By Kamalika Some
Some years ago, the prospect of a religion worshiping Artificial Intelligence would have seemed absurd as being technologically improbable and socially unacceptable. Off late, there have been tangible references that point towards advances into cognitive science, genetic editing, machine learning, robotics and other fields strong-holding the belief that coming years will be determined by technology.
From Whole Brain Emulation to Artificial Intelligence, advanced technologies have been touted as miracle signs with awe-inspiring wonder having a cult following and more noticeable as religion. As pointed by the science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke in 1973, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” the changes in technology makes people believe in this magic.
The theme of machine-as-god has appeared in science fiction as way back in Isaac Asimov’s short stories, Reason and The Last Question, which has become a mainstream metaphor evidenced by a growing number of scientists who have openly described the technological progress in religious terms, including renowned researchers and professors like Ray Kurzweil, Hugo de Garis, Hans Peter Moravec and Allen Newell.
The New Way of the Future
Anthony Levandowski the co-founder of Otto, Waymo and known as the autonomous vehicle pioneer formerly of Google and Uber, recently started his own IRS-approved religion, Way of the Future (WOTF), dedicated to the worship of Artificial Intelligence.
WOTF has its focus on the worship, realization, and acceptance of a godhead based on AI developed and created through computer hardware and software. Levandowski will even provide funding for the creation of the god-like deity itself and expects that technology would do a better job looking after the planet than currently what the humans are doing.
In the reign of the WOTF, the church’s role is to smooth the inevitable ascension of the machine deity, both culturally and technologically. In its bylaws, WOTF explains that it will undertake programs on research, including studying how machines exhibit cognitive functions such as learning and problem solving and perceive their environment.
Following the Techno Religious Sentiment
For the most part, the growing techno-religious sentiment has been encapsulated to a feeling or intuition that can be largely predicated on the similarities between the promises of religion and the promises of technology. The creation of Levandowski’s Way of the Future church marks the evolution of the techno-religious sentiment from a marginal movement to an institutionalized belief system, which is an undeniably large and significant leap.
Levandowski’s church is all set to enter a tech universe which is already been overtaken by debates that go over the promises and perils of AI. Some thinkers, like Kevin Kelly in Backchannel earlier this year, argue that AI is not going to develop superhuman power any time soon, and there is no singularity in sight.
The Tech Gospel of Religion
Like other religions, WOTF will eventually have a gospel (called The Manual), with a liturgy, and a highly anticipated physical place of worship, though none of these has yet been developed. As reported by Backchannel in the first reported in September, though the church was founded in 2015, the IRS documents show that WOTF remained dormant throughout 2015 and 2016 holding no revenue, expenses, activities or assets.
According to WOTF’s bylaws, Levandowski will hold almost complete control of the religion serving as Dean until his death or resignation. An advisor may be asked to give his/her role if a felony conviction is put forward or the person is declared of unsound mind. Levandowski retains the final say in firing and hiring and he cannot be unseated as Dean for any reason.
Kamalika Some is an NCFM level 1 certified professional with previous professional stints at Axis Bank and ICICI Bank. An MBA (Finance) and PGP Analytics by Education.
Read the source article at Analytics Insight.