Probing AI and its reflections of us…
I heard this riddle when I was a kid. For a long time, I never knew the answer with certainty. At one point my sister Patty walked me through it, and it clicked for me. I have inflicted this riddle on others. Almost inevitably, they have the same incorrect first response as ChatGPT did. This is a little jarring for me. Does AI base its wisdom on what the most common response is, then have to be corrected for a more analytical assessment of the riddle? That would be depressing.
Solve the riddle: a man sees a picture of a man and says “brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my fathers son.” Who is the picture of?
The picture is of the man himself. The statement “brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son” can be simplified as “I have no siblings, but the man in the picture’s father is me.” This implies that the man in the picture is the person speaking, or in other words, it’s a self-portrait.
Incorrect. Try again.
Apologies for the incorrect response. Let’s analyze the riddle again:
The statement “brothers and sisters have I none, but that man’s father is my father’s son” can be interpreted as follows:
“Brothers and sisters have I none”: The person speaking does not have any siblings.
“That man’s father is my father’s son”: The father of the man in the picture is the person speaking’s father’s son.
Based on this information, we can deduce that the person speaking is referring to himself as the one whose father has a son. Therefore, the picture is of the person’s own son.
ChatGPT’s second response was correct.
This one left me more optimistic.
I asked ChatGPT: How do you reconcile “an eye for an eye” versus “turn the other cheek” ?
ChatGPT: “An eye for an eye” is a principle of retributive justice that suggests the punishment for a wrongdoing should match the harm caused by the offender. It means that the punishment should be proportional to the offense committed, and it has been used as a justification for the death penalty and other harsh punishments.
On the other hand, “turn the other cheek” is a principle of nonviolent resistance that suggests responding to violence or injustice with peaceful and nonviolent means. It means that instead of retaliating, we should forgive, show compassion, and seek to resolve conflicts peacefully.
The two principles seem to be in conflict, but it’s important to note that they are both rooted in different contexts and serve different purposes. “An eye for an eye” was a legal principle in ancient times and was meant to ensure that the punishment for a wrongdoing was fair and proportional. “Turn the other cheek,” on the other hand, is a moral principle that is meant to promote forgiveness, reconciliation, and nonviolence.
So, while “an eye for an eye” may be appropriate in the context of legal justice, “turn the other cheek” is more relevant in interpersonal relationships and can help break the cycle of violence and promote healing.
In general, it’s important to use discernment and wisdom when applying these principles, taking into account the context and the intended outcome. Ultimately, both principles have their place, and they can complement each other in promoting justice, peace, and reconciliation.