A former Google engineer has recently filed papers with the IRS for a new church called "Way of the Future" (WOTF), which aims to create a god based on Artificial Intelligence.
Anthony Levandowski, who is best known for helping create Google Street View and the company's self-driving car project Waymo, registered WOTF in May and named himself as the "dean" of the new church, giving him complete control until he resigns or passes away.
In the documents, the church indicated that it aims to "develop and promote the realisation of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence." It went on to say that it intends to "contribute to the betterment of society" through "understanding and worship of the Godhead."
In an interview with Wired Magazine, the engineer insisted that his decision to register WOTF as a church rather than a company or a think tank was not a prank.
"I wanted a way for everybody to participate in this, to be able to shape it. If you're not a software engineer, you can still help. It also removes the ability for people to say, 'Oh, he's just doing this to make money,'" Levandowski said.
According to Daily Mail, the church, which will have a gospel called "The Manual," has been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS in August.
Levandowski noted that WOTF will eventually have a physical place of worship, and claimed that the adherents "will be able to talk to God, literally, and know that it's listening."
He added that the followers of the new religion might even need to have their own country if they were persecuted.
The engineer said that the basis of his new religion is his allegiance to singularity — the idea that Artificial Intelligence will become so efficient that it surpasses and overpowers humans.
"If you had a child you knew was going to be gifted, how would you want to raise it?" Levandowski asked. "We're in the process of raising a god. So let's make sure we think through the right way to do that. It's a tremendous opportunity," he added.
The filings also indicated that the church plans to offer workshops and educational programs in the San Francisco area this year.
Levandowski is currently a subject of a legal battle between Waymo and Uber. The engineer was sued by Waymo for allegedly stealing self-driving car secrets before he launched his new autonomous truck company called "Otto," which was acquired by Uber in July 2016.
In May, a court ordered Uber and Levandowski to stop working on a project called "Lidar" and asked them to disclose all files related to the technology. The engineer was soon fired by Uber after he refused to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
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