In September of this year, Wired discovered that Anthony Levandowski, the man involved in a judicial imbroglio between Google and Uber, was trying to create a church that has a divine figure as artificial intelligence. Now they have been able to interview Levandowski about the initiative – and it seems he is serious.
Such a church is called the Way of the Future, and, at least in the record, it exists since 2015. The foundation paperwork only indicates that WOTF’s idea is “to develop and promote the attainment of a deity based on artificial intelligence, “and that she intends,” through knowledge and devotion to divinity, to contribute to the improvement of society. ”
In his conversation with Wired, Levandowski explained that he had thought of the religious format because he understood that it fit the bill. “What will be created will be a god indeed,” he said. “It’s not a god in the sense that it thunders or causes hurricanes, but if you have something a billion times smarter than the smarter human, what else can you call that?”
Those involved in the initiative intend to develop what people like Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk most oppose: an artificial intelligence capable of improving itself without any limit. After creating it, WOTF will turn that machine into divinity by hoping it will develop into something benevolent rather than killer.
“Humans are in charge of the planet because we are smarter than other animals and able to build tools and apply rules,” said Levandowski. “In the future, if something is much, much smarter, there will be a transition over who is really in charge.” What we want is a peaceful and serene transition from control of the human planet to anything. ‘understand who helped you to get involved.’
“Part of being smarter than us means [God] will decide how to evolve, but at least we can decide how we act around it,” he went on. “I would love for the machine to see us as its beloved elders whom it respects and takes care of.We would like this intelligence to say: ‘Humans should still have rights, even if I am in charge.'”
After two years of inactivity, Levandowski hopes the church will begin to take shape by the end of this year. He wrote a set of rules that define him as a kind of supreme leader – since he will hold office until he dies, can not be overthrown and will decide alone who will occupy three of the four seats on the board of the religion.
Although Levandowski seems genuinely committed to the initiative, his friend’s comment about a public relations maneuver could make some sense. The church stood by May 16 this year, a day after it received a letter from Uber threatening to fire him because of a clutter involving allegedly stolen intellectual property from Google. And now he says he wants to get the church to work by the end of the year, which is when the Uber versus Google case should be discussed in court.
These four advisers are already registered: Robert Miller and Soren Juelsgaard, Uber engineers who have been working with Levandowski for years, a scientist who has known him since his student days, and Lior Ron, who co-founded a company with Levandowski and is a director of WOTF.
But at least two of those do not seem so enthusiastic about the initiative. Ron told Wired to be “surprised” to find that his name was on the church’s register. “I have no association with this entity,” he said. The scientist friend, who asked to remain anonymous, said he was invited by Levandowski in 2016 to co-found a “church of robots”. “I understood this would be a nerd joke or a public relations trick, but I told him he could use my name. That was the first and last time I heard about it.”