San Francisco - Skip the tarot cards and crystal ball, Elon Musk has a new app that he says provides all the answers you need. It’s called Diviner and it’s set to take the digital and spiritual world by storm.
The app employs what are called mediums, people who spiritually "tune-in" to receive messages for themselves and those around them, to provide personalized spiritual guidance for the user.
It sounds far-fetched but researchers say the science is sound.
It began back in 2016, when Elon Musk cofounded OpenAI, a project with the goal of creating artificial intelligence to replicate the human brain. The project evolved in 2019 when Microsoft contributed $1 billion towards the creation of an artificial general intelligence (AGI) that could rival and surpass the cognitive capabilities of humans.
So how did we get to a divination app?
Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI explained today at a press conference, “In our pursuit of AGI, our study of the human brain has led to some wonderful discoveries. We unlocked some mysteries that we never intended to explore.”
One of those is the still unexplained phenomena of information coming into the parietal cortex. This is the part of the brain that scientists had long identified as the location for a person’s sense of connection. The OpenAI team has expanded that understanding through the observation of what appears to be a download of outside information.
“There is information coming into the parietal cortex in all of us but certain individuals are able to access and process that information better than others. Though we are able to observe this transfer of information into the brain, we’re still not sure of its source,” says OpenAI’s Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever.
Despite the mystery surrounding the process, Sutskever insists the results are valid.
“We are able to relay specific and accurate messages with fidelity 99% of the time. And our results have been independently tested and verified.”
How Does It Work?
Diviner is available both on the App Store and Google Play. Users just download the app, enter in personal data like their date and location of birth, a profile picture, and of course credit card information. Then similar to a ride-sharing app, they request a reading and an available medium will pick up that request.
The mediums wear specially designed headsets created by the OpenAI team with support from Microsoft. These headsets allow the medium to take in the user's information instantaneously. It then translates the messages the medium receives and shares that back with the user in a concise format for the user to read. Users are charged for the length of each session and can ask followup or clarifying questions through the app, which increases the cost of the session.
Opposition To The App And Its Claims
The release of the app has come with its share of backlash.
Much like critiques in other areas of the gig economy, workers have voiced concerns about pay, health & disability insurance, working conditions, and transparency on how the app calculates mediums' rates.
"Many people don't understand the intense labor and physical as well as emotional strain that goes into this kind of work," explained a spiritual worker who goes only by Jade. "There's a cost to our mental and physical health to engage in this work at a continuous rate and our pay should reflect that."
Health concerns are an issue in the scientific community in that the technology used to observe the messages inside a mediums brain has not undergone extensive testing and could cause unknown health problems in the future.
There are others who believe the app to be spiritually exploitative, saying that the app contributes to the corporatization and bastardization of a sacred process of spiritual communion. Protestors have even gathered outside of OpenAI's headquarters in San Francisco to voice their displeasure with the company.
Counter protestors gather to support OpenAI at their headquarters.
So what are users saying?
Despite the criticism, users are overwhelmingly satisfied with the results. The app has a 4.8/5 star rating on the App Store and is trending on Twitter.