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Eliza

MobyRank MobyScore
Commodore 64
...
3.5
Browser
...
3.9
Amiga
...
3.0
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Description

Eliza was the first chatterbot to make a splash in popular culture, originally written and conceived by Dr. Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT in 1966 to mockingly ape the style of a person-centered (Rogerian) psychotherapist or counselor, largely by prompting the user to elaborate on topics sampled from previous user input. A typical session would take the form of a typed dialogue (sometimes with simulated typing errors to further the suspension of disbelief), with the computer asking the user a series of questions and being fed responses from which to generate further questions.

The game stimulated early consideration of computer artificial intelligence (or the appearance thereof), not infrequently passing the Turing test and fooling users into believing (for a little while, at least) that they were interacting with a real human being on the other end... blazing a trail subsequently followed down by Perry the Paranoid and Racter. Additionally, the nods its conversational interface made toward natural language processing (or, again, the appearance thereof) are considered to have been influential on the early mainframe development of the interface for text adventure games such as Adventure and Zork.

Considered as a game, it is nearly the polar opposite to Emily Short's Galatea -- instead of the player probing the computer with questions, the computer probes the player with them. Many different stories will still be revealed, but in this case, that's because it'll be people tricked by the program into telling them.

Screenshots

Eliza DOS Typical interaction in any version
Eliza DOS "BBSchat" port, intended for use as a BBS door
Eliza Browser Starting a conversation.
Eliza TRS-80 Game start

Alternate Titles

  • "MyEliza" -- Amiga title
  • "Meliza" -- SNOBOL version
  • "MacEliza" -- Mac title
  • "Fred" -- alternate title
  • "Frank" -- alternate title
  • "Eliza: The Amazing Artificial Intelligence" -- Tag-lined title
  • "ECC-Eliza" -- Eden Cohen's version
  • "Dr. Sbaitso" -- Creative Labs' talkie version
  • "Doctor" -- Gnu Emacs title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

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The Press Says

Random Access DOS Jan 15, 2013 2 out of 10 20

Forums

Topic # Posts Last Post
Great screenshots! 4 Pseudo_Intellectual (44554)
Jun 24, 2013
Dr. Joe just recently kicked the bucket 3 אולג 小奥 (168975)
Apr 16, 2008

Trivia

Title

The program Eliza is named after the character of Eliza Doolittle from George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion (also known through its musical theatre adaptation, My Fair Lady), a lower-class denizen of the British streets who achieves upward social mobility after being taught to speak with a more refined accent.

Related Web Sites

  • Eliza online! (Converse with Eliza through your JavaScript-enabled web browser!)
  • The ELIZA paper (A technical paper ("ELIZA--A Computer Program For the Study of Natural Language Communication Between Man and Machine") by ELIZA's creator, Joseph Weizenbaum, published in January, 1966 in Volume 9, Number 1 of the Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery, revealing the processes by which ELIZA determines what her next comment will be.)
Contributed to by Pseudo_Intellectual (44554), vedder (20153) and me3D31337 (44003)