Drunk Eliza (2012)

Entropy is a language where data decays over time, giving the programmer a small window to get an idea across to the user before the program corrodes.

Eliza is a proto-chatbot, first written in 1966. She mimics a Rogerian psychotherapist, using simple pattern recognition and a short list of responses to carry on a conversation. Her creator, Joseph Weizebaum, was surprised and disturbed by how quickly users ascribed a personality to her even though they knew she was software. The adaptation of Eliza keeps her logic and bank of phrases intact. I was curious what personality she would have when written in Entropy. This is the result.

Work metadata

Want to see more?
Take full advantage of the ArtBase by Becoming a Member
Artist Statement

Entropy addresses the compulsive thinking reinforced by programming, the rigidity of logic, and the way we must compromise with the computer in order to get it to understand us. There's no way to get something perfect in Entropy, so the programmer is left getting the general gist of an idea across to the user. Each time the program runs, it will be slightly different.

I don't track specific conversations with Drunk Eliza, but I do follow conversations that have been posted online. Many see her as a drinking buddy. But, being drunk and female has attracted a different sort of attention: many conversations consist of internet dudes hitting on her or coercing her into sexual acts. One user commented “I can’t believe I’m spending my Saturday night hitting on a drunk chatbot from the 1980s.”

Others relate to her drunkenness and type long streams of nonsense. This is the reaction that interests me the most: the kind of thinking invoked by talking/typing with someone digitally inebriated can sometimes bring out a mimicking of these writing patterns in the user. Along with this, sometimes comes a loosening of thought, a slippage of words and meanings, and typing with fists banging against the keyboard. This best relates back to the the idea behind Entropy, what Entropy tries to inject into that place of stilted logic.

Related works


This artwork has no comments. You should add one!
Leave a Comment