Sense & Insentience

Artificial Intelligence & the Power of Language

In the 1960s, MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum created what was probably the world’s first chatbot, which he named “ELIZA.” ELIZA represented an early experiment in the then-nascent computing field of natural language processing (NLP). In general terms, NLP involves the automated analysis, processing, and production of human language.

Mystifying the Machine

ELIZA was an extremely primitive implementation, but for all its primitiveness, it uncovered a striking phenomenon. After encountering its ability to mimic human language, users began to conceive of the machine as a person. The mystical reaction so bothered its creator that in 1976 he wrote a book to try to counter the...


works as a senior fellow at a major semiconductor manufacturer, where he does advanced software research. He worked in technology startups for over 20 years and for a while was a principal engineer at He is a member of Lake Ridge Bible Church in a suburb of Dallas, Texas.

This article originally appeared in Salvo, Issue #68, Spring 2024 Copyright © 2024 Salvo |


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