Throughout all of human history, there has been one impenetrable fortress against tyranny – the human mind.
“It’s the one thing they cannot do,” said Winston Smith in George Orwell’s “1984,” referring to the ability of governments or terrorists to manipulate human consciousness.
But apparently, they could, new technology suggests.
While the nightmarish vision of Orwell was fiction, the horror of someone hacking or even hijacking your consciousness – perhaps even your very soul – is closer to reality than ever before.
The technology is being advanced by industrialists and technological experts who are promising a better world.
A number of companies, notably Elon Musk’s Neuralink and Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, are developing devices that would create a two-way interface between the human brain and computers. The practical applications cover everything from increasing corporate efficiency to potential life-changing advances in treatment for those suffering from diseases such as Parkinson’s.
Facebook currently is working on a device that will allow people to “type” simply by thinking, and the Washington Post reports the company expects to have a prototype within the next two years.
Kernel, another start-up, hopes to create a platform that can stimulate neurons in the brain, which could provide a way to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s. However, one of the main investors, Bryan Johnson, openly discusses the possibility of using technology to help mankind “co-evolve” in what many might call a transhumanist agenda.
Musk’s Neuralink aims to develop products that will help treat degenerative nervous system disorders. His vision has met with a great deal of skepticism from some pundits, but Musk is openly declaring support for a “merger with biological intelligence and machine intelligence.”
The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also pouring massive amounts of resources into projects designed to manipulate even the DNA of soldiers.
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One of the many issues created by brain-machine interfaces is the possibility of “hacking” or even “hijacking.”
Medical devices such as pacemakers are already vulnerable to hackers armed with nothing other than a laptop. With a host of massive security breaches dominating the headlines in recent weeks, it’s no stretch to imagine how brain-machine interfaces could be either hacked deliberately or even accidently infected via destructive malware, with disastrous consequences.
Bill Cloud, a pastor and author of “Esau Rising,” sees the attempt to modify human consciousness as simply the latest chapter in an age-old story of man’s rebellion against God.
“When I hear of some new technology like this, the first thing that comes to my mind is how potentially dangerous man’s imagination can be,” he told WND.
“Going back to the story of the tower of Babel, it was man’s imagination that the Creator identified as being problematic, not necessarily the tower. In Genesis 8:21, He said that the imagination of man’s heart is inherently evil and, therefore, his actions – even when a person sees it as something good for man – ends up being used for evil.”
Cloud warns such technology, even if it is originally intended to do virtuous things such as help those with terrible diseases, is guaranteed to be abused by those with nefarious aims.
“A technology such as this, assuming it becomes a reality, will be eventually be used by those with evil intentions,” he said. “God forbid it should fall into the hands of the likes of ISIS or the antifa.”
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Jan Markell, director of Olive Tree Ministries, finds the possibilities so disturbing she sees supernatural significance.
“This is almost demonic in nature, so the threat of this goes beyond criminals and governments,” she told WND. “Antichrist’s kingdom could make good use of such technology. During his reign in the Tribulation, he will demand the worship of everyone. There will be people coming to faith during this time period and he could implement such technology to prevent them from doing so.”
Markell claims God Himself will simply not allow such technology to work.
“At that point, I believe God would step in and not allow this kind of technology to be successful,” she said. “He always has the final word. He has allowed technology to be invented and to improve society. He also allows it to be used for evil. But I do not believe He would allow technology to be equal to God or greater than God.
“He certainly would not allow people to be damned through technology. God allows people a choice. They damn themselves. He never does that.”
Pastor Carl Gallups, who explores some of the possibilities and pitfalls of transhumanism in his end times examination “When The Lion Roars,” sees the abuse of machine-mind hybrids as inevitable.
“They are not only inevitable – but in our fallen world, and in our prophetic days, they are guaranteed,” he contended. “Evil will always and forever turn technology for its use. We live in the age of technology explosion. And even though much good has come from a large portion of the tech explosion, the amount of evil and potential for evil is absolutely overwhelming. There seems to be no end in sight.
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“Although this technology sounds like science fiction right now, just remember that only a few decades ago that ubiquitous smart phone use, texting, global Internet, and instant language translation technologies also seemed like science fiction. So did gene splicing, transhumanism and CRISPR Cas9 technology, along with drones, military grade GPS available to the public at our fingertips, killer robots, stem cell babies and sex robots – but it’s all here now.”
Gallups warns Christians to be cautious of technology that is justified on the grounds of helping the sick or assisting people in achieving their full potential.
“Evil is always presented as good at first – mixed with all manner of lies,” he warned. “This tactic goes back to the Garden of Eden.”
And like Markell, Gallups argues anti-Christian forces could use such technology to try to strip people of faith.
“There is a definite potential to be used by Satan and the coming Antichrist global government,” he warns.
Joel Richardson, the New York Times bestselling author of several books including “The Islamic Antichrist” and his new book “Mystery Babylon,” says though the technology now at humankind’s command is unprecedented, the moral dilemmas presented are much the same as people have always faced. And Richardson urges believers to remember that it is ultimately God who is in control.
“Today the world is experiencing a convergence of multiple technologies, many of which bring up dramatic ethical and spiritual challenges,” he told WND. “There are few things in this world that God has given us, or that man has created, that we have not gone on to abuse and misuse. Of the technologies that we are beginning to step into will up the ante dramatically.
“Personally, I do not believe the Lord will allow us to attain technology that will actually cause us to blur or even lose the actual experience of what it means to be human. This is another reason to believe that indeed the Lord is returning soon to judge the living and the dead.”
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