Sensing that I don’t quite know how to proceed, my dad hands me a piece of notepaper marked with a skeletal outline in his handwriting.Tags: Adult dating dating free services singlestrictly australian dating sitethe old man and the key double datingwho is rachel mcadams dating ryan goslinghot dating gamevanessa hudgens still dating
It’s 1982, and I’m 11 years old, sitting at a Commodore PET computer terminal in the atrium of a science museum near my house. The computer is set up to run a program called Eliza—an early chatbot created by MIT computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum in the mid-1960s.It’s the same room where, decades ago, he calmly forgave me after I confessed that I’d driven the family station wagon through a garage door.Now it’s May 2016, he is 80 years old, and I am holding a digital audio recorder.“I want to create technology that allows people to have conversations with characters who don’t exist in the physical world—because they’re fictional, like Buzz Lightyear,” he says, “or because they’re dead, like Martin Luther King.”My father receives his cancer diagnosis on April 24, 2016.A few days later, by happenstance, I find out that Pull String is planning to publicly release its software for creating conversational agents.Eliza astounds me with responses that seem genuinely perceptive (“Why do you feel sad?”) and entertains me with replies that obviously aren’t (“Do you enjoy feeling sad? Behind that glowing green screen, a fledgling being is alive. A few years later, after taking some classes in Basic, I try my hand at crafting my own conversationally capable computer program, which I ambitiously call , which allow players to control an unfolding narrative with short typed commands, my creation balloons to hundreds of lines and actually works.As my audio recorder runs, he describes how he used to explore caves when he was growing up; how he took a job during college loading ice blocks into railroad boxcars.How he fell in love with my mother, became a sports announcer, a singer, and a successful lawyer.On a warm, clear afternoon in the Berkeley hills, we sit outside on the patio.My brother entertains us with his favorite memories of my dad’s quirks. “I will always look up to you tremendously,” he says, his eyes welling up.