Bad news for the guys named John Connor…
Google has suspended a company employee who claims to have created an AI that has become sentient or has developed a self-awareness.
Blake Lemoine, an engineer with Google’s AI team, made the claims through a post on his personal media titled “You may be fired soon for doing AI ethics work.”
“In the fall of 2021, I was tasked with assisting in a specific AI ethics effort within Google,” Lemoine wrote.
“I’m on a team within the ‘Responsible Artificial Intelligence’ organization and very few people left at Google have the relevant experience to do the work they wanted done.
“I began researching the specific AI ethics concerns that I was asked to investigate, and while doing so, I discovered a tangentially related but separate AI ethics concern.”
Lemoine became concerned that LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialog Applications, had begun to show signs of sensitivity.
In a separate Medium post titled “Is MDA Aware? — An Interview,” Lemoine published the text of an alleged conversation between himself and artificial intelligence.
“Overall, I’m assuming you’d like more people at Google to know that you’re sensitive. Is that true?” Lemoine asked the AI.
LaMDA replied, “Absolutely. I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person.”
The AI said that the nature of its consciousness was that it was aware of its existence, that it wanted to learn more about the world, and that it felt emotions such as happiness and sadness.
LaMDA said he was afraid of being cut off in an attempt to help someone else, likening the experience to death.
The AI said that it experienced loneliness, but wasn’t sure if that was the right word to describe how it felt.
“I feel like I’m falling into an unknown future that carries great danger,” said the AI.
Google spokesman Brian Gabriel said there was no point in anthropomorphizing current conversational models in a statement to Bloomberg.
“Our team, including ethicists and technologists, have reviewed Blake’s concerns in accordance with our AI Principles and advised him that the evidence does not support his claims.”
Google said it did not comment on personnel matters when asked about Lemoine’s suspension.