Google fires Blake Lemoine, the engineer who claimed AI chatbot is a person

Former Google engineer Blake Lemoine poses for a picture wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

Enlarge / Former Google engineer Blake Lemoine. (credit: Getty Images | Washington Post)

Google has fired Blake Lemoine, the software engineer who was previously put on paid leave after claiming the company’s LaMDA chatbot is sentient. Google said Lemoine, who worked in the company’s Responsible AI unit, violated data security policies.

“If an employee shares concerns about our work, as Blake did, we review them extensively. We found Blake’s claims that LaMDA is sentient to be wholly unfounded and worked to clarify that with him for many months,” Google said in a statement provided to Ars and other news organizations.

Lemoine confirmed on Friday that “Google sent me an email terminating my employment with them,” The Wall Street Journal wrote. Lemoine also reportedly said he’s talking with lawyers “about what the appropriate next steps are.” Google’s statement called it “regrettable that despite lengthy engagement on this topic, Blake still chose to persistently violate clear employment and data security policies that include the need to safeguard product information.”

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