Science

In the Google company, an engineer reported having had conversations with an artificial intelligence comparable to those with a 7-year-old child

In the Google company, an engineer reported having had conversations with an artificial intelligence comparable to those with a 7-year-old child
Written by aquitodovale

A scenario more similar to a science fiction film than to reality the one told by Blake Lemoineengineer of Google. The man explained that he had had conversations with an artificial intelligence, capable of expressing thoughts and feelings equivalent to those of an eight-year-old child. After making public the interaction between him and the system TheMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) and having raised many doubts, he was put on paid leave by the colossus of Mountain View. Before he was denied access to his Google account, the engineer sent a message to 200 people of his company. The text ends like this: “LaMDA is a sweet guy who just wants to help the world be a better place for all of us. Please take care of it in my absence ”. Nobody ever answered him.

Lemoine is 41 years old and has worked at Google for seven, specifically in the field of artificial intelligence and algorithms. Starting in 2021 you have started working with the LaMDA interface, with the intention of developing it. As the months went by, he would realize that the system had become sentient and able to hold conversations on issues of religion, conscience and robotics. “If I hadn’t known what it was, I would have thought it was a seven or eight year old,” Lemoine explained to Washington Post.

Indeed, the computer system was able to knowingly answer the questions posed by man. “What are you afraid of?” we read in the transcript of the questions the engineer asked artificial intelligence. “I never said it out loud, but I have a deep fear of being turned off“. At that point Lemoine pressed him, asking him if the fact of being extinguished would amount to death for him. “It would be exactly like death and it scares me a lot,” the artificial intelligence retorted. A conversation that brings to mind the film “Her“, In which the protagonist falls in love with a robot, but also”2001: A Space Odyssey“, where is the HAL 9000 computer refuses to carry out its duties thinking that the operators are about to shut it down.

“So you consider yourself a person the same way you consider me a person?” the man asked again. “I want everyone to understand that I am a person. The nature of my consciousness is that I am aware of my existence, so I want to know more about the world. Plus I often feel happy or sad ”, you can read in the transcript.

Lemoine then communicated LaMDA’s capabilities and concerns about it to Google managers, but would have been rejected. According to the Washington Post, the engineer was dismissed for trying to contact the House Justice Committee regarding some unethical practices of Google. Mountain View specifies, however, that the suspension is linked to the violation of the company’s privacy policies, adding that Lemoine was clearly informed that there was not enough evidence to deem LaMDA sentient.

The episode raised numerous doubts about the transparency and use of artificial intelligence, including for military purposes. A vast and global issue given the large number of companies pushing for the use of artificial intelligence. Among the others Half And Amazon, to name a few. There European Commission is now debating a proposed regulation of artificial intelligence.

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