There’s plenty of weird-ass stories out of Silicon Valley, from microdosing to mountain cults to rollerblades in business meetings. But worshipping A.I. gods when the singularity comes? Somehow, that makes robot cars seem innocent by comparison.
I bring this up because Anthony Levandowski, the former Uber engineer and possible evil genius accused by Google’s self-driving car operation Waymo of stealing tech files and giving them to Uber—leading to a high-profile lawsuit—also founded a new religious organization years ago, according to a new profile in Backchannel, a digital magazine published on Wired.
The religion’s intent is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.” It’s called Way of the Future.
Levandowski founded the religion in 2015, though it’s unclear if it went beyond some state filings, or even just the idea of it.
Way of the Future has not yet responded to requests for the forms it must submit annually to the Internal Revenue Service (and make publically [sic] available), as a non-profit religious corporation. However, documents filed with California show that Levandowski is Way of the Future’s CEO and President, and that it aims “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society.”
A divine AI may still be far off, but Levandowski has made a start at providing AI with an earthly incarnation. The autonomous cars he was instrumental in developing at Google are already ferrying real passengers around Phoenix, Arizona, while self-driving trucks he built at Otto are now part of Uber’s plan to make freight transport safer and more efficient.
Way of the Future! A religion for people who welcome our machine overlords. I never dreamed as a young man, worshiping a Christian, god that as an adult my religious menu would expand to be something like Twitter!
Best for you to join now, obviously, so that, maybe, you won’t be first against the wall when the robots reign.
Go to Backchannel to read the whole profile, it’s a good read.