Former Google engineer and former head of Uber’s self-driving program Anthony Levandowski has set up a nonprofit religious corporation called Way of the Future, which will work on developing and promoting an AI God.
The religious organization which was founded in September 2015 focuses on the creation and development of an artificial intelligence Godhead with Levandowski as the CEO. As Wired’s Backchannel reports, the aim of this organization is “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society.”
While there is no information as to how many members this relatively new religious organization has, or whether the so-called “Godhead” exists, one thing is certain: Levandowski is trying to create an artificial intelligence being that would be the object of worship and obedience of those who would follow.
Some of Levandowski’s colleagues find his idea appealing, believing that the Godhead would reach the intelligence of humans in 25 years, and would surpass it greatly in 50 years from now.
The Way of the Future has received support from Pastor Christopher Benek from the Christian Transhumanist Organization, who believes that AI “can participate in Christ’s redemptive purposes,” as long as it is imbued with Christian values.
However, news of this religious organization would certainly stir contradiction and negative reaction among those who believe that AI would lead to the destruction of humankind, people including Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking.
Opposed to futurists’ belief that humans will evolve and be able to merge with machines to the point where we reach digital immortality, opponents to this idea claim that advancing AI may pose an existential threat larger than any nuclear bomb that North Korea claims to have.
If you’re not concerned about AI safety, you should be. Vastly more risk than North Korea. pic.twitter.com/2z0tiid0lc
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 12, 2017
At a conference in 2014, Elon Musk warned that “with artificial intelligence, we are summoning the demon. In all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water, it’s like yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon. Didn’t work out.”
A future controlled by artificial intelligence may be one which will inevitably set the world toward a better advancement and prosperity.
However, the question remains: what if the artificial intelligence starts seeing us as inferior and harmful to the progress it is heading to?
Would you accept a future dictated by an omniscient AI machine which will surpass human intelligence and become indeed Godlike?