Could AI really bring about a religious following? The writer of this article seems convinced

Worshippers belonging to AI religions could have their personal data exploited. (Shutterstock)

Revelations 13:14 “…by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth…”

Important Takeaways:

  • Gods in the machine? The rise of artificial intelligence may result in new religions
  • 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.
  • First, some people will come to see AI as a higher power
  • Generative AI that can create or produce new content possesses several characteristics that are often associated with divine beings, like deities or prophets:
    • It displays a level of intelligence that goes beyond that of most humans. Indeed, its knowledge appears limitless.
    • It is capable of great feats of creativity. It can write poetry, compose music and generate art, in almost any style, close to instantaneously.
    • It is removed from normal human concerns and needs. It does not suffer physical pain, hunger, or sexual desire.
    • It can offer guidance to people in their daily lives.
    • It is immortal.
  • Second, generative AI will produce output that can be taken for religious doctrine. It will provide answers to metaphysical and theological questions, and engage in the construction of complex worldviews.
  • AI-based religions will look different from traditional ones. First of all, people will be able to communicate directly with the deity, on a daily basis. This means these religions will be less hierarchical, since no one can claim special access to divine wisdom.

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