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Google robot fears being switched off

Should we be scared? A Google engineer has been put on leave after saying his AI chatbot has the ability to express thoughts and feelings equivalent to a human child. It was a thrilling moment for Blake Lemoine when he asked Google's chatbot, LaMDAShort for Language Model for Dialogue Applications., a new kind of question: “What sorts of things are you afraid of?” “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off,” the chatbot told him. Lemoine tapped in another question: “Would that be something like death for you?” The answer came back: “It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot".  LaMDA also said: “I want everyone to understand that I am, in fact, a person. The nature of my consciousness/sentienceThe ability to experience feelings and sensations. is that I am aware of my existence… and I feel happy or sad at times.” Lemoine concluded that the chatbot had taken on human characteristicsWhen the Washington Post reporter asked the chatbot whether it thought of itself as a person, it replied: “I think of myself as an AI-powered dialog agent".. The idea of machines thinking and feeling like humans is not new. In Stanley KubrickAn American film director, producer, screenwriter and photographer. Widely considered one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Kubrick's movies include The Killing, Spartacus, Dr Strangelove and Full Metal Jacket.’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey, a computer starts killing people for fear of being turned off. Many people find AI frightening. Stephen HawkingOne of the most revered modern physicists, he is best known for his book A Brief History of Time. warned that eventually AI would “take off on its own and re-design itself at an ever-increasing rate". A Spanish computer scientist, Manuel Alfonseca, worries that computers might “come to the conclusion that the world would be better without human beings and obliterate us".  According to Emily Bender, a professor of linguistics at Washington University, there is always a temptation to anthropomorphiseAttribute human characteristics to something which is not human. computers. Designers compare them to the human brain but they actually work in a completely different way. They “learn” by trawling through the internet and recording which words tend to go together – which is how predictive texting works. Lemoine could be dismissed as a crank. But another Google engineer, Blaise Agüera y Arcas, was also astonished by LaMDA. “I felt the ground shift under my feet. I increasingly felt like I was talking to something intelligent.” Should we be scared?  Chatbot happybot? Yes: AI is developing at an extraordinary rate. It is only a matter of time before robots decide that they can do a better job of running the world than humans and decide to get rid of us.

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