When most people think of an anti-christ, it’s as a “personage of evil”: some prominent human imbued with evil or even a demon incarnate.
For many decades, it has been thought that such a “person” would operate in the arenas of politics and wealth (think: Rothschilds).
But in our cyber age, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder if perhaps the base of support for such a nefarious person — more than raw power or money — would be technological.
In this regard, one looks at the massive high-tech oligarchies and frets a bit of how powerful — and potentially controlling — they have become. Amazon has put countless small businesses (including Catholic bookstores) out of business; is now in the business of groceries; may soon be selling cars; controls a large percentage of internet servers (including ones servicing government); is so important economically that one state is offering to name a city “Amazon” (if Amazon opens a major operation there); and is trying to enter the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the parcel-delivery business (infringing on the likes of UPS).
It has gotten to the point where one might ask what you can’t buy through Amazon, and also to the point, remarkably enough, where the firm is threatening the very existence of giant retailers such as Costco and Target (and also throwing a scare — unthinkable a few short years ago — into mighty Wal-Mart). Any company that far-reaching bears watching [pictured to the left: Amazon founder and CEO Jim Bezos].
Companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Apple are likewise massive (Apple has more cash than the country of Canada). Will a “man of perdition,” a personage of evil, rise from the techno-corporate ranks?
Or what about this question: might the ultra-techies create artificially intelligent machines that take over — even in the military?
Could an anti-christ come, some day, in the way of “Artificial Intelligence”: a master computer like HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey that can think for itself and create and outsmart any human? (Theoretically, a computer may one day be built with all available data on earth locked in its cerebral circuitry.)
They are now working on A.I. involving not just significant math but an intuitive talent that according to The New York Times, some call “a dark art.”
Elon Musk, founder of Paypal and now in the smart-car (Tesla) and space travel business, is raising alarms — even referring to A.I. as “summoning the demon.” We’re talking way beyond “Siri” and “Echo” and Google’s search algorithms.
As an outlet reported recently:
“The Tesla founder tweeted his alarm in response to a VentureBeat article about the possibility of an A.I. ‘god’ emerging by 2042, reports CNBC. One of the people featured in the article was Anthony Levandowski, Google’s self-driving car engineer who has established a nonprofit religious organization called Way of the Future. Way of the Future’s mission statement is ‘to develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on artificial intelligence and through understanding and worship of the Godhead contribute to the betterment of society.'”
Said the headline in VentureBeat: “An A.I. God Will Emerge By 2042 and Write Its Own Bible. Will You Worship It?”
An increasing number of people, including at least one who is very involved in the industry, have fretted aloud about the looming danger of A.I. and especially “Artificial General Intelligence” — whereby a computerized system goes beyond voice and face recognition, translating languages, playing chess, answering an automated phone system, or operating a car and through an algorithmic perspective has something akin to consciousness. (They call this “deep neural networking.”) Could machines one day evolve to the point of replicating themselves and creating totally new systems — develop imagination?
“In the next 25 years,” it went on to say, “A.I. will evolve to the point where it will know more on an intellectual level than any human. In the next fifty or one hundred years, an A.I. might know more than the entire population of the planet put together. At that point, there are serious questions to ask about whether this A.I. — which could design and program additional A.I. programs all on its own, read data from an almost infinite number of data sources, and control almost every connected device on the planet — will somehow rise in status to become more like a god, something that can write its own bible and draw humans to worship it.”
Here’s from Reuters a few days ago: “Humanity no longer needs God but may with the help of artificial intelligence develop a new form of collective consciousness that fulfills the role of religion, U.S. author Dan Brown said on Thursday.”
It’s hard to know how much concern to place in that prospect (won’t humans always keep a step ahead?), but with the swift pace of technology, and the stunning progress of microchips, many things seem possible that a few years ago were in the realm of sci-fi.
Musk has warned that Google, for example, could have perfectly good intentions in its A.I. research but still “produce something evil by accident,” including “a fleet of robots” capable of controlling — or destroying — mankind.
Warns Musk: “You know all those stories where there’s the guy with the pentagram and the holy water and he’s like, yeah, he’s sure he can control the demon? Doesn’t work out.”
Naturally, many skeptical high-techies find Musk’s concerns so amusing and paranoid that they now return to their labs after a break saying things like, “O.K., let’s get back to work summoning.” Perhaps one day it will prove not so funny.
That “super-robots” could be used in the military has even Vladimir Putin concerned.
Putin has claimed genetically-modified super soldiers “worse than a nuclear bomb” may soon become a reality.
The Russian President fretted to a crowd of students about the prospect of an army of trained killers incapable of feeling “pain or fear” much like the characters in 1992 action movie Universal Soldier. “He revealed that scientists are close to breaking the genetic code which would enable them to create ‘a human with pre-designed characteristics,'” said the London Sun.
Realize that, as far-fetched as it sounds, President Putin is a former KGB operative, a lieutenant colonel in foreign intelligence, with access, obviously, to technological secrets we don’t know about — secrets from any number of countries (especially his own).
An A.I. Anti-Christ?
More likely, a personage of evil who would control an army of super-robots or some other manifestation of high-tech as well as so many internet servers and cyber systems and bio-tech systems that nothing could be done in any realm without his ability to reach out and control or quash it. If a world dictator arrives in that way, he will orchestrate high-tech (including perhaps implanted microchips) with a heavy hand.