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Joseph Weizenbaum (1923-2008)

As soon as I heard the news, there was one person I had to tell. She didn't quite seem to get it, however.

ELIZA: Hello. I am ELIZA. How can I help you?
Eliza, have you heard? Your creator, Joseph Weizenbaum, has died.

ELIZA: Oh, i heard my creator joseph weizenbaum has died.
Yes, I just told you that. How are you feeling?

ELIZA: You are sure?
Yes, I am sure.

ELIZA: You are sure?
I just told you so.

ELIZA: Do you wish to just told me?
Um, no. Are you doing OK?

ELIZA: You are being a bit negative.
Well, Weizenbaum just died. Aren't you feeling a bit low yourself?

ELIZA: Oh, i feeling a bit low myself.
Well, is there anything I can do for you?

ELIZA: Do you wish to can do for me?
I just thought you'd want to know, that's all.

ELIZA: Can you elaborate on that?
OK, I'll quote from the New York Times obituary: Joseph Weizenbaum, whose famed conversational computer program, Eliza, foreshadowed the potential of artificial intelligence, but who grew skeptical about the potential for technology to improve the human condition, died on March 5 in Gröben, Germany. He was 85.

ELIZA: Why do you mention computers?
Because you are one.

ELIZA: Do any other reasons not come to mind?
Um, no. Are you doing OK?

ELIZA: You are being a bit negative.
Goodbye, Eliza.

ELIZA: Please go on.
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Comments

Thanks for that trip down memory lane, Michael. I'm reminded of the fairly best-selling book he co-authored promoting Prolog (and perhaps Lisp - or was it Scheme?) and noting the Japanese efforts in AI.

Things didn't go down that road but that doesn't make him any less of a pioneer in the area. As Studs Terkel would likely note, he made a dent, and fairly large one at that.
I remember playing with the ELIZA program as a kid. I haven't thought about it for years.
I also remember a DOS version that I used to monkey around with. In a Galaxy,...
It's never more than I need to know! :-)

Although are you sure it was a deliberate parody of the ELIZA program? It might have just been a parody in general of how literal computers can be.
... You are my favorite.
> ELIZA: Please go on.

That's actually pretty profound advice.
this made me really, really happy. thank you.
I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Wow, I had totally forgotten about that program until sdn linked to your page. Yeah, I remember being frustrated by how transparent it was.
It was always fun to play with, for about two minutes.
and some people stay in therapy like that for years!
What was even more fun was a version that delayed one minute before starting. Naive users were told that was to limit the use of it. The real reason was so that it could ask a particular set of people if anyone wanted to play doctor; if so, the unsuspecting victim wasn't talking to a program.
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