The curious sext lives of chatbots

A few weeks ago I was introduced to the world of BDSM scripts: simple sims that replicate the experience of being with a dominatrix. It occurred to me that these scripts had a connection to ELIZA, one of the earliest examples of a natural language processing program. Naturally, my thoughts shifted to getting it on with a pioneering computer program. ELIZA was developed at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in the mid-’60s by Joseph Weizenbaum. It simulated the experience of speaking to a therapist by responding to specific words and phrases, and represented a significant step forward in the evolution of human-like AI. But while some of ELIZA’s “patients” took it for human, there were limits to the power of its engagement. Nearly 50 years later, thousands — maybe millions…


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