Google LaMDA 'sentience'

Released: May 2021
Occurred: June 2022

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LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) is a large language model developed by Google to develop chatbots. The first version of LaMDA was released in May 2021, and the second a year later in May 2022.

The model hit the news after the Washington Post had reported Google engineer Blake Lemoine had tried to convince fellow Google employees that LaMDA was sentient.

'When LaMDA claimed to have a soul and then was able to eloquently explain what it meant by that,' Lemoine, an ordained Christian mystical priest, said he 'was inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.'

Google, technology professionals, philsophers and ethicists responded to the notion that LaMDA - and other technologies - can be human primarily on technical, scientific grounds, prompting Lemoine to complain the model faces 'bigotry' in an interview with WIRED.

Google suspended and fired Lemoine after he breached company policy by sharing information about his project, recruited a lawyer for the AI after claiming that LaMDA had asked him to do so, and alleged that Google was discriminating against him because of his religion.

Operator: Alphabet/Google
Communicate with people
Large language model; Neural network; NLP/text analysis

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Published: January 2023