It’s not uncommon to hear people claim that God is manmade – a belief that all religions and deities are human constructs. Religious folks laugh off such claims, citing a lack of evidence. But what if we, as human beings, were able to create a brand-new God? By harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, one up-and-coming religion seeks to do exactly that.
“Way of the Future” is a religious organization founded by a former Uber engineer named Anthony Levandowski. Its mission is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence”. By worshipping this Godhead, the organization hopes to “contribute to the betterment of society.”
But is creating an A.I. God even possible, or this just another Silicon Valley pipe-dream? Levandowski believes it is possible – and if we ought to believe anyone, it should probably be him – Levandowski is famous for starting the first autonomous trucking company and paving the way for a future full of driver-less trucks.
The Future is Dark and Full of Robots
Way to the Future seeks to capitalize on the idea of Singularity – a belief that at some point down the line, artificial intelligence will surpass human intelligence, creating drastic and unprecedented changes in society. When that happens, Levandowski and his followers hope to find themselves on the side of the machines. By creating their own A.I. God, they hope to curry favor with our future robot overlords
The topic of robot takeover has historically been confined to the pages of science fiction books. However, it’s become an increasingly popular hypothesis in recent years as technological progress has continued at record pace. In fact, some of the brightest minds in the world are lending credence to the idea of Singularity. Both Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors, and renowned physicist Stephen Hawking have warned that an A.I.-dominated world is no longer a matter of “if”, but “when.”
Considering the vast (and frightening) consequences Singularity will have, should we really be comfortable with groups like Way to the Future delving into the arena? If the group succeeds in developing an all-powerful A.I. God, is there any scenario in which things end well for the rest of us?
Think about it: for one, they are assuming that this ultra-intelligent creation would be interested in being worshipped as a deity. Isn’t that a massive gamble? What if it has violent or insidious tendencies? At this point, it’s just as likely that an A.I. “Godhead” would see humans as an enemy; an obstacle that must be eliminated to make way for further technological expansion.
Building A God
From what little we know about Way of the Future, at first glance it may seem to be an organization that is trying in good faith to fill a spiritual gap among those who believe in a technological singularity. But where some see a quirky organization, others may just as readily see a group worshiping false (and potentially dangerous) idols.
The organization hasn’t provided further details on how things are progressing, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility of significant advancements occurring in secret. If Way to the Future gains traction, it could easily become popular enough to bring in converts from other religions.
After all, nobody wants to be on the losing side — especially when the fate of humankind is at stake.