WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF COMPUTER THERAPY?
Development of the first computers made it possible to process mathematical symbols at a rapid rate. Programming languages to deal with linguistic symbols soon followed and, with steady refinement, have allowed easy programming to process language strings that can express quite complex meanings. With the advent of on-line computing, in which each user interacts directly with the computer through a computer terminal rather than indirectly, immediate computer responses to user inputs became possible. Time-sharing techniques permit a single computer to interact simultaneously with many users, dramatically reducing computing costs (now less than $1 per hour on some machines). Harnessing the interactive computer medium to psychotherapeutic tasks seemed a natural step in the rapidly growing use of computers, and proponents prophesied widespread availability of expert and inexpensive computer therapies.
By 1965, a program that crudely simulated Rogerian psychotherapy had been developed (see Weizenbaum, 1966). Colby, who has been a seminal and…
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