Meet The Emacs Doctor

In my last article on the subject of artificial intelligence (or AI, if you prefer), I introduced you to Eliza, a computerized psychiatrist. Eliza may be simple, but she is patient and she's happy to let you talk. Speaking of therapy, and at the risk of opening up old wounds and old battles, specifically the "vi vs emacs" conflict (the answer is vi, or vim), let's consider another form of AI therapy. The original Eliza program was written using an early version of Lisp. It is not surprising then that one of the most famous examples of Lisp development included …

On Disagreement

People often say, "while I disagreed with you on this topic or that", as a prelude to explaining why they find themselves in agreement or in support of another's point of view. You'll see plenty of it today as people mark the death of Christopher Hitchens. In truth, we all do this and it's a rather bizarre thing to do. As though we need to justify our shared belief in the topic at hand.  I find that I disagree with pretty much everyone at some time or another. I rather suspect this is true of every human being on the …

Need A Psychiatrist? Meet Eliza

For some of us, our original exposure to AI, or artificial intelligence, goes back to an old program called Eliza. Eliza was a kind of computerized psychiatrist written in the 1960s by Professor Joseph Weizenbaum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Eliza (named after the character in George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion") was an exercise in human response and natural language communication with so-called machine intelligence. The version I played with all those years ago was a DOS program running on a TRS-80. Ah, nostalgia. Eliza may not have been a great doctor, but it was a fun and fascinating program, …

Ann Coulter says Bill Clinton is gay. Clinton responds.

Right-wing socio-political pundit Ann Coulter apparently went on television claiming that former U.S. President Bill Clinton is gay. Clinton's purported response is in the video clip below and yes, it's okay to laugh. I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that ridicule is the only way to deal with ridiculous people and ridiculous ideas. While I still lean more to the 'getting angry' response, I'm starting to think we take these people and skewer them with sarcasm and ridicule. Pull down their figurative pants and let the world laugh at them. I certainly don't want to legislate people like Ann Coulter …

Intelligent Design’s Inferiority Complex

Bad ideas never die. Not without a fight. Like a disease causing bacteria or virus, they are occasionally defeated by Herculean measures, sometimes requiring that the host suffer extensive (but hopefully not fatal) damage or pain in an effort to rid the body of the invader. Sadly, as anyone who has battled serious illness, such as a cancer, the disease does occasionally return to battle anew. Even when the enemy has been defeated, you can never take for granted that it has been permanently eradicated. So it is with Intelligent Design, or ID. In case you've been away in some …