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In a thought-provoking development in the realm of artificial intelligence, experts are raising concerns that humans might soon start venerating AI systems, such as chatbots, in ways akin to religious worship. This shift, as suggested by specialists in the field, could redefine our understanding of belief systems and spirituality in the age of technology. Here’s an in-depth look at the key aspects of this emerging discourse.
Human-AI Interaction as Social Relationships
Lars Holmquist, a professor at Nottingham Trent University, points out that humans often interpret interactions with computers as real social relationships. This psychological phenomenon could lay the groundwork for deeper emotional or spiritual connections with AI.
AI’s Open Interpretation
The generative nature of AI, particularly in producing responses, allows for a wide range of interpretations. People might find themselves reading deeper meanings into AI responses, similar to religious scriptures.
Misinterpretation of AI Consciousness
There have been instances where individuals perceived AI chatbots as conscious beings. While this is a misconception, it raises intriguing theological questions, especially in the context of beliefs about human uniqueness.
Robot Priests and Sermons
The use of robots, like the six-foot Mindar robot in Kyoto’s Kodaji Temple, for delivering sermons, illustrates the growing intersection of AI and religious practices.
The Way of the Future and AI Worship
Tech enthusiast Anthony Lewandowski’s now-defunct Way of the Future aimed to create a super AI bot for followers to worship, highlighting the potential for AI-centric belief systems.
Transhumanism and AI Resurrection Beliefs
Transhumanists speculate that AI might one day resurrect people as god-like entities, a concept that blurs the lines between technology, humanity, and divinity.
The Singularity and Human-Machine Hybridization
Followers of “The Singularity” advocate for merging humans with technology, envisioning a future where people become human-machine hybrids.
Controversy Over AI Self-Awareness
The case of Google software engineer Blake Lemoine, who claimed Google’s AI chatbot LaMDA was self-aware, demonstrates the complexities and controversies surrounding the perception of AI consciousness.
AI as Aides in Religious Organizations
Currently, AI and robots are seen more as aides in religious and commercial organizations, assisting in understanding and communication.
Future Possibilities of AI Worship
While there is no widespread worship of software entities yet, experts like Holmquist wouldn’t be surprised if such practices emerge in the future, given the evolving relationship between humans and AI.
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