'A certain danger lurks there': how the inventor of the first chatbot turned against AI

Ben Tarnoff

Joseph Weizenbaum. Eliza.

There is so much in Weizenbaum’s thinking that is urgently relevant now. Perhaps his most fundamental heresy was the belief that the computer revolution, which Weizenbaum not only lived through but centrally participated in, was actually a counter-revolution. It strengthened repressive power structures instead of upending them. It constricted rather than enlarged our humanity, prompting people to think of themselves as little more than machines. By ceding so many decisions to computers, he thought, we had created a world that was more unequal and less rational, in which the richness of human reason had been flattened into the senseless routines of code.

1. Elsewhere

1.1. In my garden

1.3. Mentions

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