American writer Hugh Howey told in April 2023 how he inspired ChatGPT to invent a new religion. The online chatbot returned a very complete answer, with the key “ten commandments”.
“Harmonism” has at least two followers. The writer Hugh Howey and his wife have recently identified themselves as followers of the new religion.
The latter is the result of a “conversation” between the ChatGPT software and the American science fiction author. “Based on your knowledge of all the religions of the world, I would like you to create a whole new belief system,” he asked ChatGPT, reports the computer news website. numerama.
Hugh Howey instructed the algorithm to develop myths about the creation of the universe, earth, and humanity, as well as a system of ethics and morals with ten founding commandments. He finally inserted the request for a name to designate this current, as well as “anything you want to add (customs, festivals, clothes, sayings, hymns, it would be wonderful)”.
The chatbot produced a very thorough response, notes numerama, filling in every box required by the writer. He thus proposed for the name of the religion “harmonism”. Then he delivered, as requested, three original stories. Regarding the origin of the universe, the algorithm notably produced the following text: “In the beginning, there was a vast silent expanse of nothingness. From this nothingness emerged a unique and harmonious sound, Cosmic Harmony. This sound resonated and expanded, creating different frequencies and vibrations that gave birth to the universe.”
ChatGPT further described the 10 commandments of Harmonism, different uses and customs of this religion, types of clothes worn by followers, as well as sayings, sentences, a sacred hymn, tales and legends.
No “believing robots” yet
Hugh Howey assured that he was conquered by the answers of the conversational agent, which he considers brilliant from every point of view. “In fact, having no other affiliation, Shay [son épouse] and I decided to adopt Harmonism after reading ChatGPT’s answer,” he added in an April 8, 2023 post on his blog.
Results that numerama does indeed consider as “impressive”, but which he is keen to qualify: “An artificial intelligence, even efficient, is not capable of creativity: it is a question of the synthesis of a learning process, based on the information available. In fact, no doubt ChatGPT is the synthesis of modern spiritual movements, in the West, which are inspired by Eastern religions (Taoism, Buddhism, etc.), through increasingly fashionable practices such as yoga and meditation. Notions like ‘harmony’ and ‘zen’ are very present there, which could feed the algorithm in this direction”.
numerama furthermore does not consider that the ins and outs of the chatbot proposal are particularly original. “So rest assured, we are still far from believing robots, like in Battlestar Galactica”, concludes the specialized website. (cath.ch/numerama/rz)
© Catholic Media Center Cath-Info, 08.05.2023
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