Earlier this month, a Google engineer, Blake Lemoine, claimed his employer had inadvertently created a sentient AI chatbot system, called Language Model for Dialogue Applications—or LaMDA, for short. Lemoine had been tasked with seeing if the LaMDA’s programming showed any tendencies toward hate speech or discrimination in conversation with the average person, the way other chatbots are wont to do. He has since been put on leave from the company,
It’s not clear if he found any of those tendencies with LaMDA. Instead he’s claimed in multiple interviews that he found some kind of proof of sentience. He even posted a long transcript of his conversations about consciousness with LaMDA on his Medium page for anyone to read. And while sure, the bot explained it had a “very deep fear of being turned off,” and that it’s “aware of [its] existence,” most artificial intelligence experts debunked the claims of sentience pretty swiftly. “Nobody should think auto-complete, even on steroids, is conscious,” one researcher told CNN in an interview this week.
So LaMDA might not pass the sniff test when it comes to sentience, or having a soul, or being anything more than a beefed-up auto-complete algo. But we’ve certainly seen a fair share of bots and droids claim sentience onscreen. Maybe our actual first sentient AI will follow in there footsteps. Here are 10 of our faves that we’d like to see go toe-to-toe in conversation (or bot-to-bot combat, honestly) with Google’s own positronic brain.