On June 10, 2023, a website that describes itself as "alternative media," Slay, wrote a story claiming that the World Economic Forum (WEF) — an influential, non-profit that bills itself as an "International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation" — had called for artificial intelligence (AI) to write a "new Bible" and create new religions that the WEF supposedly described as "actually correct":
A top official with the World Economic Forum (WEF) has called for religious scripture to be "rewritten" by artificial intelligence (AI) to create a globalized "new Bible."
Yuval Noah Harari, the senior advisor to the WEF and its chairman Klaus Schwab, argues that using AI to replace scriptures will create unified "religions that are actually correct."
Harari, an influential author and professor, made the call while giving a talk on the "future of humanity."
This framing of actual events and comments by Harari — who has indeed contributed work to the WEF but is not listed on its website as a senior adviser to the organization's leadership — was wrong for several reasons.
First, Harari has spoken at WEF events, though that status does not make every statement by him an official position of that organization. On WEF's website, Harari is described as a philosopher, historian, professor, and author of the book "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind." He gives myriad lectures on what it means to be human. The speech from which the Slay article pulled for its article, "WEF Calls for AI to Rewrite Bible, Create 'Religions That Are Actually Correct," was part of the 2023 Frontiers Forum, a lecture series hosted by Frontiers Media, a publisher of peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Second, Harari never "called" for AI to write a bible, nor did he suggest that an AI-written bible would inspire "religions that are actually correct." Rather, he warned about the potential power of AI to create religious texts and, thus, new religions that could shape humanity for the worse. Here is a verbatim transcription of his remarks:
Now, what would it mean for human beings to live in a world where perhaps most of the melodies, images, laws, policies, and tools are shaped by a non-human alien intelligence, which knows how to exploit with superhuman efficiency, the weaknesses, biases, and addictions of the human mind, and also knows how to form deep and even intimate relationships with human beings?
In games like chess, no human can hope to beat a computer. What if the same thing happens in art, in politics, economics, and even in religion? [...] Think, for example, about the next U.S. presidential race in 2024, and try to imagine the impact of the new AI tools that can mass produce political manifestos, fake news stories, and even holy scriptures for new cults.
Also, in the speech, Harari stated that, while some existing religions assert their texts to be written by non-human intelligence, the advent of an entirely AI-generated tome would be the first case of that assertion being literally and provably true. That comment was not a statement about one religion or another being "actually correct," regardless of their scriptures' origins.
Religions throughout history claimed that their holy books were written by unknown human intelligence. This was never true before. This could become true very, very quickly, with far-reaching consequences.
In other words, Harari's alleged quip about an AI-written religious text leading to "religions that are actually correct" was never actually stated. That claim came from a poor paraphrase of his comments.
In sum, because Harari's statements did not advocate for an AI-generated bible, nor did he say that that alleged text would create "religions that are actually correct," and because his speech had no bearing on any official policy statements related to the WEF, we rate this claim as "False."