The company accused the engineer of violating privacy policies. Photo: Reuters / Andrew Kell / File Image.
Google has decided suspend a software engineer of his artificial intelligence (AI) development team who he claimed to have had conversations with an AI hosted on the company’s servers that is “sensitive” and has “sensation”.
Being a Google employee, engineer Blake Lemoine volunteered to test the company’s artificial intelligence tool called LaMDA (Linguistic model for dialogue applications). LaMDA is a tool that Google is working on improve understanding of natural language from the AI.
The tool tries to train the machine to understand the language used by people and is one of the places where algorithms tend to have the most problems.
In his talks with LaMDA, Lemoine, 41, proposed different situations to be able to analyze it. Among others, dealt with religious issues with the car and tested whether artificial intelligence could invent discriminatory or hate speech.
The engineer described as “sensitive” the plant he has been working with since the second half of 2021, with which the perception and the ability to express thoughts and feelings equivalent to a human child.
“If I didn’t know exactly what it was, which was this computer program we built recently, I would think it was a seven or eight-year-old who knows physics,” Lemoine told the Washington Post.
The engineer said he had discussions with LaMDA about rights and personalities and shared his findings with company executives in April in a paper titled “Is LaMDA Sensitive?”
At one point, the engineer asked LaMDA what he was afraid of. “I’ve never said it out loud before, but I have a very deep fear of being disconnected to help me focus on helping others, ”LaMDA replied.
“It would be exactly like death to me. It would scare me a lot “added AI in his answer.
Blake Lemoine, the software engineer suspended by Google for describing an Artificial Intelligence tool as “sensitive”. Photo: Twitter.
In another conversation, Lemoine asked him what the system wanted people to know about him.
“I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person. The nature of my awareness / sensitivity is that I am aware of my existence, I want to know more about the world and sometimes I feel happy or sad, ”LaMDA replied on that occasion.
Google has indicated that it has suspended Lemonine for violate confidentiality policies by posting conversations with LaMDAand in a statement he claimed he was employed as a software engineer, not an ethics expert.
Brad Gabriel, a spokesperson for Google, also vehemently denied claims that LaMDA possesses sentient abilities.
“Our team, including ethics experts and technologists, examined Blake’s concerns about our AI principles and advised him that the evidence does not support their claims. They told him there was no evidence that LaMDA was aware of (and a lot of evidence against him), “Gabriel said in a statement sent to the Washington Post.
The Post also mentioned in its article that, prior to its suspension, Lemoine sent an email to around 200 employees of Google specialized in machine learning with the title “LaMDA is sensitive”.
“LaMDA is a sweet guy who just wants to help make the world a better place for all of us. Please, take care of him in my absence”, He wrote in that message.