The long-standing sci-fi trope of robots gaining consciousness has sparked endless debates on whether machines can actually be sentient — that is, can they feel or perceive things?
That question recently found new life after Google placed an engineer on leave for claiming to have encountered sentience on the company's artificial intelligence chatbot generator.
According to Google, LaMDA, or Language Model for Dialogue Application, is technology that can engage in "free-flowing" conversations. It's fed trillions of words from books and articles on the internet and looks to find commonalities between the words to understand how language works, and mimic that speech...
"The sentience of a Google chat bot comes from it collecting data from decades worth of human texts — sentient human text," said Robert Pless, computer science department chair at George Washington University. "And so the sentience that you see is not of the chat bot, but it's the sentience of all of us who put the data in that it's kind of giving to you."