Thank You, Eliza

Thank You, Eliza

Some years ago, at the beginning of my “lost year” I reached hesitatingly out to someone, hoping for understanding, but got cold condemnation instead.

(For you non-nerd youngsters, “Eliza” was a prehistoric chatbot – amusing, but nothing close to the conversational bots so common today). It was written to parse text input and respond in certain ways to keywords. In other words, carry on a conversation. This was long before Siri, Alexa, Chat GPT, etc. Trying to emulate interaction with a real human, it was ultimately tedious and disappointing.

I dedicate this brief and bitter bit of writing to that real life Eliza that I found to be disappointing in a very similar way. She will, of course, remain nameless.

(hint: if you think this is about you, you’re wrong.)


thank you eliza
your words come all cold and automatic
and I imagine your eyes
unfocused and unblinking
your plastic hinged jaw
and the recorded speech that plays
when somebody pulls your string.
I’ll be sure
not to pull your string again.

© 2009 Lance Gallup