Ada Lovelace

Alfred Edward Chalon: Portrait of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, England, 1840, Watercolour.
Courtesy of the Science Museum London

Unlike Babbage, who was exclusively interested in numbers, Ada Lovelace foresaw the cultural change that would be brought about by the digital revolution. Even art and music, according to her vision, would soon be created by a programmable machine: “[The Analytical Engine] might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine. Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.” Ada Augusta, Countess of Lovelace, 1843