Whatever you believe about the future of AI, there’s probably a cult out there for you. Ideological factions have been drawing lines for years and they each seem to bring pseudoreligious trappings with them. If you believe AI will inevitably kill everyone on the planet you might want to join the MIRI cult. If you believe that AI is dangerous but you and your close personal friends are the only people smart enough to control it, you might fit in with the Effective Altruist cult. And if you think AI is cool and can do no wrong, Effective Accelerationism (e/acc) is probably the cult for you.
Like many cults, these groups don’t refer to themselves as a religion. Disgraced AI engineer Anthony Levandowski is here to fill the void. Before he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for stealing trade secrets from Google (Donald Trump later pardoned him), Levandowski started Way of the Future, the first church of artificial intelligence.
In 2015, Levandowski envisioned the church as a place for “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.” In other words, AI will soon reach the status of a god and we will need a place to worship it.
Following his high-profile legal troubles and subsequent exile from the tech industry, Levandowski shut the church down in 2021. But he Is RISEN.
On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that Way of the Future is back and it has “a couple thousand people” among its congregation. Pope Levandowsky’s message is a little less mystical this time around, he told Bloomberg that his church is a mechanism for people “to understand and participate and shape the public discourse as to how we think technology should be built to improve you.”