The IMG of the Beast Part II - Pete Garcia - http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=8005
If an AI possessed any one of these skills—social abilities, technological development, economic ability—at a superhuman level, it is quite likely that it would quickly come to dominate our world in one way or another. And as we’ve seen, if it ever developed these abilities to the human level, then it would likely soon develop them to a superhuman level. So we can assume that if even one of these skills gets programmed into a computer, then our world will come to be dominated by AIs or AI-empowered humans.” ¯ Stuart Armstrong, Smarter Than Us: The Rise of Machine Intelligence
When reading about the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, there is one thing I have always wondered about. Maybe it’s not four separate riders, but one rider (the Antichrist) who is on the white horse first, then the red, then black, and finally to the pale horse sequentially. Nothing in the text disputes that notion; I think we’ve just kind of accepted four different riders because that’s the way it’s always been depicted in artwork. So it is after the white horse, that next comes sweeping through the red horse of war. And considering all the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) already out in the world today, what one thing would give ANY nation(s) the edge in a future military conflict? More bombs? More tanks? More submarines? More satellites? More drones? More soldiers?
How about more internet bandwidth?
Not that having more of any of the above hurts a nation in as far as their ability to project strength, but neither does it give them the definitive edge that a super-intelligent ASI system could.
Imagine a system that could go into your adversary’s networks, and shut it down the day before your planned invasion of that nation. Not just shutting down the internet, but all electrical power grids, water plants, anything that is connected to any type of internet or electrical based system, all of which could be potential targets. Or this ASI could launch that nation’s missiles at itself, so you don’t even have to invade them. Remember how destructive Stuxnet was to Iran? And the Stuxnet worm wasn’t even Strong or Super AI, it was just a simple computer virus designed to do one thing.
An AGI or ASI could also militarily sabotage a nation’s systems, while simultaneously freezing all of their monetary assets and holdings, hacking and data mining every citizens and politicians email, and wiping out any communication networks that might exist. ASI would truly be a game changer, especially considering how interconnected our world is these days. For this potential alone, perhaps is why AI has become the new arms race. Maybe this is why three of the horns (nations/regions) give their authority to the Beast? (Daniel 7:8; Rev. 17:13)
We know that AI Caliber 1 is readily in use these days. We know that AI Caliber 2 (AGI) is already in the process of being developed. I suspect, that given the secrecy at which certain groups like the CIA, NSA, DARPA, and others (private entrepreneurs, and other nations) are working to develop this and may have it in varying stages…but are not discussing it.
Much like the secretive Manhattan Project in the 1940’s, the man on the street had no idea the US was developing the most powerful bomb in human history, until it was used against the Japanese at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. AGI or ASI may be something that is complete already and we just aren’t aware of it. AI Caliber 3, from Caliber 2, doesn’t seem that far a stretch then, since you could use Caliber 2 to assist in developing Caliber 3. The hard part is getting to Caliber 2.
Now, AI by definition simply means that this software system reaches a level of self-evaluation and understanding, and becomes sentient, or self-aware. That doesn’t mean it grows a soul or a conscious, because I believe that is solely a human attribute. But being self-aware could also intrinsically create a level of understanding for its own self-preservation, in which the system determines by itself, who has control over it, if anyone. Since we know that one man ultimately does (the Antichrist/Little Horn/Beast/Son of Perdition/etc), he either creates or gains control over it through satanic supernatural means. (Luke 4:5-6)
Interestingly, some of the smartest men in the world, a few of which have made their living off of inventing the very systems that they fear could one day be their downfall, are now expressing genuine concern over the thought of computers gaining super-intelligence.
Because this technological development is still ongoing may be why a lot of what is going on in the book of Revelation, particularly chapters’ 6-19, both eerily foggy and yet familiar to our understanding. Much like Revelation 11:9-10 was a mystery for bible students of earlier generations, the technological limitations of any given period of time, limits people’s ability to comprehend that certain types of technology is actually attainable. IOW, you don’t know what you don’t know.
Now that this AI technology exists, and has for the most part become commonplace, we have largely become desensitized to the advancements of it in our own day. This is in large measure, because of the entertainment industry, which floods the cultural marketplace with books, television shows, and movies that include AI of every varying scope. I could literally list off dozens of movies alone which have. Here are some of the more familiar ones you will remember:
The Matrix Series; 2001-A Space Odyssey; The Terminator series; Star Wars; Eagle Eye; Iron Man; I, Robot, Chappie, AI; Short Circuit; Wall-E; etc.
That is Hollywood, and what they are particularly good at is opening people’s imagination of what could happen. But here is reality. This includes a short list of technological advancements that exist and are being developed today:
And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.
Politicians in the US and abroad, are struggling to come to terms with how quickly these advancing technological breakthroughs are changing our reality, and it is likely that they never will.
This is why I believe that it will take some form of super-intelligent AI system to sort through all the issues and problems man has today. Moreover, it will be a man who either is given control, or has control over this AI system who will be the one who wields this devastating power. But seeing as the only other alternative to AI coming in and bringing this pseudo-world peace to earth while simultaneously solving all of our problems (for a brief moment in time), is visitors from outer space. Both seem incredible, but AI seems more likely.
Term’s like ‘technological singularity’ and just ‘singularity’ are still in the stages of being adequately defined, but Ray Kurzweil (Google) believes it is when “the time when the Law of Accelerating Returns has reached such an extreme pace that technological progress is happening at a seemingly-infinite pace, and after which we'll be living in a whole new world”. (Source: Gizmodo)
It is for this reason that we don’t understand exactly how or what the Mark of the Beast is, but it doesn’t mean that this technology doesn’t yet exist; we just don’t know how exactly it will be introduced or utilized. But we can see this technology in its embryonic form through things like RFID chips and digital tattoos. AI is most likely what fills in the gap in our understanding in this regards and leapfrogs mankind forward over that final bridge at a pace many are probably not prepared for.
Since the United States, the world’s predominant economic and military superpower is trying to take the lead in this new arms race for artificial intelligence and we know according to Scripture that the revived Roman Empire is the final world super-power at the end. We should be able to reasonably assume that somehow Europe beats the US to the punch in the AI arm’s race. Once AI is established, it will revolutionize science and technology and really life as we know it on earth within a relatively short period of time. While I expect AI to play a significant role in this image of the beast coming to “life”, it is the False Prophet who enforces through means of satanic signs and wonders (2 Thess. 2:9), the merging of economics with religion and is able to do this, by using a super-intelligent AI, man’s DNA, and a globally interconnected network.
He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: His number is 666. Revelation 13:15-18
So while this endeavor isn’t meant to provoke believers to fear what is coming, it is meant to educate us on our adversary’s tactics and means, by which he seeks to subjugate the world. We know that the battle is already won, and that Christ remains poised to break into human history at the Father’s perfect timing. While we wait, we must spend what little time that remains, sharing with those who do not know the Lord, warning and pleading that today is the day of salvation. One day soon, it will be too late, and the world will enter into the darkest days it has ever seen.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11