Fatal Attraction By Wendy Wippel A church I visited recently, as an overture to the…
Nothing New Under the Sun
By Wendy Wipple
For those of you s who might feel that Google has not yet put its own stamp on enough of American life, you may soon be able to give the monstrosity in Mountain view, courtesy of a malcontent former employee, another chunk of your week. Specifically, Sunday. Officially Worshiping an artificially intelligent God.
Apparently, said former employee, Anthony Levandowski, has filed all documents needed in the state of California to form a nonprofit religious corporation dedicated to worshiping artificial intelligence. Levandoski even filed a mission statement:
“To develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence. and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.”
The church’s official name? “The way of the future.”
Professor Candi Cann, of Baylor University, had this to say about the possibility that your next Reverend might be a robot.
“It strikes me that Levandowski’s idea reads like a quintessential American religion. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Scientology are both distinctly American traditions that focus on very forward thinking religious viewpoints. LDS discusses other planets and extra-terrestrial life. Scientology has an emphasis on therapy and a psychological worldview, which is quite modern and forward thinking.”
(Both of these are also known to function essentially as cults—not so forward thinking—and I am not sure why believing in little green men is a plus to any system of worship, but maybe that’s just me.)
Cann also observed that Hinduism, which features avatars (Gods who come to earth in human form) would be similar to humans worshiping artificial intelligence, “In this way, I think AI can reflect the best of humans back to us, which would be, in turn, worshiped.”
Maybe that’s how the one world religion that the Scriptures predict will come together. Who knows.
But I’m thinking by that point the formally flesh and blood church itself will be watching the end of earth from the mezzanine.
(Maybe also watching “The way of the Future” and Scientology slug it out? Time will tell on that.)
Back on Earth:
Levandowski, in his role as an engineer at Google, was accused of stealing proprietary documents and using them to produce a self-driving car that he then sold to Uber for nearly a billion dollars, leaving Levandowski in a bunch of trouble. Meaning lawsuits all around.
A former colleague had this to offer regarding Levandowskis’ new endeavor:
“He had this very weird motivation about robots taking over the world — like actually taking over, in a military sense”,” “It was like [he wanted] to be able to control the world, and robots were the way to do that.”
Professor Cann, however, differs.
“For me, this is more like a new paradigm out of which new religious practices could emerge.”
Nope. That’s where she is wrong. And it proves, again, the Scriptures. There is nothing new under the sun.
God chastened Israel, in Isaiah 2:8 for exactly the same thing:
“Therefore thou hast forsaken thy people the house of Jacob, because they be replenished from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.
7 Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots:
8 Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made.
There is nothing new under the sun. Three-thousand plus years after Solomon said that there is nothing new under the sun, we’re right back where we started worshipping what our own hands made.
And I suspect that Levandowski’s interest, under the circumstances, is based more on the offering plate than in the artificial intellitence. He’ll just be the next one in line.
Under a separate (but related) headline, a note on Facebook tells us that Google’s own experimental cyborg is binge-watching human behavior on YouTube.
Well what could go wrong with that?