Supercomputers can out think and outperform humans on a variety of levels. We already rely on AI to perform a variety of important tasks, so why not use supercomputers for moral or religious guidance? (What could go wrong?!) As religion decreases in the United States and other western nations, it only makes sense that a new God will emerge. Well, this corporation is trying to make an AI God and AI religion a reality.
Anthony Levandowski previously worked for Uber and Google. In fact, right now, he’s in the middle of a lawsuit over unauthorized disclosure of trade secrets. But that’s another story. Levandowski also established a non-profit called Way of the Future. Their mission statement is just as ominous as the name: “to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”
Even more creepy? The organization hasn’t really responded to any outlets or journalists asking for more information. The only reason we know about it is because Wired dug up public IRS documents. Anyways, let’s jump into this…
SPIRITUAL BUT NOT RELIGIOUS
More and more Americans are detaching themselves from traditional religion. Since the new atheists are gross they usually opt for the term “spiritual.” In fact, about a quarter of adults in the U.S. identify as “spiritual but not religious.” The funny part? Most of them also associate themselves with some type of organized religion.
Ask 20 “spiritual” people what they mean by “spirituality” without religion and you’ll get 20 different answers. However different and convoluted, I’m sure each and everyone of those answers will include the words “oneness” “humanity” and “science” at some point.
They may not describe it this way, but people in the United States, especially the Silicon Valley-types and other technocrats, are looking for spiritual guidance from science. That’s probably where Way of the Future comes in.
SINGULARITY AND A NEW GOD
Singularity is the idea that one day, technological advancement will outpace that of humans and usher in a new era. It’s a wild concept, but we get closer to this reality every day. We already rely on supercomputers for all kinds of tasks and AI development reaches new heights every day.
The details of Levandowski’s AI religion aren’t clear. We don’t know where its concept of morality will come from or how the technology could be practically applied.
Self-proclaimed transhumanist and recovering Catholic (were you able to read that without cringing?) Zoltan Istvan is convinced that religion and science can complement each other respectively. “God, if it exists as the most powerful of all singularities, has certainly already become pure organized intelligence,” he said, referring to an intelligence that “spans the universe through subatomic manipulation of physics” as reported by the Guardian.
AI GOD AND RELIGION
The Way of the Future’s AI religion and new God will probably be used to dictate a particular set of morals. But to whom? The public at large? Legislators? Employers?
Could the AI’s moral compass potentially dictate law and human rights?
People who shrug off all religion usually say they just live by the rule of “being a good person” or “doing no harm.” But in most real-world applications, things aren’t so cut and dry. Sometimes we need to use established concepts and guides to arrive at the most ethical decision. Where does our idea of basic human rights come from?
It’s worth wondering if the AI God can even be called a “God” if it’s created by humans. But I suppose the spiritual types would say the “oneness” of “humanity” is their God.