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Joseph Weizenbaum dead at 85

Mathematician and professor of computer science at MIT, Joseph Weizenbaum, died at 85 on March the 5th.

He is probably best known for his ”psychoanalysis program” Eliza – named after Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion. Many people were fascinated by this relatively simple program’s ability to mimic ”human” conversation. On the other hand, Weizenbaum chose to emulate an orthodox psychoanalyst and his rather laconic comments – often a rather mechanic repetition of the analysand’s statements in query form. This limitation made it comparatively easy to construct the program. Read more »