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Wonderland: How Play Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Book of Ingenious Devices, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Shannon: information theory, Clayton Christensen, colonial exploitation, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Drosophila, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, game design, global village, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, HyperCard, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telegraph, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, land value tax, Landlord’s Game, lone genius, mass immigration, megacity, Minecraft, moral panic, Murano, Venice glass, music of the spheres, Necker cube, New Urbanism, Oculus Rift, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, pets.com, placebo effect, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, QWERTY keyboard, Ray Oldenburg, spice trade, spinning jenny, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, supply-chain management, talking drums, the built environment, The Great Good Place, the scientific method, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, trade route, Turing machine, Turing test, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, Victor Gruen, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white flight, white picket fence, Whole Earth Catalog, working poor, Wunderkammern
“Using the Jacquard loom,” James Essinger writes, “it was possible for a skilled weaver to produce two feet of stunningly beautiful decorated silk fabric every day compared with the one inch of fabric per day that was the best that could be managed with the drawloom.” Joseph-Marie Jacquard displaying his loom The Jacquard loom, patented in 1804, stands today as one of the most significant innovations in the history of textile production. But its most important legacy lies in the world of computation. In 1839, Charles Babbage wrote a letter to an astronomer friend in Paris, inquiring about a portrait he had just encountered in London, a portrait that when viewed from across the room seemed to have been rendered in oil paints, but on closer inspection turned out to be woven entirely out of silk. The subject of the portrait was Joseph-Marie Jacquard himself. In his letter Babbage explained his interest in the legendary textile inventor: You are aware that the system of cards which Jacard [sic] invented are the means by which we can communicate to a very ordinary loom orders to weave any pattern that may be desired.
Though several working prototypes were built, the machine never found a home in the French textile industry. But one of those prototypes survived long enough to find its way into the collection of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers, an institute formed in the early days of the French Revolution, more than a decade after Vaucanson’s death. In 1803, an ambitious inventor from Lyon named Joseph-Marie Jacquard made a pilgrimage to the conservatoire to inspect Vaucanson’s automated loom. Recognizing both the genius and the limitations of the pinned cylinder, Jacquard hit upon the idea of using a sequence of cards punched with holes to program the loom. In Jacquard’s design, small rods, each attached to an individual thread, pressed against the punch cards; if they encountered the card’s surface, the thread remained stationary.
Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning
It’s tempting to assume that the machinery of cultural innovation is closer to that engineer tinkering with her model airplane than it is to the lucky Archaeopteryx leaping off the treetop and discovering that its feathers are more than just a down jacket. No one contests the role of intelligent design in the history of human culture. But the history of human creativity abounds with exaptations. In the early 1800s, a French weaver named Joseph-Marie Jacquard developed the first punch cards to weave complex silk patterns with mechanical looms. Several decades later, Charles Babbage borrowed Jacquard’s invention to program the Analytical Engine. Punch cards would remain crucial to programmable computers until the 1970s. Lee de Forest created the Audion with one clear aim: to create a device that would detect electromagnetic signals and amplify them.
STEAM LOCOMOTIVE (1805) A number of engineers built working steam-powered vehicles, some designed to run on roads, some on rails, in the last decades of the eighteenth century, though historians generally consider the train designed by Richard Trevithick in Wales in 1805 to be the first fully functioning steam locomotive. PUNCH CARDS (1805) The idea of using punch cards for programming mechanical looms is generally credited to Joseph Marie Jacquard, but weavers in the early 1700s, including Basile Bouchon and Jean Falcon, experimented extensively with punch card control of warp threads. SPECTROSCOPE (1814) German lenscrafter Joseph von Fraunhofer invented the spectroscope, a device that measures properties of light, in order to study dark lines occurring in various forms of spectra, which he later discovered were areas of the spectrum where light is absorbed.
The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig
battle of ideas, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Build a better mousetrap, carried interest, collateralized debt obligation, computer age, corporate governance, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, employer provided health coverage, financial deregulation, fixed income, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, income inequality, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, laissez-faire capitalism, land tenure, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mega-rich, minimum wage unemployment, Mont Pelerin Society, Naomi Klein, neoliberal agenda, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, pre–internet, price mechanism, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, rising living standards, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, The Chicago School, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tobin tax, too big to fail, trickle-down economics, Vanguard fund, very high income, wealth creators, women in the workforce
On the contrary, it was the product of a long series of technological developments going back decades (or even centuries), each one making possible the advance of science to the point that the next breakthrough became possible, indeed almost inevitable. In many ways, the story of the personal computer begins in France in the early 1800s with the invention of a superior loom for weaving silk. The intricately brocaded fabrics that were fashionable at the time could be produced by an instrument known as a drawloom, but only with extremely difficult and complex hand-weaving. Joseph Marie Jacquard, the fifth of nine children of a master weaver from Lyon, devised a loom that allowed the weaving function to be done without manual effort. The key to his invention was a series of punched cards. These were inserted into the loom, where metal rods attached to individual threads would hit against them. If a rod encountered a hole in a card, it would activate a thread; if it encountered solid card, it would do nothing.
Engelbart, who has been sadly disappointed by the commercial direction of the computer revolution, held the patent for the mouse, although he never actually received any royalties for it because he allowed it to expire in 1987, on the cusp of the desktop revolution. So if we were to present the story of the development of the personal computer as a stage play, it would be a rich and complex drama with a long list of characters. From early scenes featuring Joseph Marie Jacquard and his punched-card technology, the play would go on to include starring roles for Charles Babbage, Herman Hollerith, Thomas John Watson, J. Presper Eckert, John Mauchly, Douglas Engelbart and Bill English, with a host of other largely unidentified characters playing crucial supporting roles onstage and off. Toward the end of this rather long drama, there’d be an intriguing subplot about how technological innovator Gary Kildall thought he had a deal with IBM, only to discover his friend Bill Gates had sold IBM an adaptation of Kildall’s own operating system for the first mass-market personal computer.
Turing's Vision: The Birth of Computer Science by Chris Bernhardt
Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Andrew Wiles, British Empire, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, complexity theory, Conway's Game of Life, discrete time, Douglas Hofstadter, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Internet Archive, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Norbert Wiener, Paul Erdős, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Von Neumann architecture
Though the physical machines were not constructed during his lifetime, Babbage went on to design a new difference engine, Difference Engine No. 2, and the Analytical Engine.1 The Analytical Engine was far more sophisticated than the difference engines. Its most important and innovative feature was that it could be programmed using punched cards. This was an idea that he borrowed from mechanical looms. In 1801, Joseph-Marie Jacquard had designed a mechanical loom that could weave intricate patterns based on operations controlled by a sequence of punched cards. Babbage realized he could use the same idea for his machine. He had designed the programmable computer. Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, now usually known as just Ada Lovelace, was the daughter of the poet Lord Byron. Her mother, concerned about the mental instability in Lord Byron’s family, decided that her daughter should study mathematics to help build her mental defenses.
Paper Machines: About Cards & Catalogs, 1548-1929 by Markus Krajewski, Peter Krapp
business process, continuation of politics by other means, double entry bookkeeping, Frederick Winslow Taylor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, index card, Index librorum prohibitorum, information retrieval, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, Jacques de Vaucanson, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge worker, means of production, new economy, paper trading, Turing machine
Remington & Sons Typewriter Company, spun off by gun producer Eliphalet Remington II in 1886, acquires both Library Bureau and Globe Wernicke, merging them the following year with Rand Kardex to form Remington Rand Inc.78 A department called Remington Kardex Bureau spurs the decisive advancement of the index card to an automated storage device principle whose origins refer once more to Europe, that is, to the eighteenth century and Jacques de Vaucanson as well as Joseph Marie Jacquard’s punch cards.79 After 1958, ﬁve electric-pneumatically linked Remington Rand typewriters print the paper slips of the last analog catalog of the Austrian National Library, ﬁve copies synchronized by compressed air. However, they prove inferior to the more robust and soon widely used electric typewriters of the International Business Machines Corporation, and as a result are disposed of.80 The intertwined genealogy of card index makers and typewriter manufacturers, leading to the production of the universal discrete machine, remains an American history of mergers and acquisitions.
Albert Einstein, Andy Kessler, automated trading system, bank run, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Noyce, Bretton Woods, British Empire, buttonwood tree, Claude Shannon: information theory, Corn Laws, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, fiat currency, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, Grace Hopper, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Leonard Kleinrock, Marc Andreessen, Maui Hawaii, Menlo Park, Metcalfe's law, Metcalfe’s law, packet switching, price mechanism, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit motive, railway mania, RAND corporation, Robert Metcalfe, Silicon Valley, Small Order Execution System, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, tulip mania, Turing machine, Turing test, William Shockley: the traitorous eight
Frog’s legs were one thing, but there was an industrial revolution going on, and more important tasks to be done. Remember the Edmund Cartwright automated loom from 1785? Stream engines would drive the looms, but the cloth that came out was one color or one thickness. The bland Brits didn’t complain, at least it was more comfortable than itchy wool. The French, on the other hand, demanded a little style, and were willing to pay for it. The son of a French silk weaver, Joseph-Marie Jacquard had a thriving business operating looms. But to meet the demands of discerning customers for interesting patterns, he needed weavers to lift or depress warp threads before each pass of the shuttle of the loom. This was painstaking work so output was slow and expensive. In 1801, Jacquard came up with an automated loom that operated with a set of punched cards. If there was a hole in the punch card, a spring-loaded pin and corresponding warp thread would be depressed.
The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood by James Gleick
Ada Lovelace, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, AltaVista, bank run, bioinformatics, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, citation needed, Claude Shannon: information theory, clockwork universe, computer age, conceptual framework, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, discovery of DNA, Donald Knuth, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gödel, Escher, Bach, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, index card, informal economy, information retrieval, invention of the printing press, invention of writing, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, lifelogging, Louis Daguerre, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, microbiome, Milgram experiment, Network effects, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, PageRank, pattern recognition, phenotype, Pierre-Simon Laplace, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Rubik’s Cube, Simon Singh, Socratic dialogue, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, stochastic process, talking drums, the High Line, The Wisdom of Crowds, transcontinental railway, Turing machine, Turing test, women in the workforce
Babbage himself had moved far beyond the machine on display in his drawing room; he was planning a new machine, still an engine of computation but transmuted into another species. He called this the Analytical Engine. Motivating him was a quiet awareness of the Difference Engine’s limitations: it could not, merely by adding differences, compute every sort of number or solve any mathematical problem. Inspiring him, as well, was the loom on display in the Strand, invented by Joseph-Marie Jacquard, controlled by instructions encoded and stored as holes punched in cards. What caught Babbage’s fancy was not the weaving, but rather the encoding, from one medium to another, of patterns. The patterns would appear in damask, eventually, but first were “sent to a peculiar artist.” This specialist, as he said, punches holes in a set of pasteboard cards in such a manner that when those cards are placed in a Jacquard loom, it will then weave upon its produce the exact pattern designed by the artist.♦ The notion of abstracting information away from its physical substrate required careful emphasis.
I Am a Mathematician (Wiener) iatroepidemics IBM, 8.1, 9.1, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 14.1, 14.2 ideas, compared to biosphere, 11.1, 11.2; see also memes idiographic writing Iliad (Homer) images compressibility of memes as recording of, 14.1, 14.2 imagination, 2.1n, 4.1, 4.2, 7.1 Imitation Game (Turing), 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4 incompleteness theorem algorithmic proof of randomness and, 12.1, 12.2 chaos theory and, 12.1, 12.2 decision problem and, 7.1, 7.2 proof of, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 significance of, 6.1, 6.2 Turing machine and indexes, 15.1, 15.2, epl.1, epl.2, epl.3 inductive reasoning Infinities, The (Banville) “Information Is Inevitably Physical” (Landauer) “Information Is Physical” (Landauer) information overload in Borges’s “Library of Babel,” 14.1 e-mail and, 15.1, 15.2 filter and search strategies to prevent, 15.1, 15.2 historical fears of, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 human–computer comparison of effects of knowledge and, 15.1, 15.2 manifestations of, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 meaning and, epl.1, epl.2, epl.3, epl.4 psychological studies of, 15.1, 15.2 technological progress and, prl.1, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3, 15.4 information theory attempts to add semantic counterpart to on control of redundancy in messages, 7.1, 7.2 cryptography and development in England, 8.1, 8.2 diagram of communication in, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 genetic science and, prl.1, 10.1, 10.2, 10.3, 10.4, 10.5, 10.6, 10.7 language as possibility in, epl.1, epl.2 measurement of information in, 7.1, 7.2 message value in, 12.1-3.1 noise source in, 7.1, 7.2 origins of, prl.1, prl.2, prl.3, prl.4, 7.1; see also Mathematical Theory of Communication, The (Shannon, Weaver) physics and, prl.1, prl.2, prl.3 place of meaning in, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, epl.1, epl.2 response of wider scientific community to, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.7, 8.8, 8.9 response to Shannon’s initial publication, 8.1, 8.2 significance of, prl.1, prl.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 in Soviet Union, 12.1, 12.2 system states in theories of psychology and, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 8.4, 8.5, 8.6, 8.7 see also quantum information science Internet, 11.1, 11.2, epl.1, epl.2, epl.3 It from Bit (Wheeler), prl.1, 13.1 Jacobson, Homer Jacquard, Joseph-Marie Jacquard loom, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 12.1 James, William, 8.1, 8.2 János, Neumann; see John von Neumann Jaynes, Julian, 2.1, 2.2 Jennings, Allan Johannsen, Wilhelm John of Salisbury Johnson, John B. Johnson, Samuel, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 Johnstone, James Joncourt, Élie de, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3 Jones, Alexander Jonsson, Lars Jowett, Benjamin Judson, Horace Freeland Just, Ward Kahn, David Karinthy, Frigyes Kele language, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3 Kelvin, William Thomson, Lord Kepler, Johannes Kermode, Frank, 2.1, 2.2 Keynes, John Maynard Khwarizmi, Abu Abdullah Mohammad Ibn Musa al- Kierkegaard, Søren King, August Ada; see Lovelace, Ada King, William Klüver, Heinrich knowledge curse of omniscience, epl.1, epl.2 emergence of global consciousness, epl.1, epl.2, epl.3 epistemological theory of information information overload and, 15.1, 15.2, 15.3 limits to scientific investigation, 12.1, 12.2 in literate cultures, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 power of as product of logic requirements for communication, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3 transmission of, through human history, prl.1, prl.2 Knuth, Donald, 2.1, 2.2 Kolmogorov, Andrei Nikolaevich, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4, 12.5, 12.6, 12.7, 12.8 Kolmogorov-Chaitin complexity, 12.1, 12.2, 12.3, 12.4 Konversations-Lexikon, epl.1 Lacroix, Sylvestre François Lagrange, Joseph Louis Landauer, Rolf, 13.1, 13.2 Landowska, Wanda Landsberg, Peter Lane, Anthony, 15.1, 15.2 language adaptations for telegraphy, 5.1, 5.2 Babbage’s work on, 4.1, 4.2 compressibility of concept of mind and for discussing language, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 functions of, 5.1, 5.2 as infinite possibility, epl.1, epl.2 limitations of measuring redundancy in, 1.1, 1.2, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3 paradoxes of, 2.1, 2.2, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 pattern analysis perfect redundancy in, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3, 12.1 as shared experience statistical structure of, 7.1, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4 symbolic expression of, 5.1, 5.2 technical, 3.1, 3.2 transmission capacity of Internet and, 3.1, 3.2 universal, 4.1, 6.1 see also oral culture; writing; specific language Language Instinct, The (Pinker), 3.1, 3.2 Lanier, Jaron Laplace, Pierre-Simon, 14.1, 14.2 Lardner, Dionysius, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2 Lasker, Edward Latin language, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 3.4 Lawrence Livermore Laboratory Laws of Thought, The (Boole), 5.1, 5.2 Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm, 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 6.1, 6.2, 7.1, 15.1, epl.1 Lem, Stanislaw Le Roy, Édouard Le Sage, Georges-Louis Lever, Ralph Levor, Norma, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3 Leyland numbers Li, Ming, 11.1, 11.2 liar’s paradox libraries, organization of materials in, 3.1, 3.2, 15.1 Library of Alexandria, 14.1, 14.2 “Library of Babel, The” (Borges), 14.1, 14.2, 15.1, epl.1, epl.2 Library of Congress, 7.1, 14.1, 14.2, epl.1 Licklider, J.
3D printing, Airbnb, American energy revolution, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, Bakken shale, barriers to entry, basic income, Bernie Sanders, BRICs, call centre, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, cloud computing, collective bargaining, computer age, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, Edward Glaeser, Erik Brynjolfsson, eurozone crisis, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, falling living standards, first square of the chessboard, first square of the chessboard / second half of the chessboard, Ford paid five dollars a day, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, future of work, gig economy, global supply chain, global value chain, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, Internet of things, inventory management, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, low skilled workers, lump of labour, Lyft, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, performance metric, pets.com, price mechanism, quantitative easing, Ray Kurzweil, rent-seeking, reshoring, rising living standards, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, savings glut, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, self-driving car, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, software is eating the world, supply-chain management, supply-chain management software, TaskRabbit, The Future of Employment, The Nature of the Firm, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, trade liberalization, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Uber and Lyft, Uber for X, very high income, working-age population
It is the general-purpose technologies – such as steam and electricity – that generate economic revolutions. And computing is a fantastically powerful general-purpose technology. Engineers tinkered with computing machines for millennia, but the pace of advance in mechanical computing truly picked up in the nineteenth century. Early computing innovation found its way into a loom invented by a Frenchman called Joseph Marie Jacquard, which used punch cards to ‘programme’ the loom to produce particular patterns in the fabric. In the early twentieth century, the vacuum tube (a light-bulb-like device in which an electrical current is transmitted from one electrode to another) became the guts of early electronic computers. Early computer scientists learned that the tubes could be used as electrical switches, which meant that they could be used to calculate.* It was the Second World War, however, which transformed the computing world.
Our Own Devices: How Technology Remakes Humanity by Edward Tenner
A. Roger Ekirch, Bonfire of the Vanities, card file, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Frederick Winslow Taylor, future of work, indoor plumbing, informal economy, invention of the telephone, invisible hand, Jacquard loom, John Markoff, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Network effects, optical character recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Shoshana Zuboff, Stewart Brand, women in the workforce
A British patent was issued for a crude barrel piano, activated by pins on a large cylinder, in 1829. Most of these devices, though, were intended for taverns, dance halls, or street performances rather than bourgeois homes.19 Nineteenth-century automation promoted new devices and ambitions. Beginning in 1815, the silk mills of Lyons and other cities were using strings of cards with punched holes to reproduce designs on special looms developed by the manufacturer Joseph Marie Jacquard. This was one of the earliest forms of automatic process control in industry Pianos, organs, and other keyboard instruments were obvious candidates for more advanced systems for reproducing recorded notes. The first automatic pianos were rudimentary instruments for places of cheap popular entertainment. The 1880s and 1890s saw a wave of more sensitive players, beginning with organs, that used air pressure controlled by holes in rolls of paper.
Albert Einstein, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, barriers to entry, collective bargaining, computer age, Copley Medal, creative destruction, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, decarbonisation, delayed gratification, Fellow of the Royal Society, Flynn Effect, fudge factor, full employment, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, iterative process, Jacquard loom, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, knowledge economy, moral hazard, Network effects, Paul Samuelson, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent-seeking, Ronald Coase, Simon Kuznets, spinning jenny, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, transaction costs, transcontinental railway, zero-sum game, éminence grise
Between 1740 and 1780,36 the French inclination to reward inventors not by enforcing a natural right but by the grant of pensions and prizes resulted in the award of nearly 7 million livres—approximately $600 million today*—to inventors of largely forgotten devices, but Claude-François Jouffroy d’Abbans (inventor of one of the first working steamboats), Barthélemy Thimonnier (creator of the first sewing machine), and Aimé Argand (a partner of Boulton and friend of Watt whose oil lamp became the world’s standard) all died penniless. Other than Joseph-Marie Jacquard, the creator of the eponymous loom, and perhaps the Montgolfiers, the French did not lionize their inventors.37 This didn’t mean they didn’t understand the strategic importance of technology. Carnot himself wrote, “to deprive England of her steam engines,38 you would deprive her of both coal and iron; you would cut off the sources of all her wealth, totally destroy her means of prosperity, and reduce this nation of huge power to insignificance.
Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software by Charles Petzold
Bill Gates: Altair 8800, Claude Shannon: information theory, computer age, Donald Knuth, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Dynabook, Eratosthenes, Grace Hopper, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, James Watt: steam engine, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Daguerre, millennium bug, Norbert Wiener, optical character recognition, popular electronics, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Turing machine, Turing test, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture
For example, Pascal's design of the carry mechanism prohibited the machine from subtracting. To subtract, the nines' complement had to be added the way that I demonstrated in Chapter 13. Successful mechanical calculators that real people could use weren't available until the late nineteenth century. One curious invention that was to have a later influence on the history of computing—as well as a profound influence on the textile industry—was an automated loom developed by Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752–1834). The Jacquard loom (circa 1801) used metal cards with holes punched in them (much like those of a player piano) to control the weaving of patterns in fabrics. Jacquard's own tour de force was a self-portrait in black and white silk that required about 10,000 cards. In the eighteenth century (and indeed up to the 1940s), a computer was a person who calculated numbers for hire.
3D printing, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, anthropic principle, Asperger Syndrome, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, bioinformatics, British Empire, business process, carbon-based life, cellular automata, Claude Shannon: information theory, combinatorial explosion, complexity theory, continuous integration, Conway's Game of Life, cosmological principle, dark matter, dematerialisation, double helix, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Snowden, epigenetics, Flash crash, Google Glasses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, income inequality, index card, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, invention of the steam engine, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, liberal capitalism, lifelogging, millennium bug, Moravec's paradox, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, off grid, On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures, packet switching, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, post-industrial society, prediction markets, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, strong AI, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, theory of mind, Turing complete, Turing machine, Turing test, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Vernor Vinge, Von Neumann architecture, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Y2K
The big bang of the modern mind. 380 BC: Plato writes The Republic. 330 BC: Aristotle describes ‘syllogisms’, a way to mechanise thought. 150 BC: The Antikythera mechanism is constructed, a mechanical calculating machine, probably by students of astronomer Hipparchus of Rhodes. AD 50: Hero of Alexandria designs first mechanical automata. 1275: Ramon Lull invents Ars Magna, a logical machine. 1637: Descartes declares cogito ergo sum (‘I think therefore I am’). 1642: Blaise Pascal invents the Pascaline, a mechanical cal-culator. 1726: Jonathan Swift publishes Gulliver’s Travels, which includes the description of a machine that can write any book. 1801: Joseph Marie Jacquard invents a textiles loom that uses punched cards. 1811: Luddite movement in Great Britain against the auto-mation of manual jobs. 1818: Mary Shelley publishes Frankenstein. 1835: Joseph Henry invents the electronic relay that allows electrical automation and switching. 1842: Charles Babbage lectures at the University of Turin, where he describes the Analytical Engine. 1843: Ada Lovelace writes the first computer program. 1847: George Boole invents symbolic and binary logic. 1876: Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone. 1879: Thomas Edison invents the light bulb. 1879: Gottlob Frege invents predicate logic and calculus. 1910: Bertrand Russell and Alfred North Whitehead publish Principia Mathematica. 1917: Karel Capek coins the term ‘robot’ in his play R.U.R. 1921: Ludwig Wittgenstein publishes Tractatus Logico-philosopicus. 1931: Kurt Gödel publishes The Incompleteness Theorem. 1937: Alan Turing invents the ‘Turing machine’. 1938: Claude Shannon demonstrates that symbolic logic can be implemented using electronic relays. 1941: Konrad Zuse constructs Z3, the first Turing-complete computer. 1942: Alan Turing and Claude Shannon work together at Bell Labs. 1943: Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts demonstrate the equivalence between electronics and neurons. 1943: IBM funds the construction of Harvard Mark 1, the first program-controlled calculator. 1943: Charles Wynn-Williams and others create the computer Colossus at Bletchley Park. 1945: John von Neumann suggests a computer architecture whereby programs are stored in the memory. 1946: ENIAC, the first electronic general-purpose computer, is built. 1947: Invention of the transistor at Bell Labs. 1948: Norbert Wiener publishes Cybernetics. 1950: Alan Turing proposes the ‘Turing Test’. 1950: Isaac Asimov publishes I, Robot. 1952: Alan Turing commits suicide with cyanide-laced apple. 1952: Herman Carr produces the first one-dimensional MRI image. 1953: Claude Shannon hires Marvin Minsky and John McCarthy at Bell Labs. 1953: Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations pub-lished in German (two years after his death). 1956: The Dartmouth conference; the term ‘Artificial Intel-ligence’ is coined by John McCarthy. 1957: Allen Newell and Herbert Simon build the ‘General Problem Solver’. 1958: John McCarthy creates LISP programming language. 1959: John McCarthy and Marvin Minsky establish AI lab at MIT. 1963: The US government awards $2.2 million to AI lab at MIT for machine-aided cognition. 1965: Hubert Dreyfus argues against the possibility of Artificial Intelligence. 1969: Stanley Kubrick introduces HAL in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. 1971: Leon Chua envisions the memristor. 1972: Alain Colmerauer develops Prolog programming language. 1973: The Lighthill report influences the British government to abandon research in AI. 1976: Hans Moravec builds the ‘Stanford Cart’, the first auto-nomous vehicle.
The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch
agricultural Revolution, Albert Michelson, anthropic principle, artificial general intelligence, Bonfire of the Vanities, conceptual framework, cosmological principle, dark matter, David Attenborough, discovery of DNA, Douglas Hofstadter, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, first-past-the-post, Georg Cantor, Gödel, Escher, Bach, illegal immigration, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, John Conway, John von Neumann, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kenneth Arrow, Loebner Prize, Louis Pasteur, pattern recognition, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, supervolcano, technological singularity, The Coming Technological Singularity, the scientific method, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Review, William of Occam, zero-sum game
But when it was reinvented by the printer Johannes Gutenberg in Europe in the fifteenth century, using alphabetic type, it initiated an avalanche of further progress. Here we see a transition that is typical of the jump to universality: before the jump, one has to make specialized objects for each document to be printed; after the jump, one customizes (or specializes, or programs) a universal object – in this case a printing press with movable type. Similarly, in 1801 Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a general-purpose silk-weaving machine now known as the Jacquard loom. Instead of having to control manually each row of stitches in each individual bolt of patterned silk, one could program an arbitrary pattern on punched cards which would instruct the machine to weave that pattern any number of times. The most momentous such technology is that of computers, on which an increasing proportion of all technology now depends, and which also has deep theoretical and philosophical significance.
France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams
active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Sloane Ranger, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket
Boarders and bladers buzz around the fountains of place Louis Pradel, surveyed by the Homme de la Liberté (Man of Freedom) on roller skates, sculpted from scrap metal by Marseille-born César (1921–98). West of place des Terreaux, well-known Lyonnais peer out from the seven-storey Fresque des Lyonnais (Map; cnr rue de la Martinière & quai de la Pêcherie, 1er; Hôtel de Ville), a mural featuring loom inventor Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752–1834), Renaissance poet Maurice Scève (c 1499–c 1560), superstar chef Paul Bocuse and the yellow-haired Little Prince, created by Lyon-born author Antoine de St-Exupéry (1900–44). South along the quay, inspired contemporary art installations fill the white space of La BF15 ( 04 78 28 66 63; www.labf15.org; 11 quai de la Pêcherie, 1er; Bellecour; admission free; 2-7pm Wed-Sat), a cutting-edge riverside art gallery.
Lonely Planet France by Lonely Planet Publications
banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Murano, Venice glass, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket
On its northern side, boarders and bladers buzz around the fountains of place Louis Pradel , surveyed by the Homme de la Liberté Offline map Google map (Man of Freedom) on roller skates, sculpted from scrap metal by Marseille-born César. Fresque des Lyonnais MURAL Offline map Google map (cnr rue de la Martinière & quai de la Pêcherie, 1er; Hôtel de Ville) Well-known Lyonnais peer out from this seven-storey mural, including loom inventor Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752–1834), Renaissance poet Maurice Scève (c 1499–1560), superstar chef Paul Bocuse (b 1926), puppet Guignol, and the yellow-haired Little Prince, created by author/aviator Antoine de St-Exupéry (1900–44). Musée des Tissus SILK MUSEUM (www.musee-des-tissus.com; 34 rue de la Charité, 2e; adult/child €10/7.50, after 4pm €8/5.50; 10am-5.30pm Tue-Sun; Ampère) Extraordinary Lyonnais and international silks are showcased here.