ripley’s believe it or not

NOTD: Meet Eliza

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Eliza Chatbot Wiki Image
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

You’ve probably heard of ChatGPT, a computer program that is trained to follow your instruction and provide a variety of wide ranging responses. As someone that has spent some time actually using the AI, I have to say, the results it produces can be eerily human but, did you know that computer scientists have been working alongside chatbots as early as the 1960s?

Weizenbaum Wiki Image Two
Weizenbaum
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons
Author: Journalist Ulrich Hansen
February 11, 2005

It was the late 1960’s and Joseph Weizenbaum, an MIT computer scientist, had just completed work on his revolutionary chatbot ELIZA. Weizenbaum was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1923 and fled the country with his family in 1935 to escape the political turmoil. Weizenbaum came to the United States where his road to computer science would ultimately begin. After time spent in the Air Force, Weizenbaum would go on to study as a computer scientist and eventually work in the industry. You have to remember, computers at that time were not portable devices that could fit in our pockets. In fact, they often barely fit into a room! As an associate Professor at MIT, Weizenbaum became obsessed with the way computers could directly interact with humans through language. It was this early through line between computers and human language that would work to lay the foundation for his own chatbot and eventually lay the groundwork for the AI development of programs such as ChatGPT, Siri and Alexa.

Eliza was completed in 1966 and Weizenbaum offered MIT students the opportunity to interact with the chatbot. This process consisted of messages typed into the computer by students and, responses would then be provided by ELIZA, […] routed to an electronic typewriter and printer. Weizenbaum was initially happy with the response that was garnered from users’ experience with ELIZA but, there was one thing he did begin to notice that he viewed as considerably concerning. Overtime, Weizenbaum made note of users starting to divulge deep personal information, looking for help similar to that of a therapy session. This observation ended up pushing Weizenbaum to advocate for caution when relying too heavily on computers for human thought…

“There are aspects to human life that a computer cannot understand—cannot. It’s necessary to be a human being. Love and loneliness have to do with the deepest consequences of our biological constitution. That kind of understanding is in principle impossible for the computer.”

Professor Weizenbaum

New York Times
Lee Dembart
May 8, 1977

Meet Eliza: The 60s Chatbot That Set The Groundwork For ChatGPT
Jordan Neese
June 30, 2023

News of the Day

Scoop Saturday: Homeward Bound Movie Becomes Reality

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Cleo The Dog Image
Cleo the Retriever
Photo Credit: KMBC-TV & AP News

A dog from Olathe, that went missing, showed up at her old home about 60 miles away […].

“Where did the dog come from?” said [Colton Michael’s wife].

The 4-year-old Labrador, named Cleo, feels right at home on the front porch. The only thing is, it’s not her front porch, anymore and hasn’t been for nearly two years. As it turns out, Cleo’s owners had posted on Facebook a week earlier about the missing dog. They couldn’t believe it when Michael called and said Cleo had walked home. “It’s the most bizarre story. Really, she’s everything to us and to my mother,” said Drew, Cleo’s owner. It is 57 miles door-to-door from Olathe to Lawson and neither family knows exactly how Cleo made the trip. “That’s a hike for anybody,” Michael said. “Now that we know who she belongs to, if she pops up again, we know who to call.”

Both said they may never know anything about her journey.

Alan Shope
KMBC-TV
July 16, 2020

Cleo The Dog Image Two
Photo Credit: KMBC-TV & AP News

A dog named Cleo, who disappeared from her home in Kansas earlier this month, turned up a few days later at her old home in Missouri […]. Colton Michael told television station KMBC that the 4-year-old Labrador [R]etriever-[Border Collie] mix showed up on the front porch of his family’s home in Lawson […]. “At first, she wouldn’t let anyone get near her,” said Michael, who has lived in the home for nearly two years. “She finds her way home and there’s some strangers living in it. That would be scary for anybody,” he said. Eventually, he was able to gain Cleo’s trust and to get her checked for a microchip, which showed that she belonged to the former owners of his house.

AP News
July 18, 2020

It’s a tale as old as time for any early ’90s child. An adventurous golden retriever worries that they will never see their home again, embarking on a treacherous wilderness journey to find their way back. Believe It or Not!, the plot of Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey just turned from fiction to fact. [Both] parties are at a loss trying to explain Cleo’s long journey. [She] would have had to cross a river to make it back…just like in the movie!

Sabrina
Ripley’s
July 24, 2020