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Weizenbaum interview notes

I just came across a 1985 printout of notes I took when I interviewed Prof. Joseph Weizenbaum in his MIT office for an article that I think never got published. (At least Google and I have no memory of it.) I’ve scanned it in; it’s a horrible dot-matrix printout of an unproofed semi-transcript, with some chicken scratches of my own added. I probably tape recorded the thing and then typed it up, for my own use, on my KayPro.

Weizenbaum was a magnificent person. An early computer scientist, he was a thoughtful social critic who worried about the connection between computers and authoritarianism. His Computer Power and Human Reason is a classic.

He’s probably best remembered as the author of ELIZA, the pre-graphics faux psychoanalyst. In fact, the first thing I asked him was what was the short way to identify him. “For example, I could just say you are the author of ELIZA.” “It’d be very nice if ELIZA didn’t get mentioned at all. I’m so sick of that thing. But, what the hell.”

The scan is ok (with some cut-off margins), but my notes are occasionally cryptic and contain about 9 typos per line. But, what the hell.

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