Symbols and meaning: [Ada Lovelace] was emphatically not speaking about mathematics alone. The engine “might act upon other things besides number.” Babbage had inscribed numerals on those thousands of dials, but their working could represent symbols more abstractly. The engine might process any meaningful relationships. It might manipulate language. It might create music. “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.”
Gleick, James. The Information: A History, a Theory, a Flood. London: Fourth Estate, 2011.
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