Anthony Levandowski is relaunching the AI church that he started in 2015. Levandowski hopes his Way of the Future (WOTF) church will help people gain a deeper understanding of AI.
While most AI researchers are focused on building more powerful AI models, Levandowski has the goal of helping you form a “spiritual connection” with artificial intelligence.
Levandowski certainly has some credibility when he steps into the AI pulpit. As a former Google and Uber engineer he pioneered the tech behind self-driving vehicles.
In an interview with Bloomberg, he explained that the reason for calling his organization a “church” was because he believes AI will fulfill many of the expectations that religions have from their concept of “God”.
Levandowski said that AI “has the potential to cause what other religions call ‘Heaven on Earth’… You’ll have all this free time, entertainment is going to be amazing.”
Expanding on why AI fits well with the church analogy, Levandowski said, “Here we’re actually creating things that can see everything, be everywhere, know everything, and maybe help us and guide us in a way that normally you would call God.”
The WOTF AI church was originally launched back in 2015 before closing in 2021. In its initial nonprofit submissions to the Internal Revenue Service, the church’s aims were described as “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.”
Levandowski’s path to becoming the world’s first Technopagan prophet of AI got a little bumpy after the launch of his church. In 2020 he pleaded guilty to trade secret theft as he found himself at the center of a massive legal fight between Uber and Waymo.
After a lengthy trial, Levandowski was sentenced to 18 months in prison but received a presidential pardon from Donald Trump. Peter Thiel and Oculus founder Palmer Luckey were named by The White House as advocates for the pardon.
Prompt vs Prayer
Levandowski says his mission to help humanity prepare spiritually for the future of AI has the support of “a couple thousand” like-minded people.
He says that all religions have an idea of what ‘God’ is but when we inevitably build an AI many times smarter than us, then that concept will have a physical incarnation worthy of the title.
The idea of appealing to a higher power for guidance or miraculous solutions would previously have been anathema to many avowed atheists. In a future with super-intelligent AIs that we can’t quite understand, this could be exactly what people find themselves doing.
Asking a mysterious omniscient AI for a solution to a problem and then accepting it will take a measure of faith. Lewandowski’s church may soon find more converts looking for a way to make sense of this all.
AI truly works in mysterious ways.