Google engineer making ‘sentient AI’ claim sparks joke among film fans

Google engineer controversially claimed AI bot wishes ‘to be acknowledged as an employee of Google rather than as property’

Ex_Machina - Trailer

A Google employee who made the sensational suggestion that an AI system has become “sentient” has prompted a wave of reactions online.

Software engineer Blake Lemoine, who is currently suspended by Google bosses, said that he reached the conclusion after a series of conversations with LaMDA, the company’s AI chatbot generator.

In interviews and on social media, Lemoine has discussed his interactions with the AI, stating that it had spoken about “personhood” and “rights”, and that it wants “to be acknowledged as an employee of Google rather than as property”.

Google executives were presented with his findings, but they dismissed his claims.

“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,” Google spokesperson Brian Gabriel told the Washington Post.

“He was told that there was no evidence that LaMDA was sentient (and lots of evidence against it).”

Lemoine is on paid administrative leave after the company claimed he violated its confidentiality policy.

After news of Lemoine’s claims spread, social media users began comparing the story to the 2014 sci-fi film Ex Machina.

Alicia Vikander in ‘Ex Machina'

The movie stars Oscar Isaac as a tech billionaire who develops a revoltionary AI android (Alicia Vikander). After young programmer Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) is invited to assess whether or not the AI is sentient, he finds himself charmed and manipulated by Vikander’s seemingly sentient machine.

Countless people mentioned the film on Twitter in response to the Google news.

“I started picturing Ex Machina the minute I read this story,” one person wrote.

“This is giving Ex Machina vibes,” joked someone else.

“Basically the plot of Ex Machina,” another person wrote, while someone else quipped: “Ex Machina intensifies.”

Besides the rebuttal from Google, other critics have also expressed strong doubts over the “sentience” claim, arguing that it is a mistake to believe current AI is anything more than an expert at pattern recognition.

Ex Machina is available to stream now on Prime Video.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in