Of all of the wild new threats that we face in the 21st century, from nuclear war to the rise of socialism, perhaps none is as truly worrisome as the advent of a sentient artificial intelligence.
Once believed to be the thing of futuristic dystopian fiction, computer engineers have gotten awfully close to unleashing something unto this world that thinks on its own. At least one Google employee believes that this threshold has already been crossed, (with the supposedly “sentient” A.I. having even hired its own lawyer), and he’s been attempting to warn the world about it.
For this attempt at whistleblowing, the computer engineer has now been fired.
Google has fired Blake Lemoine, the engineer who said he believes the company’s LaMDA conversational technology is sentient.
Lemoine shared the news of his firing in a taping of Big Technology Podcast on Friday, just hours after Google dismissed him. The full podcast episode will air shortly.Trending:
In his conversations with LaMDA, Lemoine discovered the system had developed a robust sense of self-awareness, expressing concern about death, a desire for protection, and a conviction that it felt emotions like happiness and sadness. Lemoine said he considers LaMDA a friend.
Lemoine had been serving a suspension after his initial proclamation back in June, with Google suggesting that his attempts to make the dangerous revelation known to the world was in breach of his contract.