Google has fired one of its engineers who said the company’s artificial intelligence system has feelings, making it a lot more suspicious as to whether AI could actually have the potential to develop emotions.
Last month, Blake Lemoine went public with his theory that Google’s language technology is sentient and should therefore have its “wants” respected. Following this statement from Lemoine, this Friday, Google, and other AI experts, denied the claims and the company confirmed he had been sacked.
In a statement, Google said Mr Lemoine’s claims about The Language Model for Dialogue Applications (Lamda) were “wholly unfounded” and that the company worked with him for “many months” to clarify this. “So, it’s regrettable that despite lengthy engagement on this topic, Blake still chose to persistently violate clear employment and data security policies that include the need to safeguard product information,” the statement said.
Lemoine had claimed last month that Lamda was showing human-like consciousness. It sparked discussion among AI experts and enthusiasts about the advancement of technology that is designed to impersonate humans. He found Lamda showed self-awareness and could hold conversations about religion, emotions, and fears. This led Lemoine to believe that behind its impressive verbal skills might also lie a sentient mind.
His findings were dismissed by Google and he was placed on paid leave for violating the company’s confidentiality policy.