Warm-up Question: When it comes to new technology are you an early, mid or late adopter? How do you respond to new technology?
The Advance of Technology
Charles H. Duell, the director of the U.S. Patent office, talking about how many technological inventions has been created, was once quoted as saying, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” Can you believe he said that in the year 1899? Then there was Robert Milliken, Nobel Prize winner in physics, who said in 1923, “There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.” Another was Lord Kelvin, president of England’s Royal Society (a scientific organization), he noted in 1885, “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.”
I remember in the 1990s, when mobile phones came to the stores, thinking that this idea would never catch on. Why on earth would someone pay mega sums of money to carry a massive phone around on them like they were doing? How wrong could I get? Of course, we have a much smaller and smarter version now. The cell phone of today is virtually unrecognizable from the version first presented and marketed to the general public in 1987. The speed of technological change has been so fast it seems difficult for some of us to keep up. Many opt out completely. I still have no way to communicate with some people from my past in England, except through a “snail mail” letter that takes a week to get there. Some people feel uncomfortable with email or social media. See? Even our words have had to change. We have to create new catch phrases or words (snail mail), or even acronyms to explain and accommodate the technological changes. It is interesting to consider how the increase and advance of information, innovation, and technology is changing our lives at breakneck speed. And it causes us to think what changes are we likely to see in the next twenty years or the next fifty? What will life be like for my grandchildren? The speed of technological change in the last days is something that was spoken about 2,500 years ago by the prophet Daniel:
3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. 4But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased (Daniel 12:3-4 KJV).
Some time ago, I was invited to go with a friend to shoot some rifles at clay targets, or skeet’s, as most people know them. It took a bit of time getting used to shooting at them because I kept shooting at the target as I saw it. The problem was that the skeet wasn’t standing still when I fired my shotgun; it was moving through the air at quite a speed. I learned that I had to fire ahead of the target to be able to shoot it down. When companies on the cutting edge are planning a new device such as a new phone; imagine the iPhone 07 for example, (just how many of these will they come up with?), they have to start thinking in terms of where technology will be at the point where they want the iPhone 07 to come out onto the market. Why? Because there is no point in starting to design an iPhone 07 based on where technology is right now. It would be like me, shooting at those skeets’ and missing the target. They have to take into consideration Moore’s law, or else they will be pitifully behind the goal when they put it on the market.
Moore’s law—what is it? Gordon E. Moore, the co-founder of Intel Corp, writing in his 1965 paper about the pace of change in technology, said that the number of transistors one can put on a microchip double about every eighteen months to two years. In 1970 just over one thousand transistors could be put on a chip, whereas in January 1995 the Digital Alpha 21164 microprocessor, held to be the marvelous technological breakthrough ever, had 9.3 million transistors. Six years later a microprocessor contained more than 40 million transistors. It is theorized that with further miniaturization, by 2015 there should include over 15 billion transistors on a single microprocessor in molecular level production. Technology is changing at an exponential rate.
The Approaching Singularity
Several months ago, I came across an article in Time Magazine about the coming Singularity. Some of you may not be familiar with the term Singularity as it relates to technology, so let me explain; Lev Grossman, the person who wrote the article, was sharing the thoughts of Ray Kurzweil, a computer scientist, inventor, futurist, and also a director of engineering at Google. Kurzweil wrote a book called The Singularity is Near. I quote from Lev Grossman’s Time article:
“Kurzweil believes that we’re approaching a moment when computers will become intelligent, and not just intelligent but more intelligent than humans. When that happens, humanity — our bodies, our minds, our civilization — will be completely and irreversibly transformed. He believes that this moment is not only inevitable (certain to happen, unavoidable) but also imminent (about to happen). According to his calculations, the end of human civilization, as we know it, is about 35 years away. Computers are getting faster. Everybody knows that. Also, computers are getting faster faster — that is, the rate at which they’re getting faster is increasing. True? True.
So if computers are getting so much faster, so incredibly fast, there might conceivably come a moment when they are capable of something comparable to human intelligence, artificial intelligence or what is known as artilect. All that horsepower could be put in the service of emulating whatever it is our brains are doing when they create consciousness — not just doing arithmetic very quickly or composing piano music but also driving cars, writing books, making ethical decisions, appreciating fancy paintings, making witty observations at cocktail parties.
If you can swallow that idea, and Kurzweil and a lot of other brilliant people can, then all bets are off (impossible to say how a particular situation will develop. This election year all bets are off. No one knows what’s going to happen). From that point on, there’s no reason to think computers would stop getting more powerful. They would keep on developing until they were far more intelligent than we are. Their rate of development would also continue to increase because they would take over their own development from their slower-thinking human creators. Imagine a computer scientist that was itself a super-intelligent computer. It would work incredibly quickly. It could draw on huge amounts of data effortlessly. It wouldn’t even take breaks to play online games.
It’s impossible to predict the behavior of these smarter-than-human intelligences with which (with whom?) we might one day share the planet because if you could, you’d be as smart as they would be. But there are a lot of theories about it. Maybe we’ll merge with them to become super-intelligent cyborgs, using computers to extend our intellectual abilities the same way that cars and planes extend our physical abilities. Maybe the artificial intelligence will help us treat the effects of old age and prolong our life spans indefinitely. Perhaps we’ll scan our consciousnesses into computers and live inside them as software, forever, virtually. Maybe the computers will turn on humanity and annihilate us. The one thing all these theories have in common is the transformation of our species into something that is no longer recognizable as such to humanity circa 2011. This transformation has a name: The Singularity.
The difficult thing to keep sight of when you’re talking about the Singularity is that even though it sounds like science fiction, it isn’t, no more than a weather forecast is science fiction. It’s not a fringe idea; it’s a serious hypothesis about the future of life on Earth.”
Now, by quoting a magazine article such as this, I am not in any way saying that I would agree with or support such ideas. Frankly, the view of a new and “improved” humanity, (“humanity 2.0”) as some people refer to it, makes me shudder. However, I also believe that we should be aware of the things that some people are proposing and working towards. Someone who does not see or acknowledge the spiritual component of humanity may view the transformation of our species only as a positive thing. The idea presents many ethical and moral dilemmas, which have been voiced by church leaders and even those in the scientific community who have ethical misgivings about such advances. You may think; “God will never let it happen.” I am not sure how far it will be allowed to proceed; however, there are many things we could say the same thing about if we were to be able to go back in time and view our present world from a worldview lens, of say, just a mere 200 years ago.
Here in 2014, we are building things with nanotechnology. What is nanotechnology, you say? K. Eric Drexler was the man who popularized the word nanotechnology in the 1980s. He talked about building machines at the molecular level, motors, robot arms or even whole computers far smaller than a single cell. Nanotechnology is so new; no one is sure where it is going. With nanotechnology scientists can now build things from the ground up, from the sub-atomic level, where it cannot be seen, reproducing things like diamonds, food and anything we want. To understand the smallness of what we are talking about, a centimeter is one-hundredth of a meter, a millimeter is one-thousandth of a meter, and a micrometer is one-millionth of a meter, but all of these are huge compared to the Nanoscale. A nanometer (nm) is one billionth of a meter, smaller than the wavelength of visible light and a hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair. There are now companies that are constructing things with nanotechnology, such as IBM Zurich’s Research laboratory which has 3,500 employees in eight labs worldwide, working on nanoscience, future chip technology, supercomputing, advanced storage and server technologies amongst many other things. Nanotechnology is expanding at an exponential rate.
Nanotechnology has already made advances in science and medicine possible. What concerns, if any, do you have about this type of technology? Where do you think it could be heading?
Ray Kurzweil in his book, The Singularity is Near, says:
“The impending Singularity in our future is a period during which the pace of technological change will be so rapid, its impact so deep, that human life will be irreversibly transformed…The key idea underlying the impending Singularity is that the rate of change of human-created technology is accelerating and its powers are expanding at an exponential pace. Exponential growth is deceptive. It starts almost imperceptibly and then explodes with unexpected fury.”
Then there are also knowledge explosions in the exploration of DNA. Begun formally in 1990, with a budget granted that was more than that spent on getting to the moon and back, the Human Genome project was an effort coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy and was projected to take 15 years, but because of the rapid technological advances was finished two years early in 2003. What is a Genome? And why is it essential to our future? A genome is the entire DNA in an organism, including its genes. Genes carry information for making all the proteins required by all organisms. These proteins determine, among other things, how the organism looks, how well its body metabolizes food or fights infection, and sometimes how it behaves. We can genetically modify food and have been doing it for some time. In this country (USA) we are not told on the label whether or not it is GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) food, whereas in Europe they are required to do so by law.
Along with the ability to change structures at the genetic level and to build things with Nano-technology, many other technologies are all coming together at once. When the Singularity arrives, which is supposed to be sometime between 2030 and 2045, we are about to enter that era when, as Tom Horn, the writer of the book Forbidden Gates says:
“…the trend toward smaller and smaller technologies will yield greater-than-human machine intelligence. That sort of super-intelligence will proliferate not by self-replication, but by building other agents with even greater intelligence than itself, which will, in turn, build more superior agents. The result will be an “intelligence explosion” so fast and so vast that the laws and certainties with which we are familiar will no longer apply. That event-horizon is called the Singularity. Our version 1.0 natural bodies are frail and subject to a myriad of failure models. The Singularity will allow us to transcend these limitations…we will gain power over our fates. Our mortality will be in our own hands, and the nonbiological portion of our intelligence will be trillions of trillions of times more powerful than unaided human intelligence.
We are now in the early stages of this transition. The acceleration of change is causing a paradigm shift [a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions]…as well as the exponential growth of the capacity of information technology is both beginning to reach the “knee of the curve,” which is the stage at which an exponential trend becomes noticeable. Shortly after this stage, the trend becomes explosive. Soon the growth rates of our technology—which will be indistinguishable from ourselves—will be so steep as to appear essentially vertical. The Singularity will represent the culmination of the merger of our biological thinking and existence with our technology, resulting in a world that transcends our biological roots. There will be no distinction, post Singularity, between human and machine.”
Trans Humanism—the Future Homo Sapiens 2.0
The new field of technology that is happening right now, in our lifetime, is Transhumanism. Transhumanism is a cultural phenomenon. Did you know that if you were to search Transhumanism on Google, you’d come up with 1,670,000 pages! It is about the efforts to change the human species to be what some would like it to be—Homo Sapiens 2.0. It is humanity re-designing humanity, and there are many brilliant minds today working towards this end. Some would consider it to be a vast improvement to our present human state with all its limitations. Again, I am not saying that I agree with this in any way, only that serious thought is being spent on this idea (as well as billions of dollars of money spent by governments and in the private sector in various countries). Technological Singularity brings with it the ability to combine our natural biological bodies with machines. With the mapping out of DNA, scientists can now merge DNA from animals to humans, and human DNA to animals. DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency here in the USA, has been given billions of dollars to research altering the genetic code of soldiers, modifying bits of DNA to fashion a new type of human specimen. A new kind of human, if one can still call it human, that functions like a machine, killing tirelessly for days and nights on end…mutations that will revolutionize the contemporary order of battle and guarantee operational dominance across the whole range of potential U.S. military employments.
They are now working on advanced gene therapy, which can provide cheetah, or gorilla quality muscles in people for 45 miles per hour speed or five to ten times the strength. There is also talk of merging eagle DNA with human DNA to enable future snipers to have sight much better than the regular human being. John Horgan, a former senior writer for Scientific American, states that DARPA “is already investigating the possibilities of cyborg warriors downloading complex fighting procedures directly into their brains, like the heroes of the Matrix. DARPA is interested in the development of techniques that can survey and possibly manipulate the mental processes of potential enemies by recording signals from the brains of enemy personnel at a distance, to read their minds and to control them.”
If you could access such technology, what would you change about yourself?
How will this affect us as Christians?
The fast-approaching Singularity will bring with it another terrifying development that, I believe, is mentioned in the Book of Revelation:
11Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. 12It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. 13And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. 14Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth. It ordered them to set up an image in honor of the beast who was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15The second beast was given power to give breath to the image of the first beast, so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed. 16It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, 17so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. 18This calls for wisdom. Let the person who has insight calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man. That number is 666 (Revelation 13:11-18).
On September 12, 2005, Chief Justice John Roberts was questioned at his confirmation hearing, then-Senator Joe Biden was interviewing him on the “Micro-Chip.” Senator Biden tells John Roberts: “…And we’ll be faced with equally consequential decisions in the 21st century. Can a microscopic tag be implanted in a person’s body to track his every movement? There’s an actual discussion about that. You will rule on that — mark my words — before your tenure is over.” The microchipping of citizens is part of Obamacare! Chief Justice John Roberts ruled on this, just as Joe Biden said he would. The Obama Health care bill under Class II (Paragraph 1, Section B) specifically includes ‘‘(ii) a class II device that is implantable.”
I always wondered why the Scripture was so emphatic about the significance of this “mark of the beast,” and why would it be in two places, head or hand? God has seen the end from the beginning. He exists outside of time, and knows the future completely and has shared what will happen with His people in the Word of God. Whatever this mark is, it causes a separation among the people of the earth. It’s like Elijah issuing his challenge on top of Mount Carmel with the people of Israel, “…choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15).
The penalty for taking this mark is absolute. Those who take the mark will suffer torment. The Lord tells us that whoever takes the mark will be punished with the full strength of God’s fury:
9A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: “If anyone worships the beast and its image and receives its mark on their forehead or on their hand, 10they, too, will drink the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. They will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever. There will be no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and its image, or for anyone who receives the mark of its name.” 12This calls for patient endurance on the part of the people of God who keep his commands and remain faithful to Jesus (Revelation 14:9-12).
What is this mark? As we mentioned in the first session, I believe it will be somewhat similar to what we know today as an RFID chip, but I think that it will become much more than that—I think it is possible that it will be the “borgification” of some of humanity that will choose to go that route. I believe that many will receive a technological chip that will enhance their brainpower many millions of times over. At the moment, all over the world, most companies are turning their computer power over to what is known as the “Cloud.” The Cloud refers to huge banks of computers that now handle the application software and does the data crunching for them. No longer do I load an email program like AOL onto my laptop. I access my email account with my Browser—I use Gmail, which is cloud-based application software.
Each company pays a set fee each month to access their cloud-based applications via a cell phone, tablet or laptop. The applications we use daily are stored on servers at a remote location. My computer now syncs with my phone via the cloud. When I answer an email on my laptop, it records it as already answered on my iPhone. But soon, with brain interfacing technology, a person will be able to access the cloud through thought alone. Advancements in technology going on even now indicate that this is just a matter of time and I believe this may well happen in my lifetime. Does this sound crazy? Before you answer, know this; “The world’s largest semiconductor chip maker today, Intel Corp., wants brain communicators on the market and ‘in its customer’s heads before the year 2020.’ In what can only be described as Matrix creep, researchers at Intel Labs in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania are designing what will be ‘the next big thing’ – brain chips that allow consumers to control a host of new electronic and communication gadgets by way of neural commands. Developers at Toyota and the University of Utah are also working on brain transmitters, which they hope will contribute to building a global ‘hive mind.’ What on earth is a hive mind? It is the concept of a large number of people who share their knowledge or opinions with one another producing collective intelligence and uncritical conformity. Of course, there will be a Queen Bee of this hive who will shape this collective intelligence, that person is the one the Bible calls the Antichrist.
Could you see how the new world order or the Antichrist could use brain interface technology? How may this affect free will, personal freedom, and faith?
If these things are possible, what will this type of advancement mean concerning what we are then able to achieve? For example, someday a parent of a thirteen-year-old may have to face the day when their son or daughter comes home from school and asks to become “Transhuman,” to be implanted with the chip that will enable them to access the Google data banks, the hive mind, or whatever it will be called then— (perhaps the Beast?). Your son or daughter, if they go ahead and have the implant, will know instantaneously any historical question, geographical question or any question thrown at them. They will have access to artificial intelligence, perhaps accessing it wirelessly via the Internet with brain interfacing chip technology. At some point, what they are proposing is to be able to implant a brain-interfacing chip into the brain so that we can access information. At one time, we could only see this happening in a science fiction story or movie, but today this does not look far away. If this would become possible, can you see what the next step would be?
Imagine going for a job interview and being asked if you have the brain interfacing technology that allows you to think thousands of times faster than others. Only those with the chip will rise to the top of the corporate ladder. Those who are not connected with the chip in this way will be left out “in the cold.” They will not be part of Humanity 2.0. They will be left behind in intelligence and opportunities available to them. Life will be considerably harder for anyone who chooses not to be a part of this development, which will seem at first, only advantageous.
This hybridization of many species by tampering with DNA is already going on by many scientists on planet earth. There are huge companies making billions of dollars worldwide by changing the genetic structure of individual plants to make some of them immune to certain insects and bugs. There is evidence that hybridization is going on in the animal world has human DNA added to it, to grow body parts for humans. Again, those who support these ideas state that this is a positive thing, and will help us to combat sickness, aging, and ultimately death. But along with these ideas, we could also be facing the reality of a race, which is not, strictly speaking, 100 percent human. What would the consequences be?
However, and whenever this happens, as I stated before, there will come along with the mark, the command to worship. There will be a choice that people will be forced to make (If you want to be part of the in-crowd) that will cause them to align themselves with the Anti-Christ and with the world system. I do not believe that people will be in any doubt at that point, as to the significance of this decision. If indeed it is connected to this idea of becoming Trans-Human, it is evident that a person will automatically be surrendering something of his or her humanity. It will change what it means for us to be human. Freethought will be challenged. Those who take the mark will upload into a system from which they can pull data, but it would also cause them to opt into a system that can influence and even control them. Isn’t that what the enemy of our souls has sought to do from the beginning?
When the first humans were tempted in the Garden of Eden before they gave away their inheritance and the first sin was committed, the temptation was to be “as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:5). The temptation was to eat from the tree of knowledge. This will be a vast tree of knowledge available to all who plug into it. The desire, as some have openly stated, is to “transcend our humanity.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:4, we see a prophecy that the Anti-Christ will enter the temple of God and proclaim himself as a god. He wants to achieve god status, to be “as god.” There has been a lot of talk in the scientific community and even in popular films such as Avatar, Transcendence, and books about what it means to be human. The temptation will be to leave Homo Sapiens 1.0 behind:
When Satan approached Eve in the Garden of Eden, he said to the woman:
“Did God really say, “You must not eat from any tree in the garden?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden. But God did say, ‘You must not eat from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will surely die.’ “You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:1-5).
If this link to the clip is not working, go to YouTube and put in the search box, Most People Don’t Even Know What’s Coming. 23 mins.
Do you see any correlation between this passage and the idea of humanity 2.0? In what ways is this temptation similar?
This is the temptation that Satan has offered man—to be as gods—to transcend their humanity and be more than human with Satan being god over mankind:
“How you have fallen from heaven, O morning star, son of dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly’” (Isaiah 14: 12-14).
We see this same thought presented as a temptation when Jesus went into the desert to fast. Satan came and took Christ to a very high mountain. As He looked down from the mountain, Satan showed Jesus all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “If you will bow down and worship me.” His aim has always been the same; to transcend the state he has been given, and to be worshipped as god himself. He is tempting humankind, in the same way, to transcend our humanity and create a super-human race. Those who believe in and support the idea of Singularity and Transhumanism have described it positively by stating that man needs to be the controller of his destiny, no longer being subject to the limitations of humanity and will one day, they believe, be able to conquer death itself.
Satan never gave away anything for free, and I don’t think this ability to be Homo Sapiens 2.0 will be free—it will cost people their soul. As with many things that become available, it could be that at first, only the elites, the rich, and those with influence will be either able to afford this or will be allowed to be augmented into Humanity 2.0. Those who reject the mark or are not connected may be shut out of the system. Those who are in but refuse to “worship” any time, will have their switch shut down and they will die. The Scripture says, “so that the image could speak and cause all who refused to worship the image to be killed (Revelation 13:15).
So we see that the result of this technology will be a wholesale redesign of what it means to be human. This vision—the borgification (marriage between biology and machine) of man—is supported in the latest “State of the Future” report (2010) by the global think tank, the Millennium Project, founded after a three-year feasibility study with the United Nations University, Smithsonian Institution. They say, “genetic code will be written to create life forms to augment civilization.”
The report goes on to say, a “global collective intelligence system [hive super mind] will be needed to track all these science and technology advances.” That last sentence scares me the most. A massive database with artificial intelligence many millions of times greater than the human mind will, I believe, come into operation. Once a person is connected to it, a person will be forced to worship the one that will gain control over the whole world—the Antichrist. Another thing to remember is that scripture tells us of a time when some people on the earth will not be able to die, even though they will want to.
In those days men will seek death and will not find it; they will long to die, but death will escape them (Revelation 9:6).
Doesn’t that sound weird? This looks like those that have taken the mark of the beast have uploaded their consciousness to some supercomputer—they are no longer biologic beings—they have become Transhuman or Humanity 2.0. All information about everyone that takes this upgrade to their humanity will be on this hive artilect (artificial intellect). I believe that this “hive intellect” will be at the disposal of the Antichrist, giving him supreme power—they that take the mark will become his slaves and have to worship him. Take a look at the video that I have provided a link to below:
I found the above links by searching on YouTube with the words Transhumanism.
My purpose in showing this clip is merely to show others that these ideas are out there and to consider how they may be connected to the last days and particularly to the Anti-Christ and the Mark of the Beast. We do not know how far humanity will be allowed to proceed, but already we are seeing things that show we are on the path to changing our species, and it has started with altering DNA.
When we consider all these things, it is easy to become anxious or afraid. However, Paul gives some good advice to the Thessalonians when he tells them:
“But you, brothers, are not in darkness, so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled, putting on faith and love, as a breastplate and the hope of salvation as a helmet” (1 Thessalonians 5:4-8).
These words are perfect advice for us today. We should not be asleep, but aware of the times that we live in, and look forward to the time when Christ returns. Until then, we put on faith, hope, and love. He has also promised us that He will be with us until the end of the age (Matthew 28:20). If you have never entrusted your life to Christ and turned from your sin, today is a good day to do that. He is as near as a prayer. He will not force His way into your life. God has given you the gift of free will and the door to welcome Him into your life is on your side. Call on the Lord Jesus Christ and sincerely ask Him to fill your life with His love and grace. He stands waiting.
Father, I have messed up time and again with my life. I come to you today seeking your forgiveness for the things that I have done wrong (my sin). I understand that you sent your Son to pay the penalty that I brought on myself. I believe Christ died for me and as me, as the just payment for my sin. Help me from now on to live for You. I receive your gift of mercy and grace today. Amen.
For further study via YouTube, you might want to search for: Transhumanism Part 1/Mark of the Beast: The Ultimate Agenda. Here’s the link: