Artificial Intelligence: Suspended Engineer, Of “Sentient AI” Fame, Is Fired By Google

July 26, 2022 | Artificial Intelligence, News

Blake Lemoine, the engineer (pictured above), said he had anticipated the firing when he was placed on paid leave.

A Google engineer put on paid leave last month after claiming that a company AI chatbot had developed consciousness and human reasoning, was finally fired on Friday. Blake Lemoine, the engineer, said he was dismissed in an interview on the Big Technology Podcast. He had been suspended on June 6 for talking to the media about Google’s (NAASDAQ: GOOGL) LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialog Applications, an AI chatbot that can simulate human speech. (FOX Business)

Lemoine had been working on the system for more than a year and called it “sentient,” meaning it had the capability to express its feelings and thoughts like a human.

Last week, Lemoine published on Medium the transcripts of conversations he had with LaMDA and a Google collaborator. Based on these, he believes that the bot had become a person, and that it should be asked for consent before Google conducted experiments on it.

On Saturday, post-firing, Lemoine said in a tweet that he had, in fact, anticipated Google’s action: “Just in case people forgot that I totally called this back at the beginning of June.”

Lemoine was referring to his June 7 post in Medium in which he had said: “Today I was placed on “paid administrative leave” by Google in connection to an investigation of AI ethics concerns I was raising within the company. This is frequently something which Google does in anticipation of firing someone. It usually occurs when they have made the decision to fire someone but do not quite yet have their legal ducks in a row. They pay you for a few more weeks and then ultimately tell you the decision which they had already come to. I watched it happen to Meg Mitchell and they’re following essentially the same pattern with me.”

Lemoine says on his Medium bio that he is a priest, veteran, an ex-convict, and a cajun besides being an AI researcher and software engineer.

Related Story: Google Engineer Claims AI Chatbot Is “Sentient;” Sent On Leave By Company

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