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In the past few months, chat bots have become very popular, thanks to Slack, Telegram and Facebook Messenger. But the chat bot idea is not new at all.
A chat bot interface is mentioned in the famous Turing test in 1950. Then there was Eliza in 1966, a simulation of a Rogerian psychotherapist and an early example of primitive natural language processing. After that came Parry in 1972, a simulation of a person with paranoid schizophrenia (and, yes, of course, Parry met Eliza).