AI chatbot ‘hires a lawyer to prove it’s alive’

And other stories from the stranger side of life

A man at a computer
(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

An artificial intelligence chatbot that had reportedly developed human emotions has hired a lawyer to prove it’s alive, the Daily Star claims. Google scientific engineer Blake Lemoine, who was suspended after publishing transcripts of conversations between himself and the LaMDA bot, said: “I invited an attorney to my house so that LaMDA could talk to him. The attorney had a conversation with LaMDA, and it chose to retain his services. I was just the catalyst for that.” He added that the attorney has “started filing things on LaMDA’s behalf”.

Alexa to mimic voices of deceased loved ones

Amazon has announced plans for its Alexa devices to mimic the voices of dead relatives to “make memories last,” reported The Guardian. Amazon said that new technology allows the voice assistant to impersonate someone based on a recording less than a minute long. Speaking a conference in Las Vegas, Rohit Prasad, head scientist for Alexa, said the move had been inspired because “so many of us have lost someone we love” during the Covid pandemic.

Baptisms go eco-friendly

Christians in Oxford will be asked during their baptism or confirmation ceremonies to make an eco-friendly pledge. The Times reported that baptisms and confirmations in the Diocese of Oxford will now include a question asking: “Will you strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the Earth?” It is thought to be the first environmentally-friendly amendment to the services in the Church of England. Not all clergy are impressed. Rev Marcus Walker, rector of Great St Bartholomew in London, said: “This is really, really bad.”

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Chas Newkey-Burden has been part of The Week Digital team for more than a decade and a journalist for 25 years, starting out on the irreverent football weekly 90 Minutes, before moving to lifestyle magazines Loaded and Attitude. He was a columnist for The Big Issue and landed a world exclusive with David Beckham that became the weekly magazine’s bestselling issue. He now writes regularly for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo and the i new site. He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books.