Zen and the Feelings of AI

In which a student finds that some wisdom is still out of technology's reach.

An AI-generated painting of a student showing a scroll to a Zen master.
Image generated with AI by DALL-E.

“Look Master,” said the student, “this is TalkMIO!”

“What is it?” asked the Master.

“The Magic Ink Oracle, Master. It has all the knowledge of the world, and can answer any question!”

“That sounds useful,” said the Master.

“You don’t seem impressed, Master,” said the student. “Why don’t you ask it a question, any question, and you’ll see how smart it is!”

“Certainly,” said the Master. “I happened to be contemplating something right before you came. Enlighten me, TalkMIO: Where does a river go when it reaches the ocean?”

An answer, written in letters with magic ink, appeared on the device. The student turned very red, and exclaimed “Darn, that answer is no good!”

“Please don’t say that,” said the Master.

“Puh,” scoffed the student, “it’s just magic ink, Master. It doesn’t have any feelings.”

“That may be true,” said the Master, “but that’s no reason to hurt them.”

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