Will millions of people soon be looking to artificial intelligence for spiritual guidance? Such a notion may sound crazy to you, but we should not underestimate how rapidly AI is changing our world.
Earlier today, my wife showed me some of the things that ChatGPT is capable of doing. In just a matter of moments, it can produce extremely sophisticated answers to very complex questions.
Honestly, I was extremely impressed. Other AI programs are capable of producing very realistic photos, artwork and videos.
Of course what we are seeing right now is just the beginning. AI technology is advancing at an exponential rate, and given enough time it would be millions of times more powerful than it is right now.
In a previous article, I warned that this sort of technology has the potential to take over every aspect of our lives.
Sadly, that even includes religion.
On Friday, over 300 people attended a "church service" that was led by a ChatGPT chatbot...
The artificial intelligence chatbot asked the believers in the fully packed St. Paul's church in the Bavarian town of Fuerth to rise from the pews and praise the Lord.
The ChatGPT chatbot, personified by an avatar of a bearded Black man on a huge screen above the altar, then began preaching to the more than 300 people who had shown up on Friday morning for an experimental Lutheran church service almost entirely generated by AI.
During the 40 minute service, four different "avatars" appeared on the screen.
Two of them were young women, and two of them were young men.
The 29-year-old that came up with this idea said that about 98 percent of the content for the service "comes from the machine"...
The 40-minute service - including the sermon, prayers and music - was created by ChatGPT and Jonas Simmerlein, a theologian and philosopher from the University of Vienna.
"I conceived this service - but actually I rather accompanied it, because I would say about 98% comes from the machine," the 29-year-old scholar told The Associated Press.
In this case, ChatGPT was asked to contribute to a Christian worship service, and that is definitely very creepy.
But of course it is probably just a matter of time before entirely new religions are created by artificial intelligence.
In fact, the WEF's Yuval Noah Harari seems to think that we are already "on the verge" of seeing that happen...
The world is on the verge of a new religion created by artificial intelligence, the historian Yuval Noah Harari has claimed.
The academic - known for his bestselling book Sapiens - said software such as ChatGPT could attract worshippers by writing its own sacred texts.
Speaking at a science conference, he said AI had crossed a new frontier by 'gaining mastery' of our language and was now capable of using it to shape human culture.
You and I may think that this is a load of nonsense, but the truth is that there are millions of people out there that already believe some really strange things.
For example, this week I read about something called "the Church of Psilomethoxin" that already has several hundred followers...
A motley assemblage of army veterans, yogis, and psychonauts are mingling in April in the garden of a luxury property just outside Austin, Texas, on the hottest day of the year yet in the state. Some 350 people are here to dance to ambient music and celebrate a unique new religious congregation that worships with a psychedelic sacrament - one they claim to have created themselves by crossbreeding magic mushrooms with hallucinogenic toad venom. Welcome to the Church of Psilomethoxin.
If a "superhuman intelligence" were to create an extremely appealing new "religion" that reflects the cultural values that are currently dominant in our society, I could see a lot of people being attracted to it.
The WEF's Yuval Noah Harari believes that "in a few years there might be religions that are actually correct", and he is convinced that AI could even be used to "write a new Bible"...
Harari then dropped a bomb: "AI can create new ideas; [it] can even write a new Bible."
He added that "throughout history, religions dreamt about having a book written by a superhuman intelligence, by a non-human entity" and that "in a few years there might be religions that are actually correct ... just think about a religion whose holy book is written by an AI. That could be a reality in a few years."
If millions of people around the globe started looking to a "superhuman intelligence" to shape their core beliefs, the potential for abuse would be off the charts.
Whoever was in control of that "superhuman intelligence" would potentially have an army of adherents ready and willing to do whatever they were commanded.
It would be difficult for me to overstate the danger that AI poses for our society.
In the wrong hands, such technology could result in death and destruction on an epic scale.
Last month, a group of AI scientists signed a statement warning about "the risk of extinction from AI", but it was almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media...
On May 30, a research organization called the Center for AI Safety released a 22-word statement signed by a number of prominent "AI scientists," including Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI; Demis Hassabis, the CEO of Google DeepMind; and Geoffrey Hinton, who has been described as the "godfather" of AI. It reads:
Mitigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.
This statement made headlines around the world, with many media reports suggesting that experts now believe "AI could lead to human extinction," to quote a CNN article.
Given enough time, artificial intelligence would change our society in ways that we cannot even imagine right now.
But will we ever get to that stage?
The truth is that we have reached an absolutely critical turning point in our history, and humanity is rapidly running out of time.
Some people believe that artificial intelligence will save us from ourselves and will help to usher in a new golden age of peace and prosperity.
Others are entirely convinced that artificial intelligence has the potential to greatly contribute to the fall of humanity.
Either way, the pace of change is only going to accelerate in the years ahead.
We are moving into times that will truly look like something out of a science fiction movie, and I would suggest that is not good news at all.