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Weizenbaum, Joseph

Born: 1923 AD
Currently alive, at 98 years of age.
Nationality: German
Categories: Computer Scientist

1923 – Joseph Weizenbaum was born of Jewish parents on January 8th in Berlin, Germany. A professor emeritus of computer science at MIT.

1936 – He escaped Nazi Germany, emigrating with his family to the United States.

1941 – Started studying mathematics in the U.S., but his studies were interrupted by the war, during which he served in the military.

1950 – Worked on analog computers, and helped create a digital computer for Wayne State University.

1952 – He completed his studies in mathematics but concentrated on computers for the rest of his professional life.

1955 – Worked for General Electric on the first computer used for banking.

1963 – Weizenbaum was called to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where, in addition to his teaching duties, he was to participate in another pioneering effort: the design and implementation of the first large time-sharing system for computers.

1966 – Published a comparatively simple program called ELIZA, which demonstrated natural language processing by engaging humans into a conversation resembling that with an empathic psychologist.

1976 – His influential book: Computer Power and Human Reason displays ambivalence towards computer technology and lays out his case: While Artificial Intelligence may be possible, we should never allow computers to make important decisions because computers will always lack human qualities such as compassion and wisdom.