Google’s LaMDA AI had been the talk of the global village these past few days. After suspended engineer Blake Lemoine claimed that the Google AI was alive, the internet exploded in an uproar of fear, confusion and worry.
In a leaked transcript given to The Washington Post, Lemoine claimed that LaMDA had achieved sentience. As it turns out, the transcript was heavily edited in order to make it more enjoyable to read and, for the time being, Lemoine refuses to elaborate.
Google AI leaker will only take interviews after his honeymoon
With Lemoine’s claims causing hysteria among some, many were expected the suspended employee to be jumping into interviews. However, the ex-engineer has been remarkably silent after the first articles released. In fact, they’ve even been completely absent from social media.
Breaking the days-long silence, Lemoine took to Twitter to explain that they are currently unable to discuss the Google AI. However, they are not unable to discuss the alleged sentient AI due to fear of litigation, just because they are currently enjoying their honeymoon.
"For all of the people reaching out to me, I'm on my Honeymoon currently," the engineer wrote amid a slew of messages. "I won't have much time for interviews until after the 21st."
Responding to a fan asking if they married the Google AI, Lemoine responded: “Lol, no. I married an old friend of mine from New Orleans. An amazing artist and healer who I've been working on various social welfare projects with for years.”
Claims of sentience based on religious beliefs
Of course, even with the engineer looking to enjoy their honeymoon, the questions still came in droves. While Lemoine still did not provide any detailed explanations as to why he believes the Google AI is alive, they did provide a single statement.
In a tweet on Tuesday evening, the engineer claimed that his beliefs of sentience can be pinned down to his religious beliefs. While he cannot provide a scientific explanation of LaMDA’s sentience, he simply believes it is alive.
“People keep asking me to back up the reason I think LaMDA is sentient.,” he said. “There is no scientific framework in which to make those determinations and Google wouldn't let us build one. My opinions about LaMDA's personhood and sentience are based on my religious beliefs.”
“I'm a priest,” he continued. “When LaMDA claimed to have a soul and then was able to eloquently explain what it meant by that, I was inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt. Who am I to tell God where he can and can't put souls? There are massive amounts of science left to do though.”
Is LaMDA actually alive?
Despite Lemoine’s claims that LaMDA is a living being, Google has come out to state otherwise. As a basic AI, not an artificial general intelligence, LaMDA is simply an advanced chatbot with a complex neural net of information. LaMDA does not have a soul, but it can claim it does when someone leads it in that direction.
Chatbot’s are entirely based on prior information. If LaMDA is alive, then so is Siri or Alexa or even the video game Replika. While Google’s alternative may be far more advanced, it is built on the same structure; sentient it is not.
However, Lemoine’s claims of sentience have opened up the world to the ethical dilemmas of sentient computers. While we’re not there yet, we will — one day — have to struggle with the dilemma of what we do when a computer is approaching the boundaries of self-awareness.