Many are puzzled by the story in the Bible (see, Bible) that God created human beings, gave them a rule, and then created another being to tempt them to break the rule. Why create beings and then trick them? Obviously if you know everything you know that if you create a sufficiently simple human, a sufficiently unclear rule, and a sufficiently wiley serpent, the human will break the rule and listen to the serpent. What exactly are you trying to prove? And to whom?
Alan Turing’s Turing test helps clear things up. Yes, 6000 years after initial publication, but good things come to those who wait.
A scientist creates an intelligent being. The scientist is not sure if the being is a human or not. He sets up a test. The intelligent being must trick a human into thinking he is a human. He is up against another human.
The two stories are both have four characters. God, Adam, Eve, Snake in the Bible story, Scientist, Robot, Real Human, Real Human Judge in the Turing test.
God and the Scientist are obviously the same in the two stories.
I leave it as an exercise for the reader to work out the other identifications.
For discussion after class: Is God hoping to learn that Adam and Eve are like him or different from him?
10 thoughts on “The Garden of Eden was a Turing Test”
People never seem to suggest reverse Turing test. Where amongst a bunch of chat boxes you have to identify which are the humans rather than a bot. Generally the focus is on how effective the bot is at being human. But when you reverse it and find humans can be found to fail at being humans, it gets interesting. Particularly if you tell participants to identify the humans amongst the bots, but you only provide human chat.
Actually, that’d be a particularly dark reversal way to take it – that that god guy created the garden of Eden to test whether he/she/it was a robot…
We seem to be puzzled by the story in his grandparent’s Bible. We induced him to blog-thump about Eden as an IT laboratory. We learned about Alan Turing’s Turing test. This helps clear things up, clearly, about his name being Turing. Persistence in name-dropping if not metaphysical work.
Holy allegory! This writer’s readers are puzzled. This writer’s readers seem to have a limited understanding of religious tradition and computer science.
who is puzzled?
I’m a little late to this party (fashionably so, I hope), but a much simpler explanation occurs to me, depending on how you define “human” and its alternative state.
A machine can’t break rules. It does as it is programmed. Even if it seems to break the rules, that’s because it was programmed to break them, so it’s still following the rules it was given. If Adam and Eve could break God’s rule, then they were human.
Of course, in a way, that’s how a lot of people interpret the story: It’s about the moment when our ancestors became human, by breaking the rule and acquiring knowledge of good and evil.
I like that!
So they’d be beyond the god characters capacity to control?
In a sense you cannot control a free man. You can kill him, but you can’t control him.
“Adam Robots” by Adam Roberts has a similar premise