ELIZA effect

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(From ELIZA) The tendency of humans to attach associations to terms from prior experience. For example, there is nothing magic about the symbol "+" that makes it well-suited to indicate addition; it's just that people associate it with addition. Using "+" or "plus" to mean addition in a computer language is taking advantage of the ELIZA effect.

The ELIZA effect is a Good Thing when writing a programming language, but it can blind you to serious shortcomings when analysing an Artificial Intelligence system.

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See also: AI-complete, Turing Test


This article (or an earlier version of it) contains material from FOLDOC's article on the ELIZA effect, used with permission.