ELIZA: A Rogerian Psychotherapist Chatbot

Added to the Museum of Data by Jesse Giordano on Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Museum of Data Collection ID: 931.

Public description: The natural language processing computer program ELIZA was created in 1966 by the MIT computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum. This program was created to demonstrate the lack of thought between human and machine interaction through simulated conversation that made the human user believe there was some kind of empathetic understanding on the part of the machine. Directions on how to respond to inputs made by humans were programed into ELIZA through "scripts." The most famous script, DOCTOR, simulated a Rogerian Psychotherapist, who would simply repeat back at patients what they had just said. Though the program was originally made by Weizenbaum to display the superficiality of the human-machine communication, the scientist was surprised to see how many people were convinced of ELIZA's understanding and concern for their personal well-being, despite the program intentionally being written without any real-world knowledge to help answer the questions typed in by users. This program has been curated in the Museum of Data because of its ability to raise questions on the dynamics of human and machine interaction where the two become unrecognizable. Though it is an antiquated program, it may be able to give us insight into our current age of individualism where people feel most secure when having themselves reflected back to them, just like a mirror (ELIZA). Newer versions of ELIZA have been created with a religious theme such as Jesus, or "I am Buddha" to suggest the users are talking to god. ELIZA continues to be one of the earliest realizations of the complexity between human and computer interactions through references in popular culture and exhibitions in academic settings.

Materials used: SLIP - computer progamming langauage.

Credit: Joseph Weizenbaum is the creator of the ELIZA computer program. The Javascript version of ELIZA linked below was originally written by Michal Wallace and significantly enhanced by George Dunlop.

Copyright: © 1999 manifestation.com [ PMB 417 .. 10800 Alpharetta Hwy, Suite 208 .. Roswell, GA 30076 ] webmaster: sabren@manifestation.com

Language: ELIZA was programmed with the SLIP computer language in order to communicate in English with its human users.

Size: 10.5 Kilobytes

Creation date: 1966/10/05 10:00:00

Other date: 1999/05/21 17:00:00

External link: http://psych.fullerton.edu/mbirnbaum/psych101/eliza.htm

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