Adrianne Wortzel, FF Alumn, and StudioBlue at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, announce the June 8 launch of Eliza Redux.  Eliza Redux features a physical robot, which, having passed the Turing test with flying colors, thinks it is a human psychoanalyst and persists in offering online pseudo- psychoanalytic sessions. Please help us to bring this robot to its sensors. Peer consultation is available in the Reception Area as well as archived sessions and other reference materials.


Description and Navigation:
Eliza Redux is an interactive telerobotic web site providing a space for text-to-speech and oral discourse, acting out, and playfulness in the virtual environment of a psychoanalyst’s waiting room and inner office. Video of a physical robot will be streamed to the web reactive to visitor input. The robot is sequestered in the inner office conducting interactive sessions with visitors as an authority figure. In truth, however, the robot is really qualified only as a patient; having been programmed to suffer delusions and conflicts interfering with its functions. For example, it sincerely believes it is a human psychoanalyst, and that the creatures it encounters via the web, as “humans” are really biological robots in need of its expertise to find their psychoanalytic cure.

Visitors enter a virtual waiting room (depicted below) where they participate in chat with others who have come to liberate the robot from its delusional state and perhaps extricate it from the inner office. While waiting, visitors sign up for a session, can enter into chat with each other and can also open the virtual file cabinet to study prior sessions and other materials, archived as text. Once summoned to a session in the inner office, the visitor will experience streaming real-time visual and oral responses from the robot reactive to the visitor’s text-to-speech input. At the time of this launch we have all of the above in place

Eliza Redux is a project in perpetual process; we plan to also develop the ability for visitors to control the studio video cameras telerobotically, becoming Directors of their session and hopefully revealing objects in the inner session room, which provide even more psychoanalytic enlightenment. In addition there will be development in the psychoanalyst/robot a form of “memory” so it can recognize patients in subsequent sessions and bring up their material so that sessions evidence a form of continuity.

This human-robot interaction project is inspired by Joseph Weizenbaum’s 1966 M.I.T. computer program ELIZA, which allowed for text-based human conversation with a computer playing the role of a psychotherapist. Weizenbaum’s program was not meant to demonstrate intelligence, but to engage the user emotionally and intellectually in a simulation of artificial intelligence. In spite of the transparency of the program's lack of intelligence, lab personnel were unable, or unwilling, to distinguish the machine from a human psychotherapist and became so dependent upon ELIZA for "therapeutic sessions” that eventually Weizenbaum had to withdraw its use.


National Science Foundation grant (DUE 9980873) and support from the NSF Gateway Engineering Education Coalition
Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art 2003-04, supported in part by the Jerome Foundation in celebration of the Jerome Hill Centennial and in recognition of the valuable cultural contributions of artists to society.
PSC CUNY Award 2003 –Research Foundation of the City University of New York awards

Adrianne Wortzel – Artist, Author, Producer, Director
Marcin Balicki, robot communications and robot function programming.
James Cruickshanks – software development
Dawn Chan: Programming Consulation, I innovation Development.
Ami Wolf; Programming
Mohammed Yusuf: Masters Candidate at Cooper Union for reconstruction of StudioBlue. Configuring the new space for StudioBlue with Hyun Soo Ko and Richard Verret
Dr. Bob Schneider of Lehman College of the City University of New York. Flash communications server and Flash communications.
Parsons School of Design, Graduate Design & Technology Collaboration Studio
Faculty: Zhang Ga; for Interface Design: Ann Talley; Programming by: Ann Talley, Mark Forscher, Diana Berkovitch, Becky Ha, Ellen Chi

Special Thanks to:
Professor Stan Wei, Chair, Mechanical Engineering Department, Cooper Union
Dean Eleanor Baum, Dean, School of Engineering, Cooper Union