Humans could soon be worshipping Artificial Intelligence as if it is “God”, according to boffins.
Experts believe people might ditch traditional religion for tech-based beliefs. They warned the responses by bots, such as ChatGPT, were luring people to seek higher meaning from them.
Lars Holmquist, a professor of design and innovation at Nottingham Trent University, said: “The results of generative AI are very open for interpretation, so people can read anything into them. Psychologists have historically proven that humans interpret their interactions with computers like real social relationships.
“So it’s very possible that people are using AI to find meaning and guidance, much like from religious scriptures, even though there may be no actual meaning there. There have also been examples of people interpreting AI chatbots as being conscious – which they most definitely are not – which raises very interesting theological issues for those who believe humans are a unique creation.”
There are already six-foot robot priests delivering sermons, such as the Mindar robot which lives in The Kodaji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. In 2015, tech boffin Anthony Lewandowski founded the now closed Way of the Future – which aimed to build a super AI bot for followers to worship.
There is also the transhumanist movement, who believe that in the future, AI may resurrect people as God-like creatures. And those who follow “The Singularity” want man to merge with tech, turning people into human-machine hybrids.
Others believe that Large Language Models, such as ChatGPT, are becoming conscious – or will do in the near future.
Google software engineer Blake Lemoine lost his job in 2022 after claiming that Google’s AI chatbot LaMDA was self-aware – claims which Google said were “wholly unfounded”.
Lars added the power of systems such as ChatGPT could result in people treating them as if they are living, which could one day lead to people worshipping them.
He added: “I think at the moment the role for AI and robots is more as an aide to existing religious organisations and churches, much like commercial companies use AI to understand and communicate with customers. I have not heard of any worship of software entities yet, but I would not be surprised if it happens in the future!” (SUN).