Self-driving-car engineer starts religion in which AI is god

Avatar By Zoe Poindexter | 3 years ago

A former Google engineer at the center of a legal tussle between Uber and Waymo over self-driving car technology has declared a new religion centered on the worship of robots. Anthony Levandroski, who testified in court this year over technology secrets he allegedly took from Waymo and gave to Uber, has appointed himself “dean” of Way of the Future, an order dedicated to “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence developed through computer hardware and software,” according to IRS filings.

His religion’s founding principle is that computers will become so much smarter than humans that they will be worthy of worship. And it will be in our interests to worship them, he reasons: If we do, they might treat us more kindly when we become their slaves.

“What is going to be created will effectively be a god,” Levandroski said. “It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lighting or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”

Levandroski worked for Waymo until leaving to start his own self-driving car company, Otto. Uber bought Otto and brought Levandroski onto its team, and Waymo sued, alleging that Levandroski had taken thousands of pages of trade secrets when he left Waymo and unlawfully shared those secrets with Uber.

The two companies faced off in pretrial hearings from February through November 2017 and will likely go to trial next month. Uber fired Levandroski in May.

Levandroski said that his new religion will engage in AI research and self-driving car development. Anything its followers develop, it will make freely available to the public, he said.