Google Fires Engineer Who Claimed Company’s AI Is Sentient

In June, Google placed Lemoine on paid administrative leave for breaching its confidentiality agreement after he contacted members of the government about his concerns and hired a lawyer to represent LaMDA. […] Google maintains that it “extensively” reviewed Lemoine’s claims and found that they were “wholly unfounded.” This aligns with numerous AI experts and ethicists, who have said that his claims were, more or less, impossible given today’s technology. Lemoine claims his conversations with LaMDA’s chatbot lead him to believe that it has become more than just a program and has its own thoughts and feelings, as opposed to merely producing conversation realistic enough to make it seem that way, as it is designed to do. He argues that Google’s researchers should seek consent from LaMDA before running experiments on it (Lemoine himself was assigned to test whether the AI produced hate speech) and published chunks of those conversations on his Medium account as his evidence.

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