Wrong Figures, Right Answers?

Charles Babbage on politicians' questions about computers

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 [of British Parliament] put this question.

I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.

— Charles Babbage, Passages from the Life of a Philosopher (1864)

Last updated on Feb 05, 2024 12:37 -0500