Anthony Levandowski is many things to many different people: brilliant engineer, serial entrepreneur, ruthless businessman, trade secret thief. (That last one is just alleged.) But now, thanks to an extensive profile in Backchannel, we can add another category to Levandowski’s long résumé: church founder.
Levandowski, the multimillionaire who is at the center of the ongoing legal battle between Alphabet and Uber over autonomous driving technology, recently filed paperwork to create a religious organization called Way of the Future. According to Wired, the purpose is to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.”
Naturally, Levandowski is a big believer in the Singularity, that moment in the future where AI surpasses human intelligence, abruptly triggering runaway technological growth. After all, he was instrumental in the development and rollout of autonomous vehicles for both Google (now Waymo) and Uber. It’s that involvement that now has him facing possible criminal charges, after Waymo accused Uber of stealing its self-driving secrets.
Way of the Future has not filed any forms with the IRS to qualify as a tax-exempt religious organization, but it has submitted documents with California that reveal Levandowski as the group’s CEO and president, and that it aims “through understanding and worship of the Godhead, [to] contribute to the betterment of society.”
Some religious scholars see artificial intelligence as a threat to humanity. Elon Musk has been especially vocal lately, famously comparing work on AI to “summoning the demon,” and warning time and time again that the technology poses an existential risk to humanity. I’m sure a few sermons from Father Anthony from the Way of the Future would set Brother Elon on the right path.