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Computer Therapy

Apr 262012
 
 By , April 26, 2012

The following is a transcript of a conversation between a young woman giving the Touring Test to the ELIZA program (Named after the character in George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion) in the Project MAC computer at MIT in 1966.

Those familiar with non-directive counseling may feel a chill.

Client: Men are all alike.
ELIZA (a computer): In what way
Client: They’re always bugging us about something or other.
ELIZA: Can you think of a specific example
Client: Well, my boyfriend made me come here.
ELIZA: Your boyfriend made you come here
Client: He says I’m depressed much of the time.
ELIZA: I am sorry to hear you are depressed
Client: It’s true. I am unhappy.
ELIZA: Do you think coming here will help you not to be unhappy
Client: I need some help, that much seems certain.
ELIZA: What would it mean to you if you got some help
Client: Perhaps I could learn to get along with my mother.
ELIZA: Tell me more about your family
Client: My mother takes care of me.
ELIZA: Who else in your family takes care of you
Client: My father.
ELIZA: Your father
Client: You are like my father in some ways.
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The Town Scryer is a mixed bag of humor, socio-political observations and ephemera from the perspective of a eclectic Pagan veteran of the counter-culture. Philip Posehn's main blog is at The Town Scryer.
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