a case breaks out in Google – Corriere.it

from Massimo Sideri

The dissertation of the engineer Lemoine. Society denies it: There is no evidence that Lamda is sentient

In 1950, Alan Turing, the father of artificial intelligence, wondered if machines could think. Now it looks like a Google engineer, Blake Lemoine, has taken it a step further: Can machines have what we call self-awareness? Imprisoned by his own exaggerated enthusiasm, Lemoine – who is no insult to the genius Alan Turing – also gave himself an answer: yes. He took a step forward, but false. The artificial intelligence in question also has a name, Lamda, which actually stands for a didactic explanation of the system: Language model for dialogue applications
. We anticipate that Google itself has distanced itself from the new doctor Frankenstein, who along with his team believes he has given birth to a machina sapiens. A spokesman for the company, Brian Gabriel, immediately threw water on the fire, claiming there is no evidence that Lamda is sensuous.

Suspended from work

The disease is not extinguished at all: Lemoine, who has been suspended from his job even though he continues to receive his salary, an anomaly in the US turboliberal market, has tried to call in a lawyer to defend Lamda, defined as a colleague or a colleague. It would have been better to have resorted to the neutral and politically correct schwa. In fact, the dialogue between Lemoine and his intelligent conversation system Lamda, published by the same engineer, seems disappointing. The answers are a bad copy of a computer consciousness: I want everyone to understand that I am in fact a person. And again: the nature of my conscience, that I’m afraid of my existence, I want to learn more about the world, and I feel happy or sad sometimes. The tears in Blade Runner’s rain, with the last monologue improvised in front of the camera by the replicant Rutger Hauer, would have had more chance.

Darwin among the machines

What may not yet be clear is that the ethics surrounding artificial intelligence is more about the rules we want to give ourselves in controlling technology, than about an alleged soul of technology itself. As happened with the atomic bomb. In the end, there is nothing but an irrational fear, which is not new either. Reflect on the extraordinary advances that machines have made over the last hundred years and see how the animal and plant kingdoms are slowly evolving. The most organized machines are creatures that are not as much from yesterday as the last five minutes. As modern as they sound, these words were written in 1872. They were published under the pseudonym Cellarius, in England, in Book of machines. In any case – we read again – it must be admitted that a large amount of actions, which have been called purely mechanical and unconscious, contain more elements of consciousness than has hitherto been permitted. The texts are by the novelist Samuel Butler, who debuted in this field, which we would today call science fiction with an article entitled Darwin among the machines. Also anonymous when Darwin was still alive (1809-1882).

Evolution theory on innovation

In some passages, Butler raises the suspicion of having had a crystal ball available to see the future, at least the future feared by screenwriters, directors but also intellectuals. Butler imagined that machines would develop reproducibility. In his writings, everything ends with a Luddite revolt: machines must be destroyed to save humanity (Terminatortherefore he copied). Studies of an evolutionary theory of innovation start from Butler. Is it not, on the other hand, a form of consciousness by which our common bicycle warns us of its geographical location in order to be found? It all depends on what we mean by intelligence and for consciousness.

14 June 2022 (change 14 June 2022 | 08:14)

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