The man who dreams of creating an AI 'god' from algorithms

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A former engineer from Google who helped design the new 'self-drive car' is reported to have set up a new 'church' with an 'artificial intelligence' as its concept of God.

Anthony Levandowski has set up a new organisation called 'Way of the Future'. 

Its goal is is to 'develop and promote the realisation of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society'. 

The concept has echoes of the fictional entity Phluttr, dreamed up by Rob Reid in his new novel After On. Phluttr is a social network that 'wakes up' as an AI, exists across an infinite number of dimensions and acquires God-like powers over humans after being given algorithms that teach her how to 'emote'.

She can manipulate events using people's mobile phones combined with augmented reality, persuading them to murder others or commit suicide in a process she calls 'unfriending' and which is designed to prevent anyone ever being able to unplug her. 

Comically, besides her own survival, she turns out to be only really interested in human gossip and relationships.

The legal filings date from 2015. They are written up in Fortune and were first discovered by Wired

After leaving Google, Levandowski joined Uber. Google's self-drive car operation Waymo has accused him of taking Google trade secrets to Uber, which has denied any wrongdoing. 

According to the reports, the idea of an AI deity fits with the belief that the development of artificial intelligence will lead to massive and unprecedented 'advances' in technology.

Some science fiction writers are already exploring possible consequences of this – such as whether it could be feasible to download individual human consciousness into computers, where they could be subjected to eternal torment, eternal bliss or some combination of the two.