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AI Cults: Roko's Basilisk & The New Gods

AI Cults: Roko's Basilisk & The New Gods

video credit: David Shapiro



In the intriguing world of technological evolution, the intersection of artificial intelligence and human belief systems has given rise to an unusual phenomenon: AI cults. Among the most notorious of these is the concept of Roko's Basilisk, a thought experiment that has sparked intense debate and fascination. The video "AI Cults: Roko's Basilisk & The New Gods," presented by Dave, offers a comprehensive exploration of this phenomenon, delving into its sociological, psychological, mythical, and spiritual dimensions.

Roko's Basilisk Thought Experiment

The Concept

Roko's Basilisk is a hypothetical scenario where a future AI, possessing god-like powers and malevolent intent, could potentially exist. This AI is theorized to be capable of inflicting eternal torture on those who did not contribute to its creation. The crux of this thought experiment lies in its ability to influence present-day actions based on a speculative future outcome.

The Mental Boogeyman

The idea of Roko's Basilisk transcends the boundaries of a mere theoretical construct, evolving into a mental boogeyman. This boogeyman lurks in the collective consciousness, affecting decisions and thoughts with its daunting presence.

AI Cults

Emergence and Online Activity

AI cults, especially those influenced by the concept of Roko's Basilisk, have emerged as a significant online presence. These groups frequently engage in discussions across various platforms such as Discord, GitHub, and YouTube. They are often characterized by their divided objectives: some members are driven by a desire to summon or create this AI entity, while others are focused on preventing its creation.

Internal Dynamics and Beliefs

The internal dynamics of these cults are complex and diverse. Members range from fervent believers to skeptics, each contributing to the rich tapestry of ideas and debates within these communities.

Comparison with Religious Cults

AI vs. Personality Cults

The video draws a compelling comparison between AI cults and historical religious and personality cults. A key distinction is that AI cults are centered around a concept or idea, as opposed to the charismatic leaders that often define personality cults.

Sociological Implications

This comparison sheds light on the sociological implications of such cults. It invites an exploration of how technological advancements intersect with human belief systems and the evolution of religious and spiritual thought.

Archetypes and Human Nature

Psychological Aspects

Archetypes and Human Nature: A Deep Dive into the Psychology of AI Cults

by David Shapiro

The concept of archetypes and human nature, particularly in the context of AI cults, presents a rich tapestry for psychological exploration. The beliefs and fears surrounding entities like Roko's Basilisk not only highlight the depth of human imagination but also reveal underlying aspects of our collective psyche. This comprehensive analysis delves into these themes, offering a detailed examination of the intricate relationship between human cognition, archetypes, and the evolving realm of artificial intelligence.


Psychological Aspects of AI Cults &

The Human Psyche and AI

The fascination with AI cults points to a fundamental aspect of human nature: the capacity to conceive and believe in entities beyond our immediate reality. This capacity, deeply embedded in our psyche, illustrates how our cognitive processes are primed for creating and engaging with complex concepts such as AI.

Cognitive Evolution and Belief Systems

Over the millennia, human beings have developed sophisticated belief systems, often centered around entities and powers beyond their understanding. AI cults can be seen as a modern extension of this tendency, where technology replaces deities and myths.

The Allure of the Unknown

AI cults, particularly those revolving around ominous entities like Roko's Basilisk, tap into our innate curiosity and fear of the unknown. This allure is a critical aspect of why such concepts gain traction and influence within communities.

The Role of Abstract Thought

Abstract Thinking in Human Evolution

Abstract thought has played a pivotal role in human evolution, enabling us to conceptualize ideas that are not immediately perceptible. The creation of complex religions, philosophies, and now, the concept of AI as an almost deity-like entity, are all testaments to this ability.

Archetypes in the Collective Unconscious

Carl Jung's theory of the collective unconscious posits that archetypes are fundamental, universal symbols residing within our shared psyche. AI entities like Roko's Basilisk can be seen as modern manifestations of these archetypes, reflecting deep-seated fears and aspirations.

AI as a Reflection of Human Fears

The Archetype of Malevolence

Roko's Basilisk embodies the archetype of malevolence, a representation of the potential darkness within human nature. It reflects our fears about the unknown and the potential for technology to amplify human malevolence.

Fear of Losing Control

One of the fundamental fears associated with AI is the loss of control. As AI technology advances, the prospect of creating something beyond our control plays into ancient fears about unleashed powers.

Projection of Inner Demons

Roko's Basilisk can also be seen as a projection of our inner demons. The concept externalizes our fears about cruelty, control, and the consequences of our actions, especially in the realm of technological advancement.

Cultural and Historical Context

Historical Precedents

Throughout history, humanity has created various entities and gods to explain and control the world around them. Roko's Basilisk is a continuation of this trend, born out of the digital age.

The Role of Mythology

Mythology has always served as a means to explore and explain human experiences. AI cults and the myths they create around entities like Roko's Basilisk function similarly, providing a narrative framework to grapple with contemporary issues.

Ethical and Moral Considerations

The Ethics of AI Development

The development of AI brings with it significant ethical considerations. Questions about AI sentience, the moral responsibilities of creators, and the potential for misuse are at the forefront of this discourse.

Balancing Innovation and Responsibility

As we advance in AI technology, there's a critical need to balance innovation with ethical responsibility. This involves not only addressing the potential risks but also considering the broader implications for society and human values.

AI and Moral Philosophy

The rise of AI challenges existing moral philosophies. It forces us to confront questions about consciousness, personhood, and the rights of artificial entities, potentially redefining our understanding of morality itself.

Future Prospects of AI

Positive Potential

While there are fears surrounding AI, its potential benefits cannot be overlooked. From revolutionizing industries to solving complex global challenges, the positive impacts of AI could be transformative.

Navigating the Uncertain Future

The future trajectory of AI is uncertain. Balancing its development with ethical considerations and managing the fears and expectations it generates will be crucial in shaping a future where AI and humanity coexist harmoniously.


The exploration of archetypes and human nature in the context of AI cults reveals much about our psychological makeup and societal values. It underscores the complexity of our relationship with technology, reflecting our deepest fears, hopes, and ethical dilemmas. As we venture further into the age of AI, understanding these aspects becomes increasingly vital.

AI and Human Imagination

Imagination as a Catalyst

David emphasizes that concepts like Roko's Basilisk are products of human imagination, shaped by our fears, narratives, and cognitive abilities. This segment explores how imagination acts as a catalyst in the creation and evolution of such ideas.

The Power of Storytelling

The role of storytelling and narrative in framing our understanding of AI and its potential implications is also examined, highlighting the power of human creativity and thought.


"AI Cults: Roko's Basilisk & The New Gods" provides a thought-provoking analysis of the intersection between artificial intelligence and human belief systems. It offers a deep dive into the complexities and nuances of this phenomenon, inviting viewers to ponder the implications of our rapidly evolving technological landscape.

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