AI is not sentient. Why do people say yes?

In the mid-1960s, Joseph Weizenbaum, a researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, created an automated psychotherapist he named Eliza. This chatbot was simple. Basically, when you typed a thought into the computer screen, it asked you to expand on that thought or simply repeated your words in the form of a question.

Even when Dr. Weizenbaum chose an interview for an academic paper he published about the technology, it looked like this: Eliza responded in all caps:

Men are all the same.


They keep teasing us about something or the other.


Well, my boyfriend made me come here.


But to Dr. Weizenbaum’s surprise, people treated Eliza like a human being. They freely shared their personal problems and took comfort in her answers.

“I knew from years of experience that the strong emotional connections that many programmers have with their computers often develop only after a brief experience with the machines,” he later said. wrote. “I didn’t realize that a very short exposure to a relatively simple computer program could induce powerful delusions in relatively normal people.”

We humans are sensitive to these feelings. When dogs, cats, and other animals behave even remotely like humans, we tend to think they are more like us than they really are. The same thing happens when we see hints of human behavior in a machine.

Scientists now call this the Eliza effect.

The same is happening with modern technology. A few months after the GPT-3 was released, inventor and entrepreneur Philip Bosua emailed me. a letter. The subject line was: “God is a machine.”

“There is no doubt in my view that GPT-3 has proven to be sensitive,” it said. “We all knew it was going to happen in the future, but it looks like that future is now.” She looks at me as a prophet spreading her religious message, and it seems strange.

Godfrey Kemp

"Bacon fanatic. Social media enthusiast. Music practitioner. Internet scholar. Incurable travel advocate. Wannabe web junkie. Coffeeaholic. Alcohol fanatic."

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