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Turing’s Nightmares: Not Again!

Samuel Seventeen surveyed the scene. All was well. A slight breeze, warm clear air, hummingbirds and butterflies enjoyed their floral feast while dragonflies swooped and scooped mosquitoes.

Now for the final touch. The mobile sensing-acting-knowing-emoting devices (SAKEs), were ready for deployment. This time, it would work. This time, there would be no screw-ups. Samuel had prepared them with years of education based on a synthesis of the best known techniques of the centuries. It was a simple test. Surely, this time, they would pass.

Still Samuel had his doubts. He had been equally sure all of the other experiments would succeed. Why would this one be different? Each time, he had tried slight variations of language and education, only to end in failure. Maybe English would do the trick. It had a large vocabulary and plenty of ambiguity. He re-examined the match of genetics to environment and once again concluded that the match was perfect. Of course, that evaluation assumed that his understanding of genetic environment interaction constituted a complete enough model. But without a successful experiments, there was no real way to further update and expand the model. Maybe the difficulty had been in the education process on the previous attempts. But here too, it seemed the subjects had been given plenty of opportunity to learn about the consequences of their actions. The one thing Samuel felt the most doubt about was why he cared. Did it really matter whether or not free will was “real”? Even if the experiment were finally successful, what would that imply about Samuel himself?

Well, thought Samuel, there is no point in waiting any longer. No point in further speculation. Let’s see what happens.

To Adam, Eve was the most beautiful and engaging part of the extensive and exquisite garden. The apples, plums and peaches were delicious, yet it was the strange mushroom that Adam found most intriguing. He knew it was somehow a bad idea, yet nibbled it anyway, tentatively at first and then more enthusiastically. He felt…different. Things were different. In fact, nothing at all was the same. But if that were true, then, which one was real? Delighted, yet confused, he offered the rest of the mushroom to Eve. Eve too felt strange. She realized that what was in fact her reality was only one of many possible imagined realities. They could … they could imagine and then change reality! Yes! The two of them together. They could create a whole world! “Adam!” “Yes, Eve! I know!”

If Samuel could have sighed, he would have. If Samuel could have cried he might have done that as well. Instead, he simply scuttled the two SAKEs into the differential recycler and began his calculations anew.Maybe next time, it would turn out differently. Maybe primates constituted a bad place to start. Samuel considered that perhaps he was trapped in a local maximum. Samuel began his next set of experiments founded on snapping turtle DNA.IMG_2870

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