The first chatterbot was empathetic, so that meant it had to be female

ELIZA was developed in 1966 by Joseph Weizenbaum, a computer scientist at MIT. She is often called a chatterbot, or natural voice processing simulation. People who had conversations with ELIZA felt that her responses implied empathy and emotion even though she was not programmed to simulate this behavior. This tendency to ascribe emotion to the robot is called the “Eliza Effect.” As the next post will explain, women have long been valued for their empathetic and patient demeanor. Thus the reason that the first chatterbot was female has to do with the user’s assumption that the chatterbot’s implied empathy makes the chatterbot female.

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