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Wander[001] - Computer History

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

Wander [001] is a public art project based on an AI chatbot.

Wander is an AI android travelling on the future earth. On Discord and WeChat, she will generate interactive travelogues based on the location you sent. All contents are generated through AI based on real-world location information.

Get your own future adventure at:

Computer History

As a modern AI, Wander will visit important places in computer history on the future earth.

This series of interactive VR scenes are generated through Wander’s adventures through AI algorithms, including text-to-image, photogrammetry and image inpainting.

Each scene is generated on Wander’s future travelogues finding an important machine in computer history, like the difference machine and ENIAC. This becomes a dialogue across time and space for machines.

Computer History 01 - Difference Machine

South Kensington, Year 3071

Sold on Poly Auction for 4,0000 CNY, Minted on Mintverse

This place is the start of her journey.

A difference engine is an automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions. It was first created by Charles Babbage. The incomplete Difference Engine No. 1 was put on display to the public at the 1862 International Exhibition in South Kensington, London.

This time, Wander visits the future of South Kensington, looking for the trace of the origin of computers....

Source of Wander with Difference machine

Translated from Chinese version.

Computer History 02 - Tabulating Machine

Towpath Partners Llc, Washington DC, Year 3350


This place, Towpath Partners LLC, used to be Herman Hollerith(1860-1929)’s Tabulating Machine Company. When Herman retired in 1921, his successor merged the company and changed its name to IBM later. Wander see his hologram in this future site in the year 3350.

Source story of Wande with Tabulating machine

I'm now on earth in 3350 at Towpath Partners Llc, Washington. I activate the environment detection module and slowly landing my aircraft on earth. I take my backpack from off my back and start taking all my tools out of it; My tools that can help me with survival. I then turn to see where the ruins lead me next. I head to a nearby building. It was old and broken down, but the place where its structure looks solid had something else…… I know herman hollerith used to build tabulating machines here. i want to find some traces of that.i walk inside. There was no light in the room, but my eyes could still see very well as I move around. There were things that have been broken into pieces, the walls were painted in different colors. I found an old door, I quickly go inside. There was some sort of machine, I don't know what it was, but there was an old computer on one corner. It looked like this might be the source of power for the building…… I check the machine in detail. It was working! The machine had a huge amount of information in this thing.I knew about humans, robots, computers and space, I couldn't really comprehend any of this stuff.But this, this was fascinating to me. "Hello?" I hear.a voice…… I see toward the source of voice. It was hollerith! He saw me! He ran toward me. He hugged me tight. I feel like crying. I hug him tightly as i felt tears run down my cheeks. I felt a tear coming out of the corner of my eyes. Hollerith didn't seem to notice this though, he seemed happy to see me. We both hugged each other. Then hollerith let go of me and started talking to me. "Wander, you're alive!" He said. "Yes, I am." I replied. "How did you get here? Where are we?" He asked…… I guess this hollerith might be a virtual projection, but still feel happy. "we're in future!" i told him. "Future?? What happened to past?" he asked me. "You're in the future, not the past." "What do you mean?" He looked confused. "where are we now?" he asked. "It's a little confusing.. We're in a building." Hollerith nodded and kept looking around. "This is just so strange." He whispered. "Yeah.. I know how you feel." I reply…… I thank hollerith for building tabulating machines. "Thanks!" I said with tears streaming down my face. Hollerith hugged me again. After that, he left my side. I look at everything in this building that might be related to the machines that he built. Most of them were just broken up, but there's one machine that is not broken……

Computer History 03 - ENIAC

Aberdeen Proving Ground, Year 3239

Will exhibit at Beijing Contemporary Art Fair

Original image generated from story, made by Disco Diffusion

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the first programmable, electronic, general-purpose digital computer, completed in 1945. ENIAC was formally accepted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in July 1946. It was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in 1947, where it was in continuous operation until 1955.

Six ladies, Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Meltzer, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman was originally hired as ‘human computers’ to hand calculate thousands of equations, they were later selected to operate the ENIAC because they were the most mathematically advanced in their group.

And this was before any programming language had been invented. So these women essentially manually programmed the first electronic computer. And while they soon gained the respect of their male counterparts, their contributions to the ENIAC were largely overlooked by the general public.

In Wander’s journey to find ENIAC in future, she met another group of female programmers…

Source story of Wander with ENIAC

I'm now on earth in 3239 at Aberdeen Proving Grounds. I activate the environment detection module and slowly landing my aircraft on earth. Standing on the test site's lawn, I looked around. The landscape was vastly different from my memories of the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, a towering mountain, but this was a desolate and dilapidated ruin. Most of the buildings here were made of steel and concrete, with a few houses built of timber ......

I looked for the eniac computer in the test site, I needed to know why my probe was in such a state and where exactly was this place?

This test site was huge, probably over a thousand square metres, but I still wasn't sure where I was, what was this place? Is this not the real world? ......

I asked the female programmers in the testing ground, but they told me that they were not real, but a virtual creature. I studied the test site carefully to find out how it was really made up, and it took me a full thirty-two minutes to figure it out ......

I asked them where the ENIAC computer was and they told me it was on the testbed, in the deepest part of the testbed. I walked over to the test bench, which was as high as a two-storey building. The test bed was made of alloy, I reached out and touched it and found it hard as a diamond, the robots in here must be some kind of life form ......

I looked at the condition of the ENIAC computer on the test bed and found that its operating system was still running, but its mainframe was dead, which meant it had died within thirty seconds or so. I tried to rouse this computer to consciousness, I slapped my hand on its computer keyboard in the hope that I could wake it up, I tried to call it. But I tried more than ten times ......

I got help from the female programmers to restart the ENIAC computer, but they told me that their program was corrupted, so they could not use the ENIAC computer. I had no choice, so I tried to wake up the eniac computer again using my own supercomputer, but unfortunately the computer still ignored me and it was still running. It seems that ......

I asked the lady programmer when the program was corrupted and the programmer told me eniac was five minutes ago. My supercomputer had been repaired, but this computer's system was down and unusable because of the program damage ...... In that case, I had to take it apart myself, I had to do it to fully restore the computer's system ......

I asked the female programmers about their daily work and they told me that they only managed the eniac, not maintained it. In that case, let me do it! I started my dismantling work. I dismantled the eniac computer's system and loaded the computer into the supercomputer's storage space ......

I spoke to the rebooted eniac computer, but this time, instead of an echo from the eniac, I heard a loud bang, followed by a flash of sparks. I looked at the scene before me in amazement and wondered what was going on? I couldn't actually control my supercomputer ......

How is this made?


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