Opinion | My dinner with AI

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I could list a thousand ways that humans have demonstrated their evolutionary superiority over our fellow primates but then there’s Eliza. In 1966, an MIT computer scientist named Joseph Weizenbaum set out to mock the nascent discipline of artificial intelligence by building a chatbot. People would type in their thoughts and feelings and Eliza would repeat them back, often verbatim or with just a question mark tacked on. Weizenbaum presumed the gap between the sophistication of human emotions and the simplicity of the machine’s responses would be a little joke on his AI colleagues. Silly computer, etc.

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