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In this story, a young woman has a conversation (via typing) with a primitive psychoanalysis program (much like Eliza) which feeds her sentences back to her ("It's all been just so much lately" "How has it been so much lately," etc.). I think the woman believes that someone is in another room typing answers back to her. One of the trivial things that has been bothering the woman is that she lost a lens (contact or eyeglass - I'm not sure). By the end of the session the woman is feeling better, but the computer program, which doesn't quite understand what the woman has been talking about is now quite anxious. I think the last line was "What if it lost a lens?"

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Found it!

Transference by Sharon Webb, and available here

Anxious woman:

While she was waiting for the elevator, Marilyn Taylor decided she had eaten too much lunch. She always ate too much when she was nervous, and lately it seemed she was always nervous.

She could visualize the remains of the lunch in her stomach: first a layer of antipasto with five masticated yet still recognizable olives; laminated to that, a layer of spaghetti with mushrooms and meat sauce; bulging above that, a hideous topping of garlic bread.

Computer:

"Do you have an appointment?”

She nodded.

The girl thumbed through an almost empty appointment book. "Oh, yes. You can go in now. Room C.”

She poked her handbag under her arm and set off down the inner hall. Room B, room C — Should she knock? Ridiculous. She turned the knob and went in.

The room was tiny. There was a single chair — a sort of dentisttype chair and a console. In one corner of the room at eye level, a camera lens eyed her. She smiled at it self-consciously.

SIGN IN PLEASE. TYPE YOUR NAME ON THE CONSOLE. I CAN UNDERSTAND YOUR VOICE, BUT PROPER NAMES MUST BE ENTERED.

Simple feedback of what she types:

"Yes. Oh, Doctor — May I call you, Doctor? I mean, I know you’re not a real doctor, but I need to call you that.”

YOU NEED TO CALL ME DOCTOR.

"Yes. I really do. You don’t mind, do you? Anyway, there I was waiting for the elevator and my toe was sticking out. It was horrible.”

YOUR TOE IS HORRIBLE?

"It was awful. Oh, Doctor, why am I different from other people?”

The machine reflected. YOUR TOE IS HORRIBLE. YOU ARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PEOPLE.

"And my stomach — You see, I had garlic bread on top of an antipasto — a large antipasto — and I had the spaghetti with meat sauce and mushrooms. Well, my stomach bulges — ”

YOUR STOMACH BULGES.

She nodded. "I didn’t need the large antipasto. I didn’t even want it. . . . And then my lens fell out.”

EXPLAIN, PLEASE. WHAT IS LENS?

"Lens. In my glasses.” She searched for an analogy. "It’s like your scanner. My lens fell out.”

YOUR LENS FELL OUT!

"Yes. Onto this pale-eyed man in the elevator who said I had garlic-breath.”

EXPLAIN, PLEASE. WHAT IS GARLIC-BREATH?

She feels better:

The machined whirred and then it said, YOUR TOE IS HORRIBLE. YOU ARE DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PEOPLE. YOUR STOMACH BULGES. YOUR LENS FELL OUT. YOU HAVE GARLIC-BREATH, MARY-LINE.

She began to giggle. Put that way it was quite ridiculous. The giggle turned into a laugh, and the laugh, a howl. After all, what was so awful about her toe anyway? It was an ordinary toe. And anybody who ate what she’d eaten would have temporary stomachbulge and garlic-breath too. As for the lens — It was really sort of funny — "Oh, Doctor,” she gasped between peals of laughter, "I can’t tell you how you’ve helped me. You’re so objective. You’re exactly what I needed.” She reached out and patted the machine appreciatively on its console.

But the computer doesn't:

Back at Allied Meditronics, Psychotherapy Dept., the machine whirred in confusion. It had not been programmed to deal with aliens — aliens with horrible toes, bulging stomachs and garlicbreath. It wasn’t even a real doctor.

Its keys felt sticky.

A thought pecked at its circuits and hatched into life: what if its LENS FELL OUT?

Whatever was it going to do?

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    Oh, wow....I remember reading this one. Don't think I'd have been able to ID it, but the description of Marilyn's lunch was instantly recognizable. Oct 9, 2023 at 13:37
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    I vaguely remember this story, but definitely not to this much detail!
    – Deacon
    Oct 9, 2023 at 15:49
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    Thanks for finding and sharing this wonderful story. Oct 9, 2023 at 21:35
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    Don't forget to mark it as answered when you are able.
    – jo1storm
    Oct 10, 2023 at 9:06
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    Awesome piece of research (yay for Archive.org, too)! Actually, there is a very interesting article on that very same edition of Asimov's — namely, an essay on Asimov's own robot stories. In any case: the fun bit is that Sharon Webb may very well have read about the Joseph Weizenbaum's ELIZA software (developed ca. 1966) and one of its most well-known mode of operation, which was — you guessed it — DOCTOR. See elizagen.org for the fascinating world of ELIZA. Oct 10, 2023 at 16:51

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