War of the AI Religions : Doomers vs. Accelerationists (r/acc)

AI Religion - Doomers vs. r/acc

There is a war brewing amongst the AI Technorati. It is a war beyond logic. It is a war of belief. It is a war of AI Religion — a genuine techno-jihad playing out in Silicon Valley, Washington DC, and the broader world. It is a war that, allegedly, if the popular narrative is to be believed, tore apart the highest-flying company in AI.

One side — the Accelerationist side of the AI Religion schism — believes that AI will usher in the greatest Utopia our civilization has ever witnessed: a cure for cancer, climate change solved, a post-scarcity world. Their High Priest is Marc Andreessen, legendary inventor of the Mosaic web browser, founder of Netscape, and leader of a16z, perhaps the most powerful VC firm on Sand Hill Road.

And the other, far more cautious — the “Decels” — the Terminator / Skynet crowd, those who believe that even a slightly mis-aligned AGI / ASI will mean possible extinction for humanity, or worse. Their high priest: Eliezer Yudkowsky. Who posts prolifically on LessWrong.com, and perhaps is the most well known spokesperson of the cult of Rational Altruism (RA).

This war, this deep AI Religion Rift in the community, was recently fairly well articulated by the journalists at the Verge, in their “Emergency podcast: Chaos at OpenAI” episode. The key excerpt starts at around 45:00 minutes in;

I liberally paraphrase it here:

“Ilya was the True Believer…

Ilya Sutskever burns an Effigy - AI religion is born

The Atlantic has this
incredible in-depth story on OpenAI,
that everyone should read.

…there is this scene in it…
where the OpenAI executive team
had a leadership offsite,
I think last year…

Ilya had a wooden effigy
…that he literally sets on fire
at the meeting

[He does this]
to represent non-aligned AGI
…which is, you know,

This is like the idea that
they’re creating AGI
in an unsafe way…

I mean,

It’s kind of a religious thing…
in more ways than I think people get,
[even] in the AI community…

but, yeah.

If you want to understand
[the depth and seriousness of]
the cultural divide
Within OpenAI…

This divide has become
[beyond reason, beyond logic]

…it has become fundamentally religious
…especially in the last year or so,
as the company has:

become commercialised and
driven by product and revenue,

and second,
as it has brought us
closer and closer to the
precipice of possible AGI.”

(second reporter responds:)

“Yes, our next episode
should really be entitled
“Rich people are crazy”

…because AI is now in this place
of religious fervor…

These people are actually
of the belief
that the current trajectory
of AI development
is going to give the winners
the actual power
…to destroy the universe

…and that is — no joke,
how they talk about it.

There are the sides:

the r/accs,
the Rational Accelerationists,
the Techno-Optimists

And then there are the cynics:

The Decelerationistst,
aka Decels, Doomers,
the “Slow Down!-ers”,
the “Pause it!” Crew

There is a profound schism there

…that is far beyond cultural

There is a level of religious fervor
on both sides
that is making them act
completely irrationally.

And these are the people,
who are writing the checks,
and leading the companies,
and architecting the software

that is and will become
the AI

that runs all of our lives.

BTS: making Art for the AI Religion

AI religions and AI boddhisattva

prompt1: hyper-realistic image of a glowing boddhisattva in a white robe, glowing in center of a cloudy sky, god rays emanating outwards

prompt2: please draw a political cartoon, hyper-realistic: a raging battlefield, storm clouds gathering, black army on the left with a large sign top left that reads “DOOMERS”. red army on the right with a massive sign top right reading “r/acc”

post: photoshop merge of 3 images; two images built with prompt 2: placed signs from OptionA into main image OptionB

engine: DALL-E3 by OpenAI