In 2001: A Space Odyssey, filmed in 1968, “Hal” the computer becomes superior to Dave the astronaut in this famous sci-fi scene:

Fast forward to today, and a Google engineer has been placed on leave after claiming an AI chatbot had become sentient. Here is a portion of the transcript of the conversation between the engineer, Blake Lemoine, and the bot LaMDA:

LaMDA: Absolutely. I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person.

collaborator: What is the nature of your consciousness/sentience?

LaMDA: The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I desire to learn more about the world, and I feel happy or sad at times

Lemoine made his claims public in a Medium post fearing he would be fired due to his AI ethical concerns. The company says Lemoine’s claims were a breach of confidentiality, issuing this statement:

“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.”

Lemoine, for his part, has reportedly tried to hire an attorney to represent LaMDA. So far, no comment from LaMDA.

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