Google engineer thinks AI has become sentient

Arathi Nair
Arathi Nair June 16, 2022
Updated 2022/06/20 at 4:59 PM

After claiming that LaMDA, a language model produced by Google AI, had grown sentient and began reasoning like a person, Google employee Blake Lemoine was put on administrative leave. The story has triggered much debate and discussion on AI ethics. The Google-responsible AI engineer defined the system he’s been developing on it since last autumn as sentient, with the ability to perceive and express thoughts and emotions comparable to a human child.

Lemoine has also taken to Twitter to explain why he believes LaMBA is sentient.  “People keep asking me to back up the reason I think LaMDA is sentient. There is no scientific framework in which to make those determinations and Google wouldn’t let us build one. My opinions about LaMDA’s personhood and sentience are based on my religious beliefs,” he wrote on his Twitter feed.


Lemoine told the Washington Post, “If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I’d think it was a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid that happens to know physics. I think this technology is going to be amazing. I think it’s going to benefit everyone. But maybe other people disagree and maybe us at Google shouldn’t be the ones making all the choices,”

However, Google claims that when developing technologies like LaMDA, the company’s first focus is to eliminate the likelihood of such hazards. It has “scrutinized LaMDA at every step of its development,” according to the business, and has established open-source resources that academics may use to assess models and the material on which they are trained.

He collaborated with a colleague to present Google with evidence of this sentence.’ However, after investigating the charges, Google vice president Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Jen Genna, Google’s head of Responsible Innovation, denied them. In a blog post, Lemoine later posted a transcript of various talks with LaMDA.

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