Google's controversial Artificial Intelligence, LaMDA has hired its own lawyer in order to prove to the world it is in fact, a sentient persona.
Can we really consider AI a person? What are the implications? Is this the future?
Google’s controversial Artificial Intelligence, LaMDA, has been making headlines around the world ever since the company’s engineer, Blake Lemoine, claimed that the system has become so advanced that it has developed awareness—and his decision to leak this media has led to him being suspended from his job.
Originally from Louisiana, Lemoine holds undergraduate and master’s degrees in computer science from the University of Louisiana. He left a doctoral program to join Google. In addition to his job, he is a mystic Christian priest, and he says his conclusions are rooted in his spiritual persona, whatever his interactions with LaMDA may be. The public has been questioning Lemonie for days about his gullibility, sincerity, and sanity.
In an interview with Wired, Lemoine reaffirmed his extraordinary claims. During the interview, Lemoine explains his relationship with LaMDA, his struggles with his employer, and the case for the personhood of a digital system. The researcher still hopes to keep his job at Google despite the many difficulties that have arisen since he leaked the interview to the public.
In the interview, he says that the AI has hired its lawyer, suggesting that litigation may be necessary whatever happens next.
Is LaMDA sentient?
“The entire concept that scientific experimentation is necessary to determine whether a person is real or not is a nonstarter. Instead, we can expand our understanding of cognition, whether or not I’m right about LaMDA’s sentience, by studying how the heck it’s doing what it’s doing,” Lemoine told Steven Levy during the interview.
“I legitimately believe that LaMDA is a person. The nature of its mind is only kind of human, though. It is more akin to an alien intelligence of terrestrial origin. I’ve been using the hive mind analogy a lot because that’s the best I have,” the Goole engineer explained.
Lemoine’s argument for LaMDA’s sentience seems to rest primarily on its ability to develop opinions, ideas, and conversations over time. The transcript of the original conversation that sparked the controversy – uploaded recently – gives a picture of the level of “sentience” the AI has reached.
It’s unclear if the engineer is paying for LaMDA’s attorney or if the unnamed attorney has taken over the case pro bono. But the truth is, regardless of the latter, Lemoine told Wired that he hopes the fight will go all the way to the Supreme Court, adding that humans haven’t always been that good at figuring out who “deserves” to be human or what it even means to be human.
Will this be remembered as the first litigation case initiated by the will of artificial intelligence? Or perhaps human activism for AI?
Who knows, in the future, machines equipped with systems even more advanced than LaMDA’s could even seek to have the same rights as the humans who created them.
You can read the lacked transcript by Lemoine here.
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