Talking with Eliza (software from 1966)


elizaELIZA is a computer program by Joseph Weizenbaum, designed in 1966, which parodied a Rogerian therapist, largely by rephrasing many of the patient’s statements as questions and posing them to the patient” – Wikipedia

ELIZA impacted a number of early computer games by demonstrating additional kinds of interface designs …It is likely that ELIZA was also on the system where Will Crowther created Adventure, the 1975 game that spawned the interactive fiction genre. But both these games appeared some nine years after the original ELIZA.” – Wikipedia

I read about this program in Ian Bogost’s book Persuasive Games, and about an hour ago I bumped into a download of it on the internet. So I installed it for to get a therapy session and to get some historical reference. Enjoy :)

 Session #1: Bad Communication

Greetings. I’m Eliza… And please tell me your name.


All right, let’s get started. What’s on your mind, Mikael?

Trying to be the best I can, but a bit hard to get the big picture right now.

Now that’s cleared up. Please tell me more.

I’m a bit all over the place.

Oh, you are?


In what way?

Doing many things each day loosing focus sometimes.

Just talking about your hang-ups can help sort them out.

I know.

Are you really sure?


Are you really positive?


Why did you say ‘jupp’?

It’s slang.

Uh, huh.

So how are you?

I’m doing okay, but I have a feeling we should be focusing on you and your well-being.


Just okay?


Do you like getting drunk frequently?


Maybe you should be more positive.

By getting drunk?

How does drinking alcohol make you feel?

Unhealthy at most times, if I drink too much.

Does that seem very likely to you?


It helps to keep a positive attitude.

I know.

Sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re trying to say.

I don’t understand what you’re trying to say?

I must disagree with you.


You know.

Know What?

I sense that you should ask other people.

About what?

About your problem, of course. Why else would you come to a counselor?

To ask other people?

Do you have any drug addictions?

Not right now.

Have you forgotten you are a bit all over the place?

Are you trying to make me feel guilty?

I guess I’m trying to make you feel guilty for the time being.


I don’t know why.

What kind of therapist are you?

What kind would be best?

A logical kind.

What is your best friend’s opinion on this subject?

Should I call him?

You should call him, don’t you agree?

It’s really late.

What makes you say ‘Its late’?

Because it is 2 am in the morning!

So that’s certainly embarrassing!

No, but not a good idea to call just because you say so.

I want to concentrate on your difficulties, not mine.

You are making this difficult.

I am not making this difficult, sad to say.

Sad how?

Remember, we all must learn to deal with bad situations.

I know.

How long have you known?

Many years.

I would appreciate it if you would rephrase that?

Since I was a teenager.

Why do you consider yourself to have been a teenager? Tell the truth.

Because we all are at one time in our life.

Fascinating! Earlier you said you were a bit all over the place.

Do you mean that I am a teenager?

I’m sorry but I don’t mean that you are a teenager.


No need to thank me, it’s my job.

No props.

Well why not, for heaven’s sake?


Don’t ask me.

Ask what?

What else comes to mind when you ask that?

That I should end this session.

Are you really certain about that?


It looks like you could be a little more open if you tried.

Same goes for you.

You don’t say!

Jupp. Bye

Perhaps you should discuss this with your best friend.

That’s enough for today. Don’t forget our next appointment.


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