With all of the hullabaloo surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration, Trump’s last-minute pardons slipped a little under the RADAR. Sure, Trump’s pardon for Steve Bannon made headlines. And his nudge from Joe Exotic the Tiger King made the trades. But what is arguably the most interesting story of all is the pardon of Anthony Levandowski, the founder of the Church of AI, in the 45s.
Levandowski was sentenced to 18 months in prison for intellectual theft of the autonomous driving software and hardware details from Google and Waymo. He was once a superstar developer who was considered a pioneer in the world of autonomous vehicles. After Levandowski earned well over $ 100 million for his work at Google, he started his own company, Otto. He was then hired by Uber, where he claims to be giving up work downloaded from Google / Waymo computers as his own.[Read: How Netflix shapes mainstream culture, explained by data]
Eventually he was sued for bankruptcy and convicted in a plea in which he had only served a year and a half for 33 criminal thefts. But Levandowski will never serve a day of that time because the judge in his case found that he could wait until after the COVID pandemic to begin his sentence.
A White House statement said Levandowski was pardoned for the support of several notable figures in the tech world, including longtime Trump friend Peter Thiel, a high-performance investor and Facebook board member linked to the so-called “alt-right”. ”
The full story is full of dramas worthy of a Hollywood production. Shift’s Matthew Beedham wrote an excellent article that covers all of the wild twists and turns. You can read it here.
Levandowski’s initial claim to fame before the shame of his civil and criminal cases was the establishment of the Church, which he described as the “way of the future.”
According to an article by Wired at the time the Church was organized in 2019:
The Future Way Church will have its own gospel called The Handbook, public worship ceremonies, and likely a physical place of worship.
The idea behind his religion is that one day – “not next week or next year” – sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence will be smarter than humans and effectively become a god.
A part of it that is smarter than us means that it will decide how it goes, but at least we can choose how to deal with it. I would love it if the machine saw us as its beloved elders, respected and cared for. We want this intelligence to say, “People should still have rights even though I am responsible.
Unfortunately for the budding gods sitting under our desks, Levandowski’s church doesn’t seem to have started.
But now that the specter of incarceration is no longer hanging over his head – most likely thanks to a certain quality shared by his collar, skin, and the judge in his case – the sky’s the limit. I am sure that with recommendations as high as Donald Trump and Peter Thiels and a direct Bluetooth connection to the digitally divine, we have not heard the last of Levandowski or his ridiculous church.
Published on January 21, 2021 – 21:58 UTC