Ordering pizza with a computer, 1974

December 4, 1974: Donald Sherman, who lives with the neurological disorder Moebius Syndrome that results in impaired speech among other challenges, used a computer to order a pizza over the telephone. The system was developed by computer scientists Jerome (J.J.) Jackson and John Eulenberg, director of Michigan State University's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Domino's hung up on Sherman and the computer. Several tries later, Mr. Mike's Pizza patiently took the order for a 16" pie with mushrooms, pepperoni, ham, and sausage, and this "high-tech sociolinguistic experiment," as Eulenberg described it, was deemed a success. (Thanks, David Steinberg!)


  1. Ironically, if he were to call today, he would probably get awesome service because they’d think he was Stephen Hawking.

  2. Back around 1995, This American Life described a date between two people who met on-line, because this was unheard of.  It included a description of this new thing called “the web.” 

  3. “Domino’s lost their chance to make history”
    yeah, well, domino’s probably felt like making money that day.  having been the guy on their end many times,  any chance of shenanigans=hang up.  it’s unfortunate in this case, but the Domino’s guy made the right call.  Usually, when people were unresponsive, I’d muster all the patience I could to be nice and say “I’ve got three other callers on hold right now, so why don’t you call us back when you’re ready to order,” but combined with the robot voice, I’m quite certain I would have hung up, too.

  4. Remember when everyone mocked Sandra Bullock when she was ordering Pizza with her computer in the movie “the Net”  “How silly!”

  5. Am I the only one who wonders if Mr. Mike’s Pizza is still around today, and if they’re aware of their involvement in this historic moment?

  6. In Champaign-Urbana in 1982, I ordered a Papa Del’s deep dish pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms and onions using a Radio Shack Votrox.  Just for fun.

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