FREEDOM AND SAFETY
he founder of a robo-religion claims his super-intelligent system will take charge before humans set foot on Mars. Anthony Levandowski is the formerGoogle employee behind Way of the Future, aimed at developing a machine capable of leading the world through a process he refers to as the Transition.
“We’re in the process of raising a god,” Levandowski told Wired in story published Wednesday. “So let’s make sure we think through the right way to do that. It’s a tremendous opportunity.”
The Way of the Future website claims that its end goal is “a peaceful and respectful transition of who is in charge of the planet,” transitioning to a symbiotic relationship between people and machines. To achieve this goal, it plans to host research projects, feed the intelligence sets of data, and run simulations. All of this will be released open source, so others can use the underlying code.
Anthony Levandowski (far right) on a panel discussion.
It’s a project that Elon Musk has heavily criticized. The tech entrepreneur pointed to Levandowski’s proposal as evidence that he “should absolutely not be allowed to develop digital superintelligence.” Musk has talked before about how the world needs to start preparing for ultra-powerful A.I. advancements, but during a Q&A period of the ISS R&D conference in Washington, D.C. this summer, he appeared to favor a government regulatory agency rather than a big church.
Levandowski claims four people are serving as advisors on the project, including a friend from UC Berkeley. However, when contacted by Wired, the friend downplayed his involvement:
“In late 2016, Anthony told me he was forming a ‘robot church’ and asked if I wanted to be a cofounder. I assumed it was a nerdy joke or PR stunt, but I did say he could use my name. That was the first and last I heard about it.”
Quite how Levandowski’s idea will play out is unclear, but he claims that the Transition will start sooner than expected, “before we go to Mars.” Considering how Musk wants to start sending humans to Mars by 2024, it might not be that far away a date.
Artificial intelligence will colonize space before humanity.