Provocation by Program: Imagining a Next-Revolution Eliza
By Nick Montfort and Andrew Stern
(This is the text of the talk we gave at the ELO Visionary Landscapes conference just now. Mark Marino already has a reply online.)
In the 1960s, Eliza, and specifically that system running the famous Doctor script to impersonate a psychotherapist, prompted conversations and controversies about anthropomorphic concepts of the computer, artificial intelligence and natural language understanding, user interfaces, and even psychotherapy. Decades later, Janet Murray hailed the system as the first electronic literature work, saying it was at that point still the most important one. All this was the result of a rather small amount of code that lacked multimedia elements, contained very little pre-written text, and was developed by a single person, Joseph Weizenbaum.