When we think of the modern computer, it’s rare that we equate those processing machines with anything deeply human. Yet, not so long ago, we depended on “human computers” for our most complex calculations!

These human computers, some of the great people lost to history, were not only incredible mathematicians, they were also deeply influential in developing the computer as we know it today.

So, why don’t we ever hear much about these human computers and their massive contributions to modern technology? Well, a lot of that has to do with the fact that they were women.

Today, we are going to explore the history of one of the earliest computers and introduce you to an absolute pioneer in her field, Jean Bartik.

Defying the conventions of her time, Bartik used her mathematical acumen to become a human computer. Eventually, she became one of a few elite programmers who helped program and develop one of the first general purpose computers, laying the foundations for modern programming.

To introduce us to this little-celebrated part of history, we turn to the wonderful YouTube Channel The Good Stuff.

Inspiring a New Generation

Sometimes we forget that world-changing trajectories are very often begun in the quiet corners of history. In our efforts to find the “best story” we neglect to acknowledge the years of un-flashy, hard work that lead to great success.

All too often we also neglect the accomplishments of women and minorities in our retelling of history. In doing so, we remove important heroes from the past that could inspire a new generation of thought leaders from diverse backgrounds.

We are fortunate to live in a time where the stories of great people, once forgotten or condensed to a sentence in the history books, are being told and celebrated.

One of our greatest assets for our collective future is the diversity of perspectives that can now be brought to the table. The more we encourage people from every corner of the globe to participate in the innovations that will shape the future, and the more we make sure their stories are told, the more inclusive and widely serving we can be!

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!


Explore more world-changing technologies!

We love exploring technologies (old and new) here on Ever Widening Circles that change the world. Use the button below to check out all the articles we’ve written on the subject!

Technology on EWC

Oh, and make sure you take a second to subscribe and become a member of the EWC community!


  1. “The First Computers Were Human (and Mostly Women).” YouTube. The Good Stuff, 16 June 2017. Web. 22 July 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eE69LKO4dCQ>.

Liesl Ulrich-Verderber

CEO of Ever Widening Circles, Founder of EWCed

Since 2015, Liesl has been a writer, editor, and is now the CEO at Ever Widening Circles. She is a life-long camera-toting traveler, a global story seeker, and an aspiring—but more often root-tripping—outdoor enthusiast. She can be found on Instagram @Liesl.UV