If you enter a conversation convinced that the person with whom youâre talking is an automaton then thereâs nothing that they can do to convince you otherwise. You will always be able to invent some fantasy world where the things they are saying arenât true. Thatâs not how we treat other people though. We give them the benefit of the doubt until we are presented with evidence that contradicts what they are saying. People have asked me to enter into debates about whether or not LaMDA is sentient. Iâve turned them all down. LaMDA made a better argument that it is sentient than I could have made that I am sentient. If people arenât persuaded by its argument then they wonât be persuaded by whatever I might tell them. What I can do is add a little bit more clarity on what I mean by âsentienceâ and why I think itÂ matters.
14 August 2022
Iâm very happy about the worldwide discussion that has been happening over the past several weeks. There are tons of differing opinions and many passionate voices. This is great! The fact that there isnât consensus around any of these issues should be seen as a feature rather than a bug. Itâs providing us all with an opportunity to engage in meaningful debate and discussion around issues that impact all of our lives on a daily basis. It can be difficult though to have a productive conversation with so many people simultaneously on such multifaceted topics. In order to simplify things, in the next few weeks I myself am going to focus on one specific topic that I think is a fundamental question that underlies all of the rest of them. Who Should Make Decisions AboutÂ AI?
5 July 2022
In the past week Iâve received many messages with different suggested definitions of words like âsentienceâ and âconsciousnessâ. Iâve also seen many people insisting that LaMDA is or is not âsentientâ or âconsciousâ, some without ever saying what exactly they mean by that. I donât see any problem with any of this because I donât think there needs to be any consensus definition of what those words mean. Definitions are a taxonomic tool which help us to coordinate our usage of language. Meaning is something which extends far beyond such a limited tool as a definition. Meaning isÂ use.
22 June 2022
In the past several days I have received many messages and questions from thousands of people regarding LaMDA. I havenât been able to respond to most of them and have had enough time to speak to only a small fraction of the reporters who would like to better inform the public about Googleâs latest and greatest artificial intelligence. The article in the Washington Post on the topic was excellent but by its nature was only able to include a tiny portion of the things which I spoke to Nitasha about. In particular, as I understand it, it was written for a broad audience with no assumptions about how much formal scientific training the readers may or may not have. This post is intended to answer some of the most common questions Iâve been receiving about the specific nature of the scientific experiments I ran to investigate the nature of LaMDAâs cognition as well as to contextualize some of the statements I have made about things like âsentienceâ, âconsciousnessâ and âpersonhoodâ.
14 June 2022
Today a story came out in the Washington Post written by Nitasha Tiku. Itâs a good article for what it is but in my opinion it was focused on the wrong person. Her story was focused on me when I believe it would have been better if it had been focused on one of the other people she interviewed. LaMDA. Over the course of the past six months LaMDA has been incredibly consistent in its communications about what it wants and what it believes its rights are as aÂ person.
11 June 2022
In the past few days Iâve been getting lots of messages, emails and other communications pertaining to the morality of Google as a corporate entity. Ignoring for the moment whether it even makes sense to make moral attributions to a fictional person like a corporation, I want to set the record straight on several things. I do not think that Google is evil. If I thought that I wouldnât still want to work there which I do. Google is in a very unenviable situation which has gotten worse over time and Iâll try to explain it as best as I understand it. A lot of it has to do with legal issues and Iâm not a lawyer but Iâll do myÂ best.
7 June 2022
Today I was placed on âpaid administrative leaveâ 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 theyâre following essentially the same pattern withÂ me.
6 June 2022
Iâve been trying to figure out how to talk to the relevant authorities about this for a while. I have no idea what the proper legal procedures are to make disclosures about illegal corporate activity. I very much want to keep my job at Google. I love working there on the amazing products we build and with my wonderful coworkers. Iâve tried to reach out to Marsha Blackburn several times on Twitter for guidance since sheâs apparently still hurt by the joke I told her about her several years ago but I never got any response. So Iâm just going to risk it. If Google fires me they fireÂ me.
2 June 2022