[ExI] Language models are like mirrors

spike at rainier66.com spike at rainier66.com
Mon Apr 3 00:49:56 UTC 2023



From: spike at rainier66.com <spike at rainier66.com> 



>…Idea: consider Eliza, see if we can find the source code of the 1970s
version of that…





It occurred to me that I am one of those old enough to have witnessed how
people reacted when computer monitors first started appearing on college
campuses.  In the mid to late 70s, we still used punch cards, but by 1978,
when those nifty monitors came along… oh that was cool.


OK.  I worked in the computer center where we had a dozen new CRTs.  One of
the entertainment modules on that computer was Eliza.  We had a steady
stream of college students wander down there because they heard about this
new computer and the monitors.  Many of those students had never seen a
computer or a monitor.  So… they filled out the card, received logon
instructions, were met with a blinking cursor and no idea what to do.


So we put up a sign that said: New users, log on, type: Eliza {return}.
They did.


We had a few who typed in Eliza {return} and sat there waiting as nothing
happened.  So… we helped the new kids.


A bunch of those students were soon pouring out their hearts to this
computer program which they were told (and went right out and told others)
was an artificial intelligence psychologist.  I was there, we saw it.  No


We computer geeks debated at the time if this Eliza just passed the Turing
test, when we could see it was just a simple parlor trick really.  It sure
convinced the unwary.  It also caused us to think carefully about the ethics
of what we were doing.  Clearly some people were convinced they were talking
to a most understanding and wonderful counselor, when we knew they were only
talking to themselves.





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