Joseph Weizenbaum

Joseph Weizenbaum (Berlin, January 8, 1923March 5, 2008) was a German-American author and professor emeritus of computer science at MIT.

Born in Berlin, Germany to Jewish parents, he escaped Nazi Germany in 1935, emigrating with his family to the United States. He started studying mathematics in 1941 in the US, but his studies were interrupted by the war, during which he served in the military. Around 1952 he worked on analog computers, and helped create a digital computer for Wayne State University. In 1956 he worked for General Electric on ERMA, a computer system that introduced the use of the magnetically-encoded fonts imprinted on the bottom border of checks. This allowed automated check processing via Magnetic Ink Character Recognition, and in 1964 took a position at MIT.

In 1962 (or 1966 according to ELIZA), he published a comparatively simple program called ELIZA, named after the ingenue in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, which demonstrated natural language processing by engaging humans into a conversation resembling that with an empathic psychologist. Weizenbaum modeled its conversational style after Carl Rogers, who introduced the use of open-ended questions to encourage patients to communicate more effectively with therapists. The program applied pattern matching rules to the human's statements to figure out its replies. (Programs like this are now called chatterbots.) It is considered the forerunner of thinking machines. [http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=206903443 Remembering Joe Weizenbaum, ELIZA Creator - Artificial Intelligence - InformationWeek ] ] Weizenbaum was shocked that his program was taken seriously by many users, who would open their hearts to it. He started to think philosophically about the implications of Artificial Intelligence and later became one of its leading critics. [Miller, Stephen, MIT Professor's Work Led Him to Preach the Evils of Computers, Wall Street Journal March15-16, 2008, p. A6]

His influential 1976 book "Computer Power and Human Reason" displays his ambivalence towards computer technology and lays out his case: while Artificial Intelligence may be possible, we should never allow computers to make important decisions because computers will always lack human qualities such as compassion and wisdom. This he saw as a consequence of their not having been raised in the emotional environment of a human family.

Weizenbaum was the creator of the SLIP programming language.

In 1996, Weizenbaum moved to Berlin and lived in the vicinity of his childhood neighborhood. [ [http://www.ilmarefilm.org/W_E_2.htm Weizenbaum. Rebel at Work.] Documentary film by Peter Haas and Silvia Holzinger.] [ [http://www.agmb.de/mbi/2003_1/41-43loew.pdf Joseph Weizenbaum – a biography (German)] Wolfgang Löw, Leibniz-Institut für Neurobiologie, Magdeburg, Germany]

A German documentary film on Weizenbaum was released in 2007 and later dubbed in English.

Until his death he was Chairman of the Scientific Council at the [http://www.ieb.net Institute of Electronic Business] in Berlin. In addition to working at MIT, Weizenbaum held academic appointments at Harvard, Stanford and the University of Bremen, and other universities. Weizenbaum was reportedly buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Berlin. A memorial serivce was held in Berlin on March 18, 2008.

Works

* "ELIZA - A Computer Program for the Study of Natural Language Communication between Man and Machine," "Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery 9" (1966): 36-45. [http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~lib51/files/classics-eliza1966.html The Article on ELIZA at www.harvard.com] ]
* "", San Francisco: W. H. Freeman, 1976 ISBN 0-7167-0464-1

References

External links

* [http://cpsr.org/prevsite/cpsr/weiz.html/ Joseph Weizenbaum: 1988 Winner of CPSR's Norbert Wiener Award for Professional and Social Responsibility]
* [http://jerz.setonhill.edu/if/canon/eliza.htm A Java applet faithfully recreating the original ELIZA]
* [http://www.ieb.net Institute of Electronic Business]
* [http://www.swr.de/swr2/audiohyperspace/engl_version/interview/weizenbaum.html Interview in which Joseph Weizenbaum discusses Eliza ] (German-language audio with English transcription)
* [http://www.ilmarefilm.org/W_E_1.htm Documentary film with and about Joseph Weizenbaum ] ( "WEIZENBAUM. Rebel at Work." )

* [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/professor-joseph-weizenbaum-creator-of-the-eliza-program-797162.html Obituary, "The Independent", 18 March 2008]
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/obituaries/article3612696.ece Obituary, "The Times", 24 March 2008]


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  • Joseph Weizenbaum — (* 8. Januar 1923 in Berlin; † 5. März 2008 in Gröben bei Berlin) war ein deutsch US amerikanischer Informatiker sowie Wissenschafts und Gesellschaftskritiker. Weizenbaum bezeichnete sich selbst als Dissidenten und Ketzer der Informatik.[1] …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Joseph Weizenbaum — à Berlin en 2005 Naissance 8 janvier 1923 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Joseph Weizenbaum — Joseph Weizenbaum. Berlin 2005. Joseph Weizenbaum (8 de enero de 1923 5 de marzo de 2008) fue profesor emérito de Informática en el Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts y se le considera uno de los padres de la cibernética. Nació en Berlín,… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Joseph Weizenbaum — (8 de Enero de 1923) es profesor emérito de Informática en el Instituto Tecnológico de Massachusetts y se le considera uno de los padres de la cibernética. Nació en Berlín, Alemán de padres judíos, escapó del régimen de Hitler en 1936, emigrando… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Weizenbaum — is a surname that may refer to:*Joseph Weizenbaum (8 January 1923 March 5, 2008), a professor emeritus of computer science at MIT *Zoe Weizenbaum (21 September 1991 ), an American actress and granddaughter of Joseph …   Wikipedia

  • Weizenbaum — steht für: Heinrich Weizenbaum, siehe Henry F. Sherwood (1921 2005), deutsch amerikanischer Informatiker Joseph Weizenbaum (1923 2008), deutsch amerikanischer Informatiker Zoe Weizenbaum (* 1991), US amerikanische Schauspielerin …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Weizenbaum — Weizenbaum,   Joseph, amerikanischer Physiker und Informatiker deutscher Abstammung, * Berlin 8. 1. 1923; emigrierte 1936 mit seinen Eltern in die USA und studierte von 1941 bis 1950 unterbrochen durch seinen Kriegsdienst an der Wayne University… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Weizenbaum, Joseph — ▪ 2009       German born American computer scientist born Jan. 8, 1923, Berlin, Ger. died March 5, 2008, Gröben, Ger. was a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when he set the stage for the advancement of artificial… …   Universalium

  • Weizenbaum, Joseph — ● np. m. ►PERS L un des pères de l intelligence artificielle, ayant critiqué l informatique dans ce qu elle avait de conservateur: la société est submergée d informations, et ce n est pas le fait de les contrôler mieux qui nous évitera des… …   Dictionnaire d'informatique francophone

  • Joe Weizenbaum — Joseph Weizenbaum (* 8. Januar 1923 in Berlin; † 5. März 2008 in Gröben bei Berlin) war ein deutsch US amerikanischer Informatiker sowie Wissenschafts und Gesellschaftskritiker. Weizenbaum bezeichnete sich selbst als Dissidenten und Ketzer der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia


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