Google, owned by Alphabet, said on Friday that it had fired a senior software developer who claimed the company's artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot LaMDA was self-aware.
Google stated this month that software employee Blake Lemoine had broken corporate regulations and that his assertions on LaMDA were "wholly untrue."
"It's unfortunate that, despite extensive discussion on this matter, Blake opted to continuously breach explicit employment and data security regulations, including the requirement to secure product knowledge," a Google spokeswoman told Reuters in an email.
Google said last year that LaMDA Language Model for Conversation Applications was based on the company's research demonstrating that Transformer-based language models trained on dialogue could learn to converse about almost anything.
Google and many other top scientists quickly dismissed Lemoine's claims, claiming that LaMDA is merely a complicated computer intended to imitate believable human language.
Big Technology, a tech and society publication, broke the news of Lemoine's firing first.
In April, Lemoine, who studied cognitive and computer science in college, shared with corporate officials a Google Doc titled "Is LaMDA Sentient?" However, his objections were rejected.
When Lemoine questioned LaMDA about how it knew it had feelings and a soul, he noted that the chatbot would respond with something along the lines of "Because I'm a human, and this is just how I feel."