In the 1950s, the world's most powerful computers were dedicated to national defense, but at least one programmer was using them for other purposes. The Atlantic has tracked down what's likely the world's first computer-generated artwork: a seductively posed woman rendered with SAGE computers built to detect Soviet bombers. Apparently based on an Esquire calendar image drawn by famous pinup artist George Petty, nobody knows exactly who created the image, actually a program that used punch cards to make a vector drawing.
Though it was mostly a diversion, the piece was nominally a diagnostic program, somewhat like the famous "Lenna" Playboy picture used for image processing, and it wasn't the only one. A later drawing was animated, featuring a hula girl whose skirt would fall off, creating what one veteran jokingly calls "the first pornographic show... As close as it gets. It was so innocent."
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