Executive Director Valerie Aurora will open the conference with a discussion about the mythos of Ada Lovelace: the stories we tell about her, what those stories say about us, and what stories we might tell instead. Based on a discussion at the most recent AdaCamp unconference, we’ll explore how even the most positive stories about her are incomplete and one-dimensional. Was she simply the world’s first computer programmer? A delusional self-aggrandizing pseudo-intellectual? Or something much more complex: a scientist and philosopher who viewed computation, mathematics, poetry, and philosophy as an interelated whole?When it comes to fictional stories about Ada Lovelace’s life and times, steampunk portrays an alternate history in which Charles Babbages’ engines been built after all and the computing age began in the 1850’s. But they often show a modern, one-dimensional view of computing as primarily industrial and technical tools. Based on her writings, computation influenced by Ada Lovelace would have included from the beginning more artistic and humanist applications than the mere collation of statistics envisioned by technicians like Babbage. What would an alternate history of computing really look like if you take into account Lovelace’s influence, philosophy, and ideas?
If this sounds interesting, you can register for the conference now. We are incredibly excited about this historic conference, and hope to see you there!