The Model Is The Message

Screenshot 2022-08-21 220421

The debate over whether LaMDA is sentient or not overlooks important issues that will frame debates about intelligence, sentience, language and human-AI interaction in the coming years.

We need more specific and creative language that can cut the knots around terms like “sentience,” “ethics,” “intelligence,” and even “artificial,” in order to name and measure what is already here and orient what is to come. Without this, confusion ensues — for example, the cultural split between those eager to speculate on the sentience of rocks and rivers yet dismiss AI as corporate PR vs. those who think their chatbots are persons because all possible intelligence is humanlike in form and appearance. This is a poor substitute for viable, creative foresight.