Google Fires engineer who claims AI has conscious
SAN FRANCISCO — Google fired one of its engineers, Blake Lemoine, on Friday, more than a month after raising ethical concerns about how the company was testing an artificial intelligence chatbot it believes has achieved consciousness.
“He has consistently chosen to violate explicit recruitment and data security policies that include the need to protect product information,” said Google spokesperson Chris Pappas, Mr.
The company, which denies that its chat software language model is sensitive, put Mr. Lemoine on paid leave in June. Mr. Lemoyne confirmed his dismissal in a text message on Friday, and said he was meeting with lawyers to review his options. The shooting was first reported in the Big Technology newsletter.
Mr. Lemoine caused an uproar last month when he told the Washington Post he thought Google’s language model for dialogue applications, or LaMDA, was conscious — unleashing fears that AI was approaching a dystopian science fiction movie and a tumultuous debate about whether it could be Computer software really has a soul. His suspension also led to conspiracy theories about whether it was part of a cover-up by Google.
For Google, this was another in a series of domestic debates over the ethics and role of artificial intelligence, an area of technology on which the company’s future has staked.
Mr. Lemoine’s claim that LaMDA is sensitive has been criticized by the company and several other artificial intelligence experts who have said that these types of chatbots – software that simulate a text conversation with another human, often used for customer service – are not advanced enough to be conscious.
“If an employee shares concerns about our work, as Blake did, we review them extensively,” Mr. Pappas said. “We found Blake’s claims that LaMDA is sensitive to be completely unfounded and worked to clarify this with him for several months.”
Besides communicating his concerns to the media, Mr. Lemoine said in June he had handed over documents to an unidentified US senator, claiming they provided evidence of Google and its technology’s involvement in religious discrimination.