Babbage designed and built the difference engine, a mechanical device for automated computation that was far ahead of its time. He was also the first to conceive of a programmable computer.
On two occasions I have been asked [by members of Parliament!], "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question.