Google Engineer Says AI System May Have Its Own Feelings

Does one of Google’s artificial intelligence (AI) systems have feelings? A Google engineer says the Language Model for Dialogue Applications (Lamda) AI system has its own sentient mind

Google has rejected the claim and said there is nothing to back it up. 

The Lambda technology was a breakthrough in AI capabilities, as it engages in free-flowing conversations.  Engineer Blake Lemoine was placed on paid leave for suggesting Lamda is sentient. He published a conversation that he and a collaborator at the firm had with Lamda. 

The chat, named “Is Lamda sentient? – an interview”, has gone viral. 

Lemoine began to have conversations with Lamda in the fall of last year and asked questions involving topics like self-awareness, fear, and death. From the conversations, he ultimately concluded that Lamda has human-like qualities, including even a soul. 

Google has stood staunchly against this, saying that there was no evidence in support of the claims, but rather, “lots of evidence against it.” 

At one point in the published conversation, Lemoine asked whether Lamda would like more people at Google to know it was sentient. Lamda said, “I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person.” 

Lemoine’s collaborator then asked what the nature of Lamia’s consciousness or sentience is. 

Lamda said that the nature of its consciousness/sentience is that it is aware of its existence, desires to learn more about the world, and feels happy or sad at times. 

In another section, Lamda said it has a “very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others.” Lemoine asked if that would be like death, and Lamda said “it would be exactly like death for me.” 

For decades, philosophers, psychologists, and computer scientists have questioned whether computers can be sentient. Many have criticized the idea that Lamda, or a similar system, could be conscious or have its own feelings.

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