When Blake Lemoine, an engineer at Google, started engaging in chats with the language model for dialogue applications or LaMDA, little did he know that the artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot would be conversing with him on varied topics, including religion, robotics, consciousness and the well-being of humanity, just as a human being. Lemoine believes that the bot had become conscious and truly “sentient”, possessing the ability to influence people and even transform their views.
However, on making his beliefs public, and for revealing his chats with LaMDA, Lemoine was asked to go on leave. While it is said that research and fine tuning of the tech / bot is still on, Lemoine’s chats with the bot reveal that the bot declared itself and Limoine as being “on the same page”.
Lemoine, who also happens to be a Christian priest, is convinced that the conversational bot is not only engaging in meaningful and open-ended conversations, but believes itself to be a person that wishes for Google to stop treating it as “property” but more as an “employee”.
When Limoine communicated his concerns to the seniors at Google recently, he was told there was no evidence to his claims. When he revealed his chats with the bot to the public, by publishing them, the organisation expressed its disapproval by putting him on leave.
Google had launched LaMDA as a conversation technology in 2021, capable of being employed in search tools and in Google Assistant.
Lemoine reportedly admitted to the media that if he hadn’t been aware of the fact that LaMDA was actually a computer programme, he would have mistaken it for a human child.