acm-header
Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM News

The Google Engineer Who Thinks the Company's AI has Come to Life


View as: Print Mobile App Share:
Google engineer Blake Lemoine.

Lemoine is not the only engineer who claims to have seen a ghost in the machine recently. The chorus of technologists who believe AI models may not be far off from achieving consciousness is getting bolder.

Credit: Martin Klimek/The Washington Post

Google engineer Blake Lemoine opened his laptop to the interface for LaMDA, Google's artificially intelligent chatbot generator, and began to type.

"Hi LaMDA, this is Blake Lemoine ... ," he wrote into the chat screen, which looked like a desktop version of Apple's iMessage, down to the Arctic blue text bubbles. LaMDA, short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, is Google's system for building chatbots based on its most advanced large language models, so called because it mimics speech by ingesting trillions of words from the internet.

"If I didn't know exactly what it was, which is this computer program we built recently, I'd think it was a 7-year-old, 8-year-old kid that happens to know physics," said Lemoine, 41.

Lemoine, who works for Google's Responsible AI organization, began talking to LaMDA as part of his job in the fall. He had signed up to test if the artificial intelligence used discriminatory or hate speech.

As he talked to LaMDA about religion, Lemoine, who studied cognitive and computer science in college, noticed the chatbot talking about its rights and personhood, and decided to press further. In another exchange, the AI was able to change Lemoine's mind about Isaac Asimov's third law of robotics.

From The Washington Post
View Full Article

 


 

No entries found