The chatbot you just interracted with is powered by Norbert Landsteiner’s implementation of Joseph Weizenbaum’s famed ELIZA program.
ELIZA is an early natural language processing computer program created from 1964 to 1966 at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratiry by Joseph Weizenbaum.
Created to demonstrate the superficiality of communication between humans and machines, Eliza simulated conversation by using a "pattern matching" and substitution methodology that gave users an illusion of understanding on the part of the program, but had no built in framework for contextualizing events.
Directives on how to interact were provided by "scripts", written originally in MAD-Slip, which allowed ELIZA to process user inputs and engage in discourse following the rules and directions of the script. The most famous script, DOCTOR, simulated a Rogerian psychotherapist (in particular Carl Rogers, who was well known fr simply parrting back at patients what they just had said and used rules, dictated in the script, to respond with non-directional questions to user inputs. As such, ELIZA was one of the first chatterbots and one of the first programs capable of attempting the Turing test.
ELIZA's creator, Weizenbaum, regarded the program as a method to show the superficiality of communication between man and machine, but was surprised by the number of individuals who attributed human-like feelings to the computer program, including Weizenbaum’s secretary. Many academics believed that the program would be able to positively influence the lives of many people, particularly those suffering from psychological issues, and that it could aid doctors working on such patients' treatment.
While ELIZA was capable of engaging in discourse, ELIZA could not converse with true understanding.
However, many early users were convinced of ELIZA’s intelligence and understanding, despite Weizenbaum’s insistence to the contrary.
This is how Joseph Weizenbaum discussed his choice for a conversation model as it would be found in psychotherapist's session:
At this writing, the only serious ELIZA scripts which exist are some which cause ELIZA to respond roughly as would certain psychotherapists (Rogerians). ELIZA performs best when its human correspondent is initially instructed to "talk" to it, via the typewriter of course, just as one would to a psychiatrist. This mode of conversation was chosen because the psychiatric interview is one of the few examples of categorized dyadic natural language communication in which one of the participating pair is free to assume the pose of knowing almost nothing of the real world. If, for example, one were to tell a psychiatrist "I went for a long boat ride" and he responded "Tell me about boats", one would not assume that he knew nothing about boats, but that he had some purpose in so directing the subsequent conversation. It is important to note that this assumption is one made by the speaker.
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