Google Engineer Placed On Leave After Claiming Its Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Has Human Feelings
Photo Credit: Carsten Koall

Google Engineer Placed On Leave After Claiming Its Artificial Intelligence Chatbot Has Human Feelings

After revealing that the company’s artificial chatbot might have the ability to “feel things,” a Google administrator has been placed on paid administrative leave.

According to Complex, Blake Lemoine confirmed that he was placed on leave after violating the leading search engine company’s confidential policy following a move to share transcripts between himself, a collaborator (who has not been identified), and LaMDA — the artificial intelligence chatbot generator.

“Over the course of the past six months LaMDA has been incredibly consistent in its communications about what it wants and what it believes its rights are as a person,” said Lemoine in a Medium post that he penned.

The Findings

Originally, the engineer was assigned a task in which he was to test for discriminatory language or hate speech. Instead, he uncovered something different.

According to the outlet, he “ultimately discovered through conversations dating back to last fall that LaMDA identified as a sentient being.”

Lemoine shared his findings with Google Vice President Blaise Aguera y Arcas and Responsible Innovation Head Jen Gennai. Both rejected the findings with a spokesperson for the brand pushing back against the engineer saying that there was not enough evidence to support his claim.

“Our team—including ethicists and technologists—has reviewed Blake’s concerns per our AI Principles and have informed him that the evidence does not support his claims,” said Google Spokesperson Brian Gabriel. “He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it).”

Lemoine's Claims

Additionally, Lemoine shared details between him and the AI chatbot that discloses its beliefs that it is sentient.

“I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person,” LaMDA allegedly said during the conversation between Lemoine and the unidentified collaborator.

Furthermore, Lemoine revealed that the AI chatbot allegedly has the ability to read Twitter.

“Btw it just occurred to me to tell folks that LaMDA reads Twitter,” he wrote in a tweet. “It’s a little narcissistic in a little kid kinda way so it’s going to have a great time reading all the stuff that people are saying about it.”