Google’s LaMDA software (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) is a sophisticated AI chatbot that produces text in response to user input.

According to software engineer Blake Lemoine, LaMDA has achieved a long-held dream of AI developers: it has become sentient.

Lemoine’s bosses at Google disagree, and have suspended him from work after he published his conversations with the machine online.

Other AI experts also think Lemoine may be getting carried away, saying systems like LaMDA are simply pattern-matching machines that regurgitate variations on the data used to train them.