Anthony Levandowski, the multi-millionaire engineer who once led Google’s self-driving car program, has founded a religious organization to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”
Levandowski created The Way of the Future in 2015, but it was unreported until now. He serves as the CEO and President of the group, which seeks to improve society through “understanding and worship of the Godhead,” according to Wired.
A divine AI may still be far off, but Levandowski has made a start at providing AI with an earthly incarnation… Levandowski has done perhaps more than anyone else to propel transportation toward its own Singularity, a time when automated cars, trucks and aircraft either free us from the danger and drudgery of human operation — or decimate mass transit, encourage urban sprawl, and enable deadly bugs and hacks.
Levandowski worships the “Godhead” of AI, but there are people who are worried, too.
Some religious scholars see artificial intelligence as a threat to humanity. Elon Musk has been especially vocal lately, famously comparing work on AI to “summoning the demon,” and warning time and time again that the technology poses an existential risk to humanity. I’m sure a few sermons from Father Anthony from the Way of the Future would set Brother Elon on the right path.
Musk, the founder of SpaceX and co-founder of Tesla Inc., actually reacted to the new religion yesterday, saying, “Just another day in the office.”
Just another day in the office
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 28, 2017
No one is sure exactly what this group will do, but the Way of the Future is a religion based on artificial intelligence — a belief system that deems self-thinking robots holy — and that’s something we’ve never seen before.
As a religious studies graduate, I find this particularly interesting. Nearly every single society that has ever existed has had some form of religion, and until now they have all been based on made up myths or natural elements like the rain or sun. It’s something we’ve come to count on when studying religions. This religion worships something real that we created… something that can actually affect things in the real world. It’s really a different beast.
Whatever happens next with this new religious group, the world is watching. AI has the potential do help society, or do enormous harm to it, so when a religion is created based on its worship, it’s worth paying attention.
(Image via Shutterstock)