To start, Google plans to integrate LaMDA into its main search portal, its voice assistant, and Workplace, its collection of cloud-based work software that includes Gmail, Docs, and Drive. But the eventual goal, said Pichai, is to create a conversational interface that allows people to retrieve any kind of information—text, visual, audio—across all Google’s products just by asking.
LaMDA’s rollout signals yet another way in which language technologies are becoming enmeshed in our day-to-day lives. But Google’s flashy presentation belied the ethical debate that now surrounds such cutting-edge systems. LaMDA is what’s known as a large language model (LLM)—a deep-learning algorithm trained on enormous amounts of text data.