12.0502 Eliza & other essential features of an editor

Humanist Discussion Group (humanist@kcl.ac.uk)
Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:39:00 +0000 (BST)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 12, No. 502.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

[1] From: C M Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org> (61)
Subject: Re: 12.0499 ... Eliza?

[2] From: Mark Horney <mhorney@oregon.uoregon.edu> (22)
Subject: Re: 12.0499 online courses? poem? Eliza?

[3] From: John Lavagnino <John.Lavagnino@kcl.ac.uk> (11)
Subject: Re: Emacs

[4] From: "A. Jenn Sondheim" <sondheim@panix.com> (6)
Subject: Re: 12.0499 online courses? poem? Eliza?

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:27:50 +0000
From: C M Sperberg-McQueen <cmsmcq@acm.org>
Subject: Re: 12.0499 ... Eliza?

On Tue, 16 Mar 1999 22:13:34 +0000 (BST), in Humanist 12.0499,
Jim Marchand asked:

>What has happened to Eliza? If you remember, it was a great program written
>by Josef Weizenbaum way back when we had no memory. As a kind of Rogerian
>psychologist, it used your questions to reflect answers back to you.

Strictly speaking, Eliza was a general script-driven pattern-matching
and reply-generating program; the Rogerian analyst was provided by the
Doctor script. Since it was the funniest and made the most plausible
use of Eliza's radical lack of real-world knowledge -- and also
because it was the only script included in the original publication,
perhaps -- the Doctor script is the only thing Eliza was ever known

>I used
>it for a number of purposes back when I was teaching and wrote programs
>such as Freud, The Bavarian Inkeeper, The Wimpy Psychologist, which were
>fun, if not always good. ...

>Anyway, one hears that a psychologist out in California is still using the
>program, but I haven't seen it mentioned in years. Maybe I'm just reading
>the wrong things. Does anybody know anything about the present state of

Weizenbaum's Eliza was never, as far as I know, a supported product,
so it's present state is presumably the same as ever: a clever program
described in a journal article (the article I know was in
Communications of the ACM, but there may have been others).

Undergraduates are sometimes given the task of reimplementing Eliza
(in general, or with a hard-coded script), and there are lots of
versions around. In that sense, Eliza will surely never die while
computers are used with text interfaces.

Perhaps the most ubiquitous version of Eliza now available is the
'doctor' program shipped as part of GNU emacs (M-x-doctor, for those
of you who have not tried it). This may be used alone, but (emacs
being what it is) can also be hooked up to take its input not from the
user, but from a database of quotations from Zippy the Pinhead
(M-x-psychoanalyze-pinhead, a short sample of which is appended). If
anyone has been wondering whether to learn vi or emacs, the existence
of psychoanalyze-pinhead in the emacs distribution should definitely
tip the balance. One way or the other.

-C. M. Sperberg-McQueen
Senior Research Programmer, University of Illinois at Chicago

----- A few lines of output from psychoanalyze-pinhead -----
I am the psychotherapist. For your protection, I have been censored
according to the Communications Decency Act. Please, describe your
problems. Each time you are finished talking, type RET twice.

I'm into SOFTWARE!

Why do you say you are into software?

I'm GLAD I remembered to XEROX all my UNDERSHIRTS!!

What makes you believe that?

Everybody is going somewhere!! It's probably a garage sale
or a disaster Movie!!

Maybe your plans have something to do with this.

Now I'm having INSIPID THOUGHTS about the beautiful, round
and being approached by SMALL BOYS selling FRUIT..

Is it because of your life that you say and being approached by small
boys selling fruit?

My EARS are GONE!!

Are you sure that your ears are gone?

While my BRAINPAN is being refused service in BURGER KING,
Jesuit priests are DATING CAREER DIPLOMATS!!

Is it because of the people you hang around with that you are going
through all this?

.... etc., etc., etc.

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:28:10 +0000
From: Mark Horney <mhorney@oregon.uoregon.edu>
Subject: Re: 12.0499 online courses? poem? Eliza?

I don't know what's happend to the original Eliza, assuming Weizenbaum
didn't burn all the copies, given how upset he was about its reception in
some circles of psychologgy (see his book "Computer Power and Human
Reason"). But I do have an interesting example of how the
game/microcomputer version was used to teach Hamlet.

The is (was?) an English professor here at the University of Oregon,
William Strange, who wrote an article titled "Hamlet on the Macintosh" (the
full citation of which escapes me just a the moment) where he proposed the
following activity. Strange felt his Shakespeare 101 students weren't
really grappling with Hamlet adequately. To engage them he described the
Key Word and Response algorithm Eliza relies upon and then ask students to
identify words and responses that would be appropriate for various
characters. To do this of course students must study the play carefully,
which was the point of the exersize. Strange also contemplated creating
"Macbeth as an adventure game."

--Mark Horney

Mark Horney, Ph.D.
Center for Electronic Studying
5265 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403
(o) 541/346-2679
FAX 541/346-2565

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:28:20 +0000
From: John Lavagnino <John.Lavagnino@kcl.ac.uk>
Subject: Re: Emacs

Jim Marchand asks about Joseph Weizenbaum's Eliza program. I don't
know about the original code, but there have been several other
implementations of the same approach, which is not actually very
complicated: in some computer languages the program is only a few
pages long. One version that is currently available is in the GNU
Emacs text editor (for which see <http://www.gnu.org/>).

Even today GNU Emacs is, I believe, the only text editor that can do
psychotherapy, or convert dates from the Gregorian to the Mayan
calendar, or any of a number of essential features that still haven't
made it into Word or WordPerfect.

John Lavagnino
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

Date: Thu, 18 Mar 1999 07:28:58 +0000
From: "A. Jenn Sondheim" <sondheim@panix.com>
Subject: Re: 12.0499 online courses? poem? Eliza?

Hey, you can find Eliza as part of the emacs editing program, for linux or
Unix; I use it all the time for crating texts. Just enter doctor after the
meta key and there it is. I've noticed some minor differences among the
various flavors of Eliza, but they all do the same sort of parsing.

Alan Sondheim (unix, linux, win95)

URL: http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/~spoons/internet_txt.html
MIRROR with other pages at: http://www.anu.edu.au/english/internet_txt

Humanist Discussion Group
Information at <http://www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/>