave birth to her last and only surviving child, Percy Florence Shelley. In 1822, her husband drowned when his sailing boat sank during a storm near Viareggio. A year later, Mary Shelley returned to England and from then on devoted herself to the upbringing of her son and a career as a professional author. The last decade of her life was dogged by illness, probably caused by the brain tumour that was to kill her at the age of 53.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Shelley#Authorship_of_Frankenstein

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Coat

      Are we sitting comfortably?

      "Volta invented Electric battery in about 1799"

      I thought he invented piles?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Are we sitting comfortably?

        Having looked at the internet.

        If he had trouble with his piles initially, the answer was soaking them in brine.

        Napoleon heard about it and got Volta to show them to him. Napoleon also said that Volta was a count. (Which sounds a bit harsh.)

        Must get new glasses....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strange connections

      "It's a great pity that Babbage chose the mechanical calculator route rather than electrical relays, which would have been possible."

      I don't think so. The problems would have been wire making technology (wire could be drawn but insulation was a real problem) and reliable contacts. The first relays were pretty big and very expensive and were used as amplifiers for the electric telegraph. Even had Babbage known about them, they would have been far too big, expensive and power hungry - and unreliable - to build a Difference Engine.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Strange connections

        Good point. And imagine the heat problem!

  7. TheProf

    One man's view

    You might find this interesting.

    http://blog.stephenwolfram.com/2015/12/untangling-the-tale-of-ada-lovelace/

  8. Killing Time

    The Difference Engine

    Gibson and Sterling's 'The Difference Engine' referenced in the article is a cracking read if that's your thing.

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: The Difference Engine

      It definitely is. IIRC, it's the book that got me into reading Gibson.

    2. graeme leggett

      Re: The Difference Engine

      I bought it when it came out, read it, but now can't remember a thing about what's in it. On my bookshelf still though so perhaps I should try it again.

  9. Smooth Newt

    Politicians seem to have always had an instinctive grasp of science and technology

    "What shall we do to get rid of Mr. Babbage and his calculating Machine? Surely if completed it would be worthless as far as science is concerned?"

    Prime Minister Sir Robert Peel, 1842

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Politicians seem to have always had an instinctive grasp of science and technology

      It is ever thus but now they take worthless science and build policy on it that costs, us the tax payer, the earth.

    2. Jonathan Richards 1

      Re: Politicians seem to have always had an instinctive grasp of science and technology

      Yes, indeed.

      On two occasions I have been asked, -- "Pray, Mr Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" In one case a member of the Upper, and in the other a member of the Lower, House put this question. I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

      Passages from the Life of a Philosopher by Charles Babbage, p.67

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Politicians seem to have always had an instinctive grasp of science and technology

      Given that Peel had supported Babbage to start on the engine in 1822, and it was 9 years after the project had ground to a halt when Babbage was bothering him about getting it finished, you can understand that - as Prime Minister of the day - higher priorities (war in Afghanstan, and South Africa, stopping children working down mines), a bad briefing by a non-sympathizer and Babbages undiplomatic manner might gave queered the pitch.

      http://www.computerhistory.org/babbage/robertpeel/

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Politicians seem to have always had an instinctive grasp of science and technology

        --- a bad briefing by a non-sympathizer ---

        Begins to scratch the surface of the antipathy that Airy expressed about mechanical computing. I therefore found it amusing that the first "production" program run on EDSAC was a computation of the Airy Integral. I'd like to think that Maurice Wilkes had a sense of humor that contributed to that choice.

  10. MyffyW Silver badge

    Tip of my hat to the illustrator

    Have held Lovelace as a heroine for some years, but the pipe-smoking, tape holding, girl-in-a-hurry is perfect.

    1. Lamont Cranston
      Thumb Up

      Re: Tip of my hat to the illustrator

      I found a copy of The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage under the Christmas tree - it's a lovely book, and chock full of informative annotations.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Tip of my hat to the illustrator

        You know you have a good book when even the footnotes have footnotes.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Tip of my hat to the illustrator

      I think that are Jaquard cards. (The mother od all punch cards, and still in use today. Babbage knew them and wanted to use them for his machine.) Apart from that I completely agree. And am thankful for the opportunity to indulge my pedantic side.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacquard_loom

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Glass ceilings and sticky floors

    According to Professor Barr, Lovelace "did not have educational access equal to that of the men of her time of comparable intellect.”

    I suspect what Barr meant to say was 'equal to men of comparable social class'.

    1. Smooth Newt

      Re: Glass ceilings and sticky floors

      Yes, "did not have educational access equal to that of the men of her time of comparable intellect” does seem a bit of an odd comment about a time when half the population were illiterate, and the 70 hour working week was commonplace. She was smart enough to have a wealthy mother, but I suspect there may have been other women of similar intellect in the nineteenth century who didn't pursue mathematics as a full-time hobby because they were too busy trying to prevent themselves and their families from starving to death.

  12. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Taking the long view?

    "Most are from the last few decades, such as Steve Jobs and Alan Turing"

    Turing was born just over a century ago, and died sixty-odd years ago. If one measures computing from (say) Pascal to Wirth, I guess that is the last few decades. But how much of the commentariat here was born before Turing died. Not many, I suppose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Taking the long view?

      "But how much of the commentariat here was born before Turing died. Not many, I suppose."

      I was. When I first heard about his work by a programmer on an ICL mainframe, I naively hoped to meet him only to be told he had died around the time I started school.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Taking the long view?

      remind me again on the truly amazing item that Jobs designed and built in his shed?

      Babbage and Lovelace designed (not built but could have and ironed out the bugs)

      Turing designed and helped build

      Jobs thought of an idea and got Ive's to design the Chinese to build

      Jobs in this context is about as welcome as Tony Blair in the peace talks in Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan

    3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Taking the long view?

      I wasn't. But in the mid-1980ies I worked with a colleague who had been working on a Zuse in the late 1950ies/early 1960ies. Taught me how to program a Tectronics graphic computer (I forget the name, but they were used in the original Battlestar Galactica movie as props.)

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Taking the long view?

        I don't remember Tectronics (wasn't it Tektronix?) as a computer, but I certainly worked with a Tektronix graphics display terminal from 1986-1990. I can't remember the resolution (about the same as the few other terminals we had, maybe 400x300) but it had the unique advantage of being able to display pixels in 16 colours instead of just green or amber! I wrote a rather limited driver for it, just in case anyone wanted their raster graphics in magenta rather than green...

  13. Werner McGoole

    Great visionaries

    The pair of them had immense vision and were clearly years ahead of their time. They laid the foundations of modern computing. Babbage pioneered "it'll be released real soon now" and Lovelace was streets ahead on vapourware.

    See, the foundations of modern computing!

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Great visionaries

      Rumour has it that Half Life 3 was available for the Analytical Engine - if only Babbage had finished building the thing!

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Great visionaries

        Black Mesa's social modelling processor anticipated your comment, and there will be a fully working rendered version of the Analytical Engine in HL3.

        Unfortunately the seances are taking a bit longer than anticipated, which is why it's so late.

        So it's your fault.

      2. lone_wolf

        Re: Great visionaries

        I heard it was Doom. John Carmack's great, great grandfather wrote it.

    2. Peter Simpson 1
      Thumb Up

      Re: Great visionaries

      Visionary, yes, but Babbage's ideas came faster than it was possible to realise them...and that's what killed his projects, the inability to deliver. He didn't understand that, to keep his funding, he needed to deliver. Or, maybe he just wasn't very good at setting his customer's expectations.

      Lovelace, on the other hand, was dealing with software. Much easier to deliver (even if it doesn't work to spec). She had the easier job -- writing papers.

      If you ever have a chance to see one of the two Difference Engine recreations run, take it! It's absolutely mesmerizing. The scale is impressive, as are all the shiny bits, but the rotation of the spiral carry propagation shafts is sheer poetry in motion.

  14. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Analytical Engines be Virtual Machines, Most Assuredly, and Global Operating Devices too

    Moreover—as Turing goes on to point out—there are many ways in which even digital computers do things that take us by surprise; more needs to be said to make clear exactly what the nature of this suggestion is. (Yes, we might suppose, digital computers are “constrained” by their programs: they can't do anything that is not permitted by the programs that they have. …. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing-test/#LadLovObj

    The nature of this suggestions is that digital and magical qubits are an enterprising zone in myriad enterprise zones with Command and Control of Virtual RealIT Feeds … with Source in Immaculately Resourced Assets of Universal Virtual Force.

    QuITe Heavenly Fodder for Real Virtual Machinery.

    Any advance on them BRMly MetaType Apples, @HeadUKCivServ @OECDgov?

    CyberIntelAIgent Command Endearing Controls are interesting to know.

    At times like these, and in times with those, am I minded of “Oh what a wondrous web we weave, when first one perfects AI Conception with Real Creational Remote Control of both Practically and Virtually Everything and/or Anything [we practise to conceive]”, and its devilchild bastard twin, “Oh what a wicked web we weave, when first we practise to deceive”

    Are you ready for what is coming, El Reg? A Veritable Helter Skelter of AIMagical Rides. Perfectly Divine Programs with Divine Programming ProVision for Immaculate Sees with Virtual Remote Control Visions under Grand AIMaster Controlling Command.

    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      And .........

      If mental states are functional states—and if mental states are capable of realisation in vastly different kinds of materials—then there is some reason to think that it is an empirical question whether minds can be realised in digital computing machines. Of course, this kind of suggestion is open to challenge; …… http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/turing-test/#LadLovObj

      Surely it is open to realisation and virtualisation. What then would be the challenge?

      Do you imagine choice being freely available from virtual machines/analytical engines/discrete continuous-state machines? Hmmm…. Novel and Beautifully Dangerous and Exciting too.

      1. David Pollard

        Re: And .........

        Aspects of your questions have been discussed by John Conway and Simon Kochen, who argue that if we have free will then so too in some measure do elementary particles.

        The Free Will Theorem:

        http://arxiv.org/abs/quant-ph/0604079

        The Strong Free Will Theorem:

        http://arxiv.org/abs/0807.3286

        1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

          Re: Re: And ......... @David Pollard

          If realisation and virtualisation are challenges overcome and future programming processes made eerily available/remotely self-actualised by smarter elementary particles and cosmic agents, will second and third party free choice be a mere quantum mechanical illusion and communicated delusion presenting to such parties, resulting in a corrupted virtual reality production ……. perverse bigger picture show and easily rigged Great Game Play with Toxic Virtual Terrain Team Traps …… Mad Areas of Detention where rapid progress is denied for lack of free will implementation ability/facility …… mindful selfless sharing of quantum communications protocols for pure processing of …… well, Immaculate Futures with Global Operating Devices would trade Perfect Enough Source to MarketMaker and FutureBuilder types, if filthy lucre be one object and subject of such a Great AI Game Play. And in all of those sorts of cases, is the mind one would be engaged to and playing with, be a mechanical device and virtual machine or live being of smarter extraction or is the real truth IT be at least all three?

          Shall we prove it and proof IT?

          And thanks, David Pollard, for the Cornell University Library references.

          1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

            The Thin End and Leading Edge of the Revolutionary Virtual Reality Wedge

            And just whenever you were thinking, “What a lode of nonsense” …… one really does need to consider the worth and value in ……

            Andy Haldane, the Bank’s chief economist, has said that he “dreams of the day when I am made redundant by a robot”, referring to the possibility that the MPC could be replaced by a simple rule for monetary policy. …. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/12092171/Scrap-Bank-of-Englands-powers-after-century-of-boom-and-bust-says-think-tank.html

            cc Bank of England [@bankofengland]/Mark Carney/Alan Haldane/Monetary Policy Committee

            1. Tail Up

              Re: The Leading Edge of Reality....

              re cc Bank of England -

              might be of a "wtf" kind for some who may be many, but definitely "wow!" for yet a few....

              what a shxp:// ! (-;

  15. Spaceman Spiff

    Given that I am a descendant of Lord Byron and Percy Shelly (Mary Shelly is a cousin a couple of levels in the family tree away), I guess that I am both a cousin of Frankenstein, as well as cousin to Lady Lovelace... That's probably where my writing, computing, and software skills come from. :-) Thank you ladies!

  16. DerekCurrie Bronze badge
    Happy

    Wonderful Stuff!

    I want the book.

    1. web_bod
      Thumb Up

      Re: Wonderful Stuff! - buy the book

      There's only a few hours reading in the book, but the footnotes are full of references - and as she said Google Books is a mine of information.

      The artwork easily trumps "Unicorns are jerks"

  17. BebopWeBop Silver badge

    For those of us who are still terribly childish, could I ask you to support the Lego Difference Engine? You'll be able to bung a Pi in there.

    https://ideas.lego.com/projects/102740

    of course it does not quite get to http://acarol.woz.org - but then we have all done one of those, just pre 3-d printer, no Babbage or Lovelace :-)

    Apologies to everyone else, normal service resumed.

  18. Winkypop Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Wow, 200 years on

    And the sexist attitude is still strong in some.

    Man or woman, fair dues should be given.

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