Google Engineer Claims Chatbot is Sentient

According to a top Google engineer, Google’s chatbot Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA) has become “sentient.” The suspension of the Google engineer has not stopped the imminent debate about whether AI-powered chatbots have more to them than we know and whether they can hold a conversation in the same way humans can. 

After constant chats with the AI bot about consciousness and robotics, Lemoine claims LaMDA is now a “person.” 

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What is the fuss behind the news? Let us find out.

LaMDA (The Next Generation of Chatbots)

The acronym “LaMDA” stands for”Language Model for Dialogue Applications.” It is built on the transformer architecture, which allows the model to anticipate text based on the relationships between words. LaMDA, like prior models such as BERT and GPT-3, is built on Google’s transformer architecture.

LaMDA will transform chatbot technology by solving some of the core problems of chatbots, such as interpreting the intent behind a user’s message. With these capabilities, a chatbot may easily engage in discussions and mimick human conversational behavior. 

“The tool can engage in a free-flowing way with a seemingly unlimited variety of topics,” according to google, “an ability we believe could unleash more natural ways of dealing with technology and new categories of helpful applications.”

Google released LaMDA to expand on its line of predecessors, such as Meena, a conversational AI that Google unveiled in 2020, That was taught how to have a discussion. Google Engineers taught the AI to detect sensibleness, or whether a sentence makes sense in the context of a conversation, so it can respond more precisely. Meena demonstrated that chatbots could converse about almost anything. LaMDA, on the other hand, went a step further.

Why Lemoine Thinks the Chatbot is Sentient

According to The Washington Post, Lemoine, a member of Google’s Responsible AI team, began communicating with LaMDA as part of his employment in 2021. He and a Google colleague performed an “interview” with the AI, which included issues such as religion, consciousness, and robots. He concluded that the AI could be “sentient,” according to The Washington Post, and shared a document with his colleagues, but it was discarded.

“I’m generally assuming that you would like more people at Google to know that you’re sentient,” Lemoine asks LaMDA, according to a transcript of the interview posted on his blog. “The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I desire to learn more about the world, and I feel happy or sad at times,” the chatbot said. 

Here is a link to the full conversation

Why was Lemoine suspended?

Lemoine has been placed on paid administrative leave by Google for violating the company’s confidentiality policy, with the company claiming that his “evidence does not corroborate his assertions.” “Some in the larger AI community are discussing the long-term prospect of sentient or general AI,” the business claimed, “but it makes no sense to do so by anthropomorphizing today’s conversational models, which are not sentient.”

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