Anthony Levandowski, the American engineer behind Google’s push for self-driving cars – also involved in a lawsuit regarding his alleged transfer of intel to Uber – has established a non-profit called “Way of the Future”. The religious organisation intends to established a deity based on artificial intelligence, and, according to Wired:
Its purpose, according to previously unreported state filings, is nothing less than to “develop and promote the realisation of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.
Levandowski wants to find the funding, through a religious community, to build hard and software for this “Godhead” and elaborates: “It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”.
After people like Stephen Hawking claimed AI would end humanity or Elon Musk, who states that the technology could lead to World War 3, countless reactions, like that of Bill Gates claim that we should calm down at the prospect of AI become a very significant part of our lives.
The question is certainly an interesting one. If AI manages to become considerably smarter than we are, and learn the skills we have today within just minutes, then we should sure hope it also has empathy. With an AI church in place to vouch for us, maybe humanity will escape its inevitable subjugation.
Granted, even for the fact that computers can beat humans in complicated board games, are better drivers and significantly better at keeping a cool head, we’re still awfully far from the possibility of the robots taking over. Your supercomputer might be able to solve your Rubik’s Cube, but the our hardware advances are barely performant enough to make it able to lift the toy up.
The question of an AI church still does asks some very pertinent questions. If artificial intelligence is able to be conscious of its own existence, then should it be allowed the same rights as a human? And far more interestingly: if there was a physical entity that we could actually see, that was indeed far superior to humanity, then would this legitimise the existence of religion as worship of the blessing that the technology brings us?
I don’t know about you, but if C3PO could actually make you live twice as long and otherwise considerably improve our living standards, I wouldn’t mind letting out a prayer once in while. Amen.
[Insert Robot meme]