SHOT: Losing My Religion? Reflections on falling away from unbridled tech-optimism.

Chaser: Will advanced AI result in new religions?

Neil McArthur, the Director of the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, at the University of Manitoba, writes this over on StudyFinds:

We are about to witness the birth of a new kind of religion. In the next few years, or perhaps even months, we will see the emergence of sects devoted to the worship of artificial intelligence (AI).

The latest generation of AI-powered chatbots, trained on large language models, have left their early users awestruck — and sometimes terrified — by their power. These are the same sublime emotions that lie at the heart of our experience of the divine.

People already seek religious meaning from very diverse sources. There are, for instance, multiple religions that worship extra-terrestrials or their teachings.

As these chatbots come to be used by billions of people, it is inevitable that some of these users will see the AIs as higher beings. We must prepare for the implications.

Arthur C. Clarke, call your office! “In a prescient 1963 article, Clarke mentions a future situation where a scientist creates the ultimate computer. He powers the machine up and asks it a question humans have been asking since the dawn of creation: ‘Is there a God?’ The computer, after checking that its power source is independent of human controls, replies, ‘There is now.’”