Blake Lemoine, an AI engineer at Google, has been suspended by the US company after claiming that AI has an allergy.
It’s a story that could be the next part of Black Mirror. Engineer Blake Lemoine at Google is working on LaMDA (Language Model for Dialog Applications), a US company’s system for creating conversational bots based on the most advanced language models. Concretely, LaMDA learns to imitate speech by absorbing billions of words and discussions on the Internet such as Wikipedia or online forums.
Initially, Blake Lemoine was responsible for analyzing LaMDA to determine whether the AI was using discriminatory or hate speech. As he was talking to her, he soon realized something else entirely.
A 7- or 8-year-old knows physics.
in an interview in Washington PostHe asserts that this artificial intelligence is a being in his eyes endowed with sensitivity.
“If I don’t know what exactly it is […] I think it’s a 7 or 8 year old kid who knows physics.”
In the exchanges he was able to make with LaMDA that he sent to 200 Google employees, the AI raises his concerns, discussing Miserables Victor Hugo refers above all to the desire to be “recognized as a Google employee rather than a property”. The exchanges ended with convincing the engineer.
Comments refuted by Google
Google did not respond for long. Company spokesman Brian Gabriel said in a statement that the evidence released by Blake Lemoyne does not support his claims.
“Our team reviewed Blake’s concerns according to our AI principles […] He was told that there was no evidence that a lambda was a sentient being.”
Blake Lemoine then defended himself on Twitter: “Google calls it an infringement of intellectual property, I call it a discussion with a colleague.”
Blake Lemoine’s comment isn’t the first of its kind for Google’s AI research service. according to The New York TimesThe company fired Satrajit Chatterjee, an AI researcher, last March for challenging a research paper on using AI to make computer chips.
Added to this is the firing of two AI ethical researchers last year, Timnit Gibrough and Margaret Mitchell, who had specifically criticized the company for its algorithmic biases. Google then invoked the transfer of confidential documents outside the company, despite it being banned, as the origin of the penalty.
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