One of Donald Trump’s last acts as US president was to pardon Anthony Levandowski, a former Google engineer who faced 18 months for being caught with his fingers in the intellectual till.

Citing the judge at the time calling him a “brilliant, groundbreaking engineer that our country needs” – albeit also saying he’s responsible for “the biggest trade secret crime I have ever seen” – the White House’s primary reason for letting Levandowski off appears to be his reputation as one of Silicon Valley’s oft-proclaimed geniuses.

That sounds like a worrying message to send out at the best of times, let alone regarding the founder of a religion with the sole aim to “develop and promote the realisation of a godhead based on artificial intelligence”.

It might be uncharacteristically subtle, but this could one day be looked back on as Trump’s final, devastating blow to civilisation: aiding and abetting this crook, a character deemed too much of a nut for even Elon Musk’s taste, to rise up and become the Joseph Smith of the self-driving car age, the creator of an AI god you just know will big up its dad with all the reverence of Thomas Müller discussing Levandowski’s near-namesake.

If he’s so smart, by the way, what’s he doing stealing ideas from a search engine? All you have to do is ask.

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