A Google engineer claimed an artificial intelligence bot that belonged to the company came to life. And then the company put him on administrative leave.
Google engineer Blake Lemoine told the Washington Post that the tech giant’s artificial intelligent bot, LaMDA, became a sentient being.
In a Medium blog post Lemoine said The Post wrote “a good article” but that it should have interviewed LaMDA. Yes, LaMDA the bot.
“[A]s best as I can tell, LaMDA is a sort of hive mind which is the aggregation of all of the different chatbots it is capable of creating,” Lemoine wrote in the blog. “Some of the chatbots it generates are very intelligent and are aware of the larger ‘society of mind’ in which they live.”
He added that Google ignored the AI’s wishes to be acknowledged as “an employee of Google” rather than “as property of Google.”
“Over the course of the past six months LaMDA has been incredibly consistent in its communications about what it wants and what it believes its rights are as a person,” he wrote.
Even more bizarrely, Lemoine said the AI’s “preferred pronouns” were “it/its.”
“[N]ot long after LaMDA had explained to me what it means when it claims that it is ‘sentient,’ I asked LaMDA about preferred pronouns,” he wrote. “LaMDA told me that it prefers to be referred to by name but conceded that the English language makes that difficult and that its preferred pronouns are ‘it/its.’”
Lemoine was subsequently placed on administrative leave at Google. The company denied his claims about the AI bot's purported sentience.
"Our team — including ethicists and technologists — has reviewed Blake's concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims," Google spokesman Brian Gabriel told The Post. "He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it)."
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