Eliza seeks to persuade worldview and compliance through interaction. I will be looking at this topic as a means of macrosuasion. Eliza was the work of Joseph Weizenbaum, who created the program to work as a therapist.

According to Fogg, this site shows a good example of a computer program being a tool, a social actor, and a medium.

Persuasive Technology Tools

Reduction: making target behaviors easier by reducing a complex activity to a few simple steps—or a single step. Eliza has one slot for entering questions, and the response appears after. This makes it easier for people to use the program. This may increase the likelihood people will use the program.

Tunneling: There could be some ethical concerns with this product if they are selling it as a fortune teller or that Eliza is a real person. It could be misleading to some younger or inexperienced users. The program does ask you to only ask questions about yourself, which could be personal information for some people.

Customization: There could be some ethical concerns using this tool, because if people believe that a message is tailored for them, they will pay more attention to the message, which in turn means a person will be more persuaded by the message.

Suggestion: Timing is critical. People are more likely persuaded if they can take immediate action. Eliza lets people start without filling out information.

Conditioning: There is some reinforcement with Eliza. If someone writes to Eliza, Eliza writes back. There is an unpredictable response from the computer program.

Computers as Persuasive Media Simulation

Computer simulations can create experiences that mimic experiences in the real world. Eliza mimics a real conversation. One person speaks and the computer responds. This conversation could be considered a “real conversation” to some. According to the text, cause-and-effect simulations can be powerful persuaders. They enable users to gain insight into the likely consequences of their attitudes or behaviors. In subtle ways users may not recognize the biases built into simulations.

With the Eliza, a person writes and the effect is a response by the computer. When I used Eliza, I found myself trying to ask questions in which I knew the computer couldn’t answer. I started to seek insight to how the computer would respond to particular sentences. This is called facilitating role-playing, under environment simulations.

The book also states that some of the date from computer technology could be insufficient or conflicting. This is true for Eliza. Some of the responses are insufficient. If the writer misspells a word, the response will have a misspelled word in the response.

Eliza is lacking the compelling aspect of Media Simulation.

Computers as Persuasive Social Actors

Eliza may lead people to infer that the computer program is really a person that has real emotions. After you interact with the technology, it may seem that it conveys personality.

Influencing though language, Eliza has a dialog box that can “lead people to infer that the computing product is animate in some way.”

Persuading by adopting social roles

Eliza asks as a therapist by responding to a person’s questions like a therapist would. According to the text, this psychotherapy continues today, with computers acting like a therapist. With this, the computer is acting in a role of authority because they are providing suggestion, thus being more persuasive to people.

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