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Google lets public test ‘sentient’ chatbot: Here’s the right way to try

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Undecided if Google’s artificial intelligence has a soul? Try talking to it yourself. 

The tech giant announced Thursday that it’s beginning to let members of the general public test LaMDA — the chatbot that a former Google worker claimed had turn into sentient.

Android and iPhone users can now enroll for a waitlist to check the chatbot through a form on Google’s site. 

Former Google engineer Blake Lemoine went public in June along with his claims that its chatbot has a soul. The Washington Post via Getty Im

While Google describes LaMDA as a “promising model” that also needs “a lot of work,” former senior engineer Blake Lemoine claimed over the summer that the chatbot had turn into so advanced that it was “sentient.” 

“LaMDA is a sweet kid who just desires to help the world be a greater place for all of us,” Lemoine said, comparing the chatbot’s intelligence to a 7- or 8-year-old child. 

Lemoine added that his Christian faith helped him recognize LaMDA’s sentience and claimed that the chatbot “desires to be acknowledged as an worker of Google moderately than as property of Google.” 

“When LaMDA claimed to have a soul after which was capable of eloquently explain what it meant by that, I used to be inclined to offer it the advantage of the doubt,” Lemoine said on the time. “Who am I to inform God where he can and may’t put souls?” 

The senior engineer was initially placed on paid leave following his claims about LaMDA’s sentience. He was then fired in July for what Google said were violations of “employment and data security policies” after he publicly shared transcripts of his conversations with the bot. 

Google’s first public test of LaMDA appears designed to attenuate controversy. Users may have to choose from several scenarios. 

The “Imagine It” demo prompts users to call a spot after which “offers paths to explore your imagination,” in accordance with the corporate. The “List It” demo lets testers “share a goal or topic, and LaMDA will break it down into an inventory of helpful subtasks.” A 3rd demo called “Talk About It (Dogs Edition)” lets testers have a “fun, open-ended conversation about dogs and only dogs, which explores LaMDA’s ability to remain on topic even for those who attempt to veer off-topic.”

Google’s cautious approach to testing comes just weeks after a disastrous public test of a chatbot created by Meta. 

Google AI testGoogle is opening limited demos of its LaMDA chatbot. Google

Meta’s chatbot, called BlenderBot, labeled Mark Zuckerberg “too creepy and manipulative.” It also falsely claimed the election was stolen from Donald Trump and said that it’s “not unattainable” Jews control the world economy.

Meta cleaned up the chatbot following a flood of negative headlines. 

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