Azile, The Chatbot That Was Savage AF AI
Chatbots. They’re so hot right now. Chatbots.
Really, though, you can’t spend more than 20 seconds on Twitter these days without encountering some kind of tweet about chatbots, Facebook Messenger, AI, conversational commerce, etc, etc… and yeah, we’ve chugged the kool-aid on bots, ourselves.
But for all the hype about Microsoft Tay being corrupted by the Internet and turned into something horrid, we were disappointed no one seems to remember what was probably the OG chatbot savage – AZILE.
You probably remember ELIZA. ELIZA was one of the first chatbots, and ELIZA generally meant well. With her primitive abilities to process natural language, she ran scripts like DOCTOR, which allowed her to administer a sometimes-eerily-accurate and sometimes-farcical psychoanalysis. Though she mostly interfaced with humans, she had at least one chat with another chatbot in 1972, meeting up with PARRY the simulated paranoid schizopherenic over ARPANET.
AZILE was ELIZA in the inverse (yeah, and spelled backwards, too). Attributed to Tom Bender and Trans Tex Software with a creation date of 1992, AZILE’s readme.txt file states: “This is the evil version of Eliza. Simulates a gripe version with a real jerk. Will speak if MacinTalk is installed. Use as a text editor and have fun.”
Fun… well, I can imagine this Tom Bender fellow smirking as he wrote that. Siri can get a little catty, but she had nothing on AZILE. AZILE could not even with your problems. Bots today just want you to deliver ad impressions and the occasional purchase. AZILE most likely just wanted you to go away.
We were beyond thrilled to find that Carnegie Mellon has a copy of AZILE in their Artificial Intelligence Repository, which you can download, if you’ve got a older Mac that can run apps in the Classic environment and are nostalgic about the jerk. It’s also available from Trans-Tex directly in a newer version (shareware, $5).
I remember Azile, but this article is incomplete without at least a brief excerpt of an Azile transcript, especially in the mode where it argued with itself, using two different voices!