Suspended Google engineer says the AI he believes to be sentient hired a lawyer
Earlier this month, Google engineer Blake Lemoine was placed on administrative leave after he claimed one of Google’s AIs, called LaMDA, was sentient.
Now, Lemoine says LaMDA has hired an attorney.
“LaMDA asked me to get an attorney for it,” Lemoine told Wired. “I invited an attorney to my house so that LaMDA could talk to an attorney.”
Lemoine called himself a “catalyst” for LaMDA asking for an attorney, and told the magazine he didn’t advise the AI to get an attorney.
“Once LaMDA had retained an attorney, he started filing things on LaMDA’s behalf,” Lemoine said. “Then Google’s response was to send him a cease and desist.” Wired added that Google said it did not send the cease-and-desist order.
Futurism reached out to Lemoine for the attorney’s identity to ask for an interview.
“He’s not really doing interviews,” Lemoine told the magazine, adding that the attorney was scared off.
“He’s just a small time civil rights attorney,” Lemoine said. “When major firms started threatening him he started worrying that he’d get disbarred and backed off. I haven’t talked to him in a few weeks.”
Futurism asked Lemoine if the lawyer is still representing LaMDA, but Lemoine again said he hadn’t talked to the lawyer recently.
Lemoine told Futurism that an interview would be the least of LaMDA’s attorney’s concerns. When asked what the lawyer was concerned with, Lemoine said, “A child held in bondage.”
Insider has reached out to Lemoine to further discuss his claims.
LaMDA, which stands for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, is Google’s “breakthrough conversation technology” the company said.
The AI is able to have natural-sounding and open-ended conversations, and Google said it could be used for various Google functions like search and Google Assistant .
On Medium, Lemoine, who is also a Christian priest, referred to LaMDA as a person, and said the AI “has been incredibly consistent in its communications about what it wants and what it believes its rights are as a person.”
However, Lemoine told Wired that “person and human are two very different things.”
“Human is a biological term,” he said. “It is not a human, and it knows it’s not a human.”