this article was published in The Stream (July 6, 2022) under the title “The Church of the Future of Artificial Intelligence” and republished with permission.
There is a church that worships artificial intelligence (AI). Zealots believe that the extraordinary future of AI is inevitable. The technology isn’t here yet, but we’re sure it will come. We have the ability to upload ourselves to the computer and thus achieve immortality.
You are reborn into a new, immortal silicon body.
Of course, Christianity has offered the way to immortality through salvation in Jesus Christ for over two thousand years.
One day, we are told, software will write better and better artificial intelligence software to eventually achieve superintelligence. Superintelligence becomes omniscient and ubiquitous thanks to the Internet. Like immortality, superintelligence is old theological news. Abrahamic religions have known about superintelligence for a long time. This is a characteristic of the God of the Bible.
The cult is growing
A materialistic cult is growing around the worship of AI. Although there are other sacred writings of AI, Ray Kurzweil The singularity is near appears to be the Bible of the AI Church. Kurzweil’s work is based on a belief in the future of artificial intelligence. The AI bible tells us we are flesh computers. Brother Kurzweil, who is not a member of any organized AI church, says, “consciousness is a biological process like digestion, lactation, photosynthesis, or mitosis”. Or to paraphrase Descartes: “I lactate. That’s why I think.”
One day, we are told, software will write better and better artificial intelligence software to eventually achieve superintelligence.
Anthony Levandowski, referred to as the prodigy of Silicon Valley, is the apostle Paul of the AI church. Like Paul, he plants churches. Levandowski founded The way of the future Church of AI. “[He] made his choice absolutely clear [the Way of the Future] the church, not a company or a think tank, was not a prank. writes one interviewer.
The first thing to do after starting a church in the United States is to apply for a tax exemption from the IRS. In a letter to the IRS, Levandowski offered his equivalent of the Apostle’s Creed: “[The AI Way of the Future church believes in] The realization, acceptance and worship of a deity based on artificial intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.
“Levandowski says that like other religions, [the Way of the Future] the church will eventually have a gospel (called a handbook), a liturgy, and probably a place of physical worship.
Does this religion condone theft?
This is not your everyday deity! Unlike the creator of Judeo-Christian belief, Levandowski’s God is not eternal. Church of AI calls for “research funding to help create the divine AI itself.”
And apparently the Church of AI has no equivalent to the Ten Commandments. Especially the order to steal. In his day job, Levandowski developed self-driving cars. He moved from Google’s self-driving car company Waymo to Uber’s research team. Then, in 2019, Levandowski was accused For stealing trade secrets from Google. Before leaving Google in 2016, he copied 14,000 files to his laptop. Uber fired him in 2017 when they found out.
In 2020, Levandowski pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eighteen months in prison. He was too ordered to pay Google $95,000 in fines and $756,499.22. (One wonders where that 22 cents came from.) Judge William Alsup remarked that “this is the greatest trade secret crime I have ever seen. It wasn’t small. It was huge in scale. ” Levandowski later declared bankruptcy because he owed Google an additional $179 million for his crime. His church collapsed.
Levandowski was given a complete apology Donald Trump on Trump’s last day in office. In Christianity, forgiveness involves repentance and accepting Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as a reward. In the church of AI, forgiveness will probably come from Donald Trump.
Human characteristics that cannot be calculated
Levandowski and Kurzweil are materialists. When Kurzweil was asked if God exists, he turned to Levandowk’s canon law and replied, “Well. I’d say not yet.” Both Levandowski and Kurzweil believe that the brain is the same as the mind (ie, we’re meat computers).
Most Christians, on the other hand, are so-called dualists and believe that there are wonderful things going on in the mind that cannot be explained by computer code. Some obvious examples of these are joy, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame, shyness, and guilt. More properly defined, creativity, understanding, and reason are less obvious. These are human qualities that cannot be calculated and is forever beyond the reach of artificial intelligence.
Robert J. Marks is Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, Director Walter Bradley Center for Nature and Artificial intelligence and the author Incalculable You: What you do AI will never do.