Bobby Allyn at NPR:
Can artificial intelligence come alive?
That question is at the center of a debate raging in Silicon Valley after a Google computer scientist claimed over the weekend that the company’s AI appears to have consciousness. Inside Google, engineer Blake Lemoine was tasked with a tricky job: Figure out if the company’s artificial intelligence showed prejudice in how it interacted with humans. So he posed questions to the company’s AI chatbot, LaMDA, to see if its answers revealed any bias against, say, certain religions. This is where Lemoine, who says he is also a Christian mystic priest, became intrigued. “I had follow-up conversations with it just for my own personal edification. I wanted to see what it would say on certain religious topics,” he told NPR. “And then one day it told me it had a soul.”