The first time ever someone ordered a pizza with a computer!

23 Jan

In 1974 Donald Sherman, whose speech was limited by a neurological disorder called Moebius Syndrome, used a new-fangled device designed by John Eulenberg to dial up a pizzeria. The first call went to Dominos, which hung up. They were apparently too busy becoming a behemoth. Mercifully, a humane pizzeria – Mr. Mike’s – took the call, and history was made. It all plays out below, and we hope that Mr. Mike’s is still thriving all these years later….” (Smithsonian.com Blog)

Speech synthesis on this computer was rather slow, and it also apparently required “Yes/No” questions to just simply generate a “Yes” or a “No” too. Still, it could also synthesize other phrases, such as the pizza toppings (pepperoni and mushrooms, salami ...), the complex delivery address (the Michigan State Computer Science Department), as well as the contact number for callback. So not bad at all!

I was touched by the patience and kindness of the pizza place employee. He would patiently wait for up to 5 seconds for any answer, which must have been unnerving in itself! And now he is part of History! Good on him!! And well done to the Michigan State University‘s Artificial Language Laboratory and Dr. John Eulenberg!

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3 Responses to “The first time ever someone ordered a pizza with a computer!”

  1. Kevin Brown April 13, 2013 at 5:38 am #

    Maria, this was at Michigan State University. You mention Michigan twice. University of Michigan and MSU are sworn enemies. Much like Manchester U and Manchester City.

    By the way, the founder of Dominos Pizza – Tom Monaghan felt terrible about the local shop hanging up on Donald. Tom is a very charitable man and that act was not like Tom nor Dominos.

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  1. The first time ever someone ordered a pizza with a computer! « DETart Blog - January 23, 2013

    […] The first time ever someone ordered a pizza with a computer!. […]

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