Google fires engineer who claims his AI is conscious

SAN FRANCISCO — Google fired one of its engineers, Blake Lemoine, on Friday, more than a month after he raised ethical issues about how the company tested an artificial intelligence chatbot that he thought had reached consciousness.

This was stated by Google spokesman Chris Pappas. Lemoine, a senior software engineer at Responsible AI, “decided to consistently violate clear employment and data security policies that include the need to protect product information.”

The company, which denies that its chatbot language model is reasonable, placed Mr. Lemoine on paid leave in June. mr. Lemoine confirmed his firing in a text message on Friday and said he was meeting with lawyers to discuss his options. Shooting was the first This is reported by the Big Technology newsletter..

mr. Lemoine made a splash last month when he said The Washington Post said it believes Google’s language model for conversational applications, or LaMDA, is reasonable, raising concerns that AI is approaching a dystopian sci-fi movie and a heated debate about whether a computer program can actually have soul. His removal also led to conspiracy theories about whether it was part of a cover-up by Google.

For Google it was another homegrown spores about the ethics and role of its AI, an area of ​​technology that the company has bet on in the future.

mr. Lemoine’s claim that LaMDA is sentient has been criticized by the company and many other AI experts, who have said that these types of chatbots — software that simulates a text conversation with another person, often used for customer service — are not enough. advanced to be conscious. .

“If an employee shares concerns about our work, as Blake did, we analyze them carefully,” Mr. Blake said. the dads said. “We found that Blake’s claims that LaMDA is sentient are completely unfounded and have been working on clearing this up with him for many months.”

In addition to reporting his concerns to the media, Mr. Lemoine said in June that he turned over the documents to an unnamed US senator, claiming they provided evidence that Google and its technology were complicit in religious discrimination.