The Shallows

Joseph Weizenbaum Character Analysis

Joseph Weizenbaum was a German-born computer scientist who made his name at MIT. He is considered a forefather of modern artificial intelligence studies due to his creation of a program called ELIZA. ELIZA was a primitive AI program that was able to recognize speech patterns and hold simple, repetitive conversations with the user. Weizenbaum is particularly important to Carr for the conclusions he comes to in his book Computer Power and Human Reason, namely that computer science was not only limited but that AI developments placed our humanity at risk. These surprising viewpoints made him unpopular in his field.
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Joseph Weizenbaum Character Timeline in The Shallows

The timeline below shows where the character Joseph Weizenbaum appears in The Shallows. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 10
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
Carr opens the chapter with Joseph Weizenbaum, an MIT computer scientist who invented a computer program in the sixties that could parse... (full context)
The History of Technology Theme Icon
Value, Depth, and Intelligence  Theme Icon
Scientific Context Theme Icon
The public’s reaction to ELIZA brought Weizenbaum to contemplate the fascinating question of why the intellectual technology of computers has made the... (full context)