Artificial Intelligence Meetups Programming Tampa Bay

Tampa Artificial Intelligence Meetup is back!

I’m the new organizer of the Tampa Artificial Intelligence Meetup, a meetup that started way back on June 7, 2017 at its inaugural meetup — which I happened to attend!

Here are some photos from that kick-off meeting, featuring original host Dan Daniels at the head of the room:

Since then, the Tampa Artificial Intelligence Meetup has held dozens of gatherings over the years, ranging from presentations to discussions to study groups.

After the two-year pause from the pandemic, it’s time to get the meetup started again. I’ve been made Tampa Artificial Intelligence Meetup’s organizer with the blessing of organizers Sam Kasimalla, Lenar Mukhamadiev, and OG organizer Stan Liberatore, who remain co-organizers. I’ve also added my partner in life and tech, Anitra Pavka to the co-organizers, as she will provide invaluable assistance in restarting the meetups.

What’s happening at the next Tampa Artificial Intelligence Meetups?

I thought we’d start with a bang and code ELIZA, the very first chatbot, developed between 1964 and 1966 at MIT by Dr. Joseph Weizenbaum. It simulates a Rogerian therapist, using pattern matching to reflect what the patient says back at them or gets the patient to talk about what they just said.

You can try out ELIZA online!

ELIZA was created by computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum at MIT’s Artificial Intelligence Lab over a two-year period from 1964 to 1966:

It simulated a psychotherapist that reflects what the patient says back at them or gets the patient to talk about what they just said. Although it was written for the IBM 7094, a room-sized computer whose operator console is pictured below…

IBM 7094 operator console. Photo by Arnold Reinhold.
Tap to view at full size.

…it later became a popular program on home computers in the 1980s under the name “Eliza” or “Doctor”:

We’ll build ELIZA — in Python. I’ll give you a “starter” project, and you’ll code along with me in real time until you have a working Eliza version that you could tweak into your own chatbot.

You wouldn’t need the latest and greatest computer to do it, either! A laptop from 2010 (and remember, that’s 13 years ago now!) or later would be all you’d need.

When will it happen?

Sometime in May. I’m working on securing a venue, and I’ll announce a date, time and location once we have one.