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Parmy Olson

AI’s Hold Over Humans Is Starting to Get Stronger

Artificial intelligence isn’t on the cusp of sentience. But its growing inscrutability and sway over us should still be cause for concern.

You’re making me nervous.

You’re making me nervous.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

It has been an exasperating week for computer scientists. They’ve been falling over each other to publicly denounce claims from Google engineer Blake Lemoine, chronicled in a Washington Post report, that his employer’s language-predicting system was sentient and deserved all of the rights associated with consciousness.

To be clear, current artificial intelligence systems are decades away from being able to experience feelings and, in fact, may never do so.