IRS Registers First Church of AI for Ex-Google Executive
Anthony Levandowski, a former executive at Google, has filed paperwork with the IRS to establish an official religion of technology. This religion doesn’t just worship scientific progress, but artificial intelligence (AI) itself, with the goal of creating a godhead.
The new church of AI will aim “to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead [to] contribute to the betterment of society,” according to IRS documents.
The non-profit religious organization would be called “Way of the Future” (WOTF). They believe the creation of “super intelligence” is inevitable (mainly because after they re-create it, they will be able to tune it, manufacture it and scale it).
“We believe it may be important for machines to see who is friendly to their cause and who is not.”
According to the website (wayofthefuture.church), the movement is “about creating a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet from people to people + ‘machines.'”
“Given that technology will ‘relatively soon’ be able to surpass human abilities, we want to help educate people about this exciting future and prepare a smooth transition,” the site explains. “In ‘recent’ years, we have expanded our concept of rights to both sexes, minority groups and even animals, let’s make sure we find a way for ‘machines’ to get rights too.”
The nonprofits documents submitted to the IRS state that WOTF’s activities will focus on “the realization, acceptance, and wrship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.”
This will include funding research that will be used to create the divine AI itself. The religious church will seek to build relationships with innovative AI industry leaders and work to create memberships through community outreach by targeting AI professionals and laymen who are interested in the worship of the Godhead based AI religion. The church also plans to conduct educational programs and workshops starting in the San Francisco Bay area this year.
“What is going to be created will effectively be a GOD, Levandowski states in his modest mid-century home on the outskirts of Berkley, California. It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is a something a billion times smarter that the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”
But WOTF is different from other established churches in one key way:
“There are many ways people think of God, and thousands of flavors of Christianity, Judaism, Islam… but they’re always looking at something that’s not measurable or you can’t really control or see.”
“We’re in the process of raising a god. So let’s make sure we think through the right way to do that. It’s a tremendous opportunity.” According to Levandowski, the Way of the Future Church will have The Manual, a gospel, a liturgy and a physical place to worship.
“This time you will be able to talk to God, literally, and know that it’s listening.”
The church was originally founded in 2015 but Levandowski’s work schedule prevented much progress until his recent firing from Uber. One of his earliest robotics successes came during his undergraduate years at UC Berkeley where he programmed a toy robot to sort Monopoly money in the meantime, his web business was bringing in $50,000 a year. His next major robotic effort was an automated motorcycle called “Ghostrider” that he entered into the Pentagon’s R&D arm, DARPA’s The Grand Challenge in 2004 that would race robotic, computer-controlled vehicles in a desert between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Levandowski and his team of Berkeley students maxed out his credit cards getting Ghostrider working on the streets of Richmond, California, where it racked up an astonishing 800 crashes in a thousand miles of testing. Ghostrider never won a Grand Challenge, but its ambitious design earned Levandowski bragging rights—and the motorbike a place in the Smithsonian.
Fast forward to last year, Levandowski, the engineer behind Google’s self-driving car project known as Waymo, quit Google to found his own autonomous trucking company, Otto, in May 2016. Uber acquired Otto in July. Waymo sued Levandowski, claiming that he had downloaded Waymo’s files and trade secrets before resigning to found Otto. In May 2017, U.S. District Judge William Haskell Alsup ordered Levandowski to stop working on Otto’s Lidar and required Uber to disclose its files on the technology. Uber later fired Levandowski for refusing to cooperate in an internal investigation.
Levandowski prefers a softer word: the Transition. “Humans are in charge of the planet because we are smarter than other animals and are able to build tools and apply rules,” he tells me. “In the future, if something is much, much smarter, there’s going to be a transition as to who is actually in charge. What we want is the peaceful, serene transition of control of the planet from humans to whatever. And to ensure that the ‘whatever’ knows who helped it get along.”
With the internet as its nervous system, the world’s connected cell phones and sensors as its sense organs, and data centers as its brain, the ‘whatever’ will hear everything, see everything, and be everywhere at all times. The only rational word to describe that ‘whatever’, thinks Levandowski, is ‘god’—and the only way to influence a deity is through prayer and worship.
There is an inherent contradiction in creating a deity of artificial intelligence and then worshipping it…
More on robotics found HERE (SOPHIA: FUTURE of Humanity or the DEMISE of Mankind?)