Coincidental Convergence or Revelation Rising?

I read a peculiar story the other day . . .

An unnamed but amiable character reaches across time and typeface to take the reader through her futuristic life – starting by praising and exalting her personal AI health advisor upon waking. This artificially omniscient helper monitors a full range of data from brain and body and automatically adjusts medical implant levels and bedroom air, scent, and solar intensity for optimum health. If conscious interaction with its human is required, it takes place through thought alone.

By building code mandate, Anonymous Woman’s apartment climate is precision controlled for efficiency and carbon offsetting – it also auto-regulates to mimic times and seasons, making redundant any time in real nature (if such a luxury still exists). Outside is an idyllic view of synthetic tree compounds, robots, and 3D printed buildings. Meanwhile, her home is surveilled by cyber-dragonflies to keep out intruders and enemy bug-bots.

On this particular day, our Nameless Lady’s AI assistant suggests virtual reality nature therapy via brain implant to debug a neuro-glitch:“My therapy app analyzes the emotional responses I expressed while I slept. It suggests I take time to be in nature this week to reflect on my recurring trapped-in-a-box dream and enhance helpful subconscious neural activity. My AI recommends a ‘forest day.’ I think ‘okay,’ and my AI and neural implant do the rest.” No hiking boots needed.

The all-seeing AI then orders a delivery drone to pick up her child’s recently fallen baby tooth for genetic marker analysis and cataloguing with the “family genetic blockchain in order to qualify for the open health rebate.” Cloud-integrated smart stickers monitor blood chemistry, lymph system, and organ function in real time while the city monitors fecal matter to analyze its residents’ gut health. Armed with this data, Amiable No-Name can target her health needs through custom biotic water mixed right in the smart sink, foods created right within the smart fridge, and personalized bio-printed smart supplements. Meanwhile, her daughter is learning how to grow animal organs from stem cells at school as part of her requisite empathy education. And at the end of the story, Nameless begins her work day in the virtual world, presumably using an amiable avatar named after her.

Maybe you’re wondering if I saw this in a cheesy sci-fi novel, or maybe you’ve already guessed: it’s a dull government document, Policy Horizons Canada’s “Exploring Biodigital Convergence,” that describes this scenario of our own imminent future. In fact, it’s the version they cheerfully deem “optimistic.” Was the mention of the “trapped-in-a-box” dream a Freudian slip? We may never know.

The formidable World Economic Forum has similar ideas about where we could be heading, as outlined in their infamous article “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.” Products have become services, and everything from autonomous or flying taxi rides to living room spaces to clothing is free and shared. An egg beater or drill is simply chosen for delivery when needed (sometimes this is delegated to the AI who knows us better than we know ourselves). Robots have replaced humans in most of the workplace and time is spent in creative pursuits, socializing, and rest. Air, water, and energy production are clean and regulated.

It might not sound dystopian to the communal minded or the follower of the Venus Project (as long as you don’t factor the elements of human sin and corruption into how it all might be regulated, monitored, tracked, and enforced). But towards the end of the article the implications reach a fuller clarity:

My biggest concern is all the people who do not live in our city. Those we lost on the way. Those who decided that it became too much, all this technology. Those who felt obsolete and useless when robots and AI took over big parts of our jobs. Those who got upset with the political system and turned against it. They live different kinds of lives outside of the city. Some have formed little self-supplying communities. Others just stayed in the empty and abandoned houses in small 19th century villages.

Once in awhile I get annoyed about the fact that I have no real privacy. No where I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.”

Privacy is also sacrificed for the greater good in the thought experiments of Forum for the Future, the UK’s leading sustainable development NGO. Omnipresent tracking and virtual reality feature in each of their imagined cities of 2040, especially Planned-opolis. In this scenario, humans are packed into little cube housing, tracked continuously, and funneled into pre-selected schools, careers, and schedules. Work, shopping, and socializing take place in the virtual world via avatar. Work might involve controlling robots remotely or geoengineering to curb climate change.

The main form of transport is precision-scheduled autonomous vehicles with augmented reality features and inter-vehicle communication. Water, meat, and climate credits are rationed, raw materials are tightly monitored, and food options are limited and controlled by the Global Food Council. Everything is connected and smart-ified, but low-tech rebels do have the option of wallowing in designated “Cry Freedom Ghettos.” Some memorable quotes: “Switch off brain and go to work!” and “With this many people around I’m glad there’s a mega-computer in charge.”

If these futuristic Earth-based cities sound a bit pedestrian to the hardcore tech devotees out there, how about living in a full-on simulation, courtesy of Russia’s 2045 Initiative? In the promotional video “2045: A New Era for Humanity,” they propose that in order to save ourselves, we need to embrace the technologies of the future: artificial intelligence, brain-computer interfaces, “thought-driven mobile communications built into the body or sprayed onto the skin,” cognitive enhancement, cyborgs, nanobots, android servants, thought-controlled robot avatars, and cloud-based personality transfers.

Yet what we need is not just another technological revolution but a new civilizational paradigm: We need new philosophy and ideology, new ethics, new culture, a new psychology, and even new metaphysics. We must reset our limits, go beyond ourselves, beyond the earth, and beyond the solar system. This is an adequate response to the challenges of our time. Thus, new reality and future man will arise.”

Plug in your brain, download the mandatory Man 2.0 operating system, and let it reprogram your definition of reality, humanity, and morality so you won’t get lost along the way to Society 2.0. Once you’re successfully upgraded, you can look forward to transplanting your brain into a full sensory-enabled avatar, a nanobot body, or a hologram, and finally, achieving cybernetic immortality. And as you enjoy your (unending) time in this “era of neo-humanity,” you are expected to focus on the task of spiritual self-improvement.

Leaving aside for the moment the question of how a cyborg defines spirituality, I ask you: Are we living in a sci-fi film? An unimaginably random convergence of strange events? Or a prophecy from long ago?

To me, the optimistic and the pessimistic visions of the futurists equally read like pages out of biblical prophecy. And, as someone who’s ahead of the game in opting for an abandoned house in a small village far older than the 19th century, it makes me chuckle to hear of my forthcoming quasi-religious title: “lost on the way.” It may well be that I’m lost in the biodigital eyes of the neo-human world, but I’d rather be found by the God who holds the real world in His hands. I hope you’ll stick around for this series to learn more about a prophecy of two kingdoms and why God’s is the only one worth choosing. (“Another series? But the first ten are still in cliffhanger mode!” Yep, welcome to Random Brain Land1; enjoy your stay!)

But first, a foundation, because I realize that it all might sound a little far-fetched and pointless to consider if you don’t have a familiarity with the data. According to governments, engineers, corporations, and futurists (the secular prophets of today), every single element involved in the above scenarios is likely or plausible based on technologies that already exist, as you’ll see in the links below (a long, LONG list – I hope you’re sitting down!). These links mostly focus on the technological, though I’ll also highlight certain economic, social, environmental, and religious realities at the end to provide some context for possible applications and implications of such technology. (You can find more information and links on those topics in Ramblings part 4.1, the upcoming part 4.2, Appeals of the New Age, and Persecution of Shame.)

You can get a general picture just from skimming through the headlines – I’ve tried to mainly use sources with clear enough titles to give the gist, though there are of course important details and implications to be learned about within each article, and what’s here is also just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll offer some notes and warnings on points that aren’t as obvious as others (does an implantable brain-computer interface even need a warning?), and I can’t avoid a bit of sarcasm when it comes to ideas like Facebook’s Metaverse protecting one’s biometric data.2

I’m drawing from a broad range of sources, from liberal to conservative mainstream news to government documents, journal articles, and corporate press releases to opinions and analyses with different ways of making sense of data points. Since I know that people are all over the spectrum in which sources they automatically trust or distrust, I hope this makes it easy for those of multiple persuasions to dive in somewhere. I also hope you’ll read ones written from worldviews opposing your own. You may be offended by some, and you’ll be in good company; some of these articles offend me both personally and on behalf of people on each side who are being slandered or misunderstood by the other. I never get used to it, and I know the appeal of self-reinforcing echo chambers. But I think it’s imperative to consider how other people view the world and to compare all kinds of sources, since there’s inevitable bias even in the seemingly neutral.

My own bias, as you probably suspected by now, is in interpreting data and events in light of biblical prophecy (and Luddite-ism). While this is a fact you should be alerted to in order to keep an analytical distance, I also want my bias to be front and center in order to prepare the way for an argument from prophecy in a future part of this series. Other branches in the works include the temptations of rebellion, false dichotomies and trichotomies, scapegoating of “the elites” as resistance to the Gospel, and the true dichotomy which compels a response.

For now, consider how you’d put all these pieces of data together as you look through them. If you think the technology is headed in a good direction, why? Where do you hope it ultimately leads? If you don’t want any part of the coming technologies, why not? Do you plan to avoid them, and how? What if it becomes as impossible to live without a brain implant and the Metaverse as it is to live without a smart phone and the internet? What if your children must be microchipped for their safety and genetically catalogued and upgraded for their health, or removed by the state? Would you have the fortitude to opt out even if the majority opts in? (You might consider what it would realistically take to opt out of smart phones, internet, Siri, Alexa, and bluetooth devices today and extrapolate from there. Of course, I’m not telling you to immediately drop the web, or I wouldn’t even be here myself to say anything . . . ) At the same time, opting out can only go so far; plenty of technologies do and will increasingly encroach on our spaces, privacy, relationships, bodies, and minds even without our consent.

If contemplating all of this brings up fear or alarm, I encourage you to turn to God rather than any man-made solution on offer. In fact, many of the things in the works could be accepted simply due to fear of other things in the works, and it’s not my intention to contribute to these temporal conundrums. What I do want is to help people become aware as far in advance as possible so that decisions and plans can be made, informed consent (and dissent) can actually mean something, and the truth of Christianity can be considered. God is truly our salvation, strength, and hope even when things of this world seem inescapable.

And to make one last point very clear: while a rising technocratic social credit surveillance system seems inevitable at this moment, this is not a post calling for rebellion against it. Whether the so-called Great Reset, Greater Reset, Great Rebellion, or Great Awakening seems to win in this temporal world, none is an ultimate solution to the problems humanity faces. These problems are both very real and very massive, so I understand the desire to seek epic solutions, whether through technology and global governance or consciousness raising and collective empowerment. But the only kingdom with a true and lasting solution, the Greatest Reset, is that of Jesus Christ. And as I say often in this blog site, His kingdom is not of this world. But it’s the only world to come that’s worth joining.

When considering and preparing for what’s coming, the one thing that absolutely everything should revolve around is faithfulness to God.

Alright, before I ramble on for another 84 pages,3 let’s dive in to the data.


Technological

Fourth Industrial Revolution and its technologies

The 4IR “is characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds, impacting all disciplines, economies and industries, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human” – WEF’s Schwab, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution

It “will change not only what we do but also who we are. It will affect our identity and all the issues associated with it: our sense of privacy, our notions of ownership, our consumption patterns, the time we devote to work and leisure, and how we develop our careers, cultivate our skills, meet people, and nurture relationships. It is already changing our health and leading to a ‘quantified’ self, and sooner than we think it may lead to human augmentation” – Schwab again, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond”


Microchips, Medical Implants, Nanobots, Digital Tattoos, and More

We might have heeded the 2014 warning from Time Magazine’s “Never Offline” issue:
“The Apple Watch represents a redrawing of the map that locates technology in one place and our bodies in another. The line between the two will never be as easy to find again. Once you’re O.K. with wearing technology, the only way forward is inward: the next product launch after the Apple Watch would logically be the iMplant. If Apple succeeds in legitimizing wearables as a category, it will have established the founding node in a network that could spread throughout our bodies, with Apple setting the standards. Then we’ll really have to decide how much control we want–and what we’re prepared to give up for it.”

But just four years later, we learned that “today’s external devices—from wearable computers to virtual reality headsets—will almost certainly become implantable in our bodies and brains.” – Shaping the Future of The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2018), by WEF’s Klaus Schwab

And in 2019, that “medical implants that monitor our health will become more common as medicine is customized to the patient . . . and eventually it will be difficult for people to live without the implants” – IEEE article on Robert Saracco’s white paper

But even if we’d paid attention in 2014, these trends were already unstoppable in the minds of government futurists in 2002 (and likely much earlier). At this point, implantables are inevitable. They’re being mainstreamed in the name of defeating Covid along with financial and identity security:


Genetic modification: plants, animals, and beyond
“In the coming decades AI and biotechnology will give us godlike abilities to re-engineer life and even to create completely new life forms” – Yuval Harari at Davos, “How to Survive the 21st Century”

Genetic modification of humans, transhumanism, and artificial immortality

Read the international Transhumanist Declaration here

“Biological and digital systems are converging, and could change the way we work, live, and even evolve as a species. More than a technological change, this biodigital convergence may transform the way we understand ourselves and cause us to redefine what we consider human or natural” – Policy Horizons Canada, Exploring Biodigital Convergence

The 2002 report “Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance” (US National Science Foundation and Department of Commerce) says that “we will alter human evolution within 20 years by combining what we know of nanotechnology, biotechnology, IT and cognitive sciences. . . . [it] calls for a broad-based research program to improve human performance leading to telepathy, machine-to-human communication, amplified personal sensory devices and enhanced intellectual capacity. . . . People may download their consciousnesses into computers or other bodies even on the other side of the solar system, or participate in a giant “hive mind” . . . an enormous, single, intelligent entity.”

“In the coming decades, for the first time in history, humanity itself will undergo a radical revolution. Not only our tools and politics but our bodies and minds will be transformed by genetic engineering, nanotechnology, and brain-computer interfaces. Bodies and minds will be the main products of the 21st century economy” – Harari qtd. in Interesting Engineering, “The Cyborg Revolution: Are They Here Yet?

Editing, upgrading, controlling, cyborging, plugging in, and uploading the brain

Creating new realities in outer space and the digital realm





I’m going to cut in here and mention that you’ve made it about halfway through these links – I’d highly suggest taking a break to see my funny little duckie friends Kirby and Daphne solve all the problems in their much simpler little corner of the planet (oops, I gave away my stance as a square-earther). It’s the most potent therapy I’m allowed to prescribe with my BS in psychology (my M.Div. also came with some kind of “rights, honors, and privileges” but I have no idea what they are). Anyway, I think it’s way better than meds, mosquito vaccines, and brain implants combined!





OK, back to it . . .

Total surveillance, data collection, the all-seeing AI, and technocracy
“Current notions of privacy will continue to evolve, with individuals needing to share more personal information for access to applications, and tracking becoming ubiquitous. Authoritarian governments are likely to exploit increased data to monitor and even control their populations” – Global Trends 2040

“Governments will gain new technological powers to increase their control over populations, based on pervasive surveillance systems and the ability to control digital infrastructure” – Klaus Schwab, “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: what it means, how to respond”

“Coupled with intrusive, highly responsive and accessible databases, the emergence of a so-called ‘surveillance society’ will increasingly challenge assumptions about privacy, with corresponding impacts on civil liberties and human rights. These capabilities will be deployed by the private as well as the public sector” – DCDC Global Strategic Trends Report

“Emerging predictive analytics tools wrangle your data, behavior and preferences in order to map your personality—and predict how you’re likely to react in just about any situation. These tools can be used in journalism, to personalize customer interactions and even to personalize the news itself” – FTI 2018 Trends Report, p. 64

By 2050, AI will collect infinite data on everything we do, buy, and say, to “anticipate behavior in advance” – Interesting Engineering, “Life in 2050: A Glimpse at the Economy in the Future


Economic:

ENVIRONMENTAL AND POLITICAL

SOCIAL

RELIGIOUS

Consider how fast the world changed with Covid, and how quickly it could change again. Calls for extreme change are becoming more urgent, as we see with a new announcement from the UN chief saying that we “face a five-alarm global fire that requires the full mobilization of all countries.” The five alarms are Covid, global finance, climate change, cyber-crime and misinformation, and violent conflicts. He proposes “a Global Code of Conduct to end the infodemic and the war on science” and says “countries have no choice than to to go into ’emergency mode’ against the climate crisis.” “’An avalanche of action’ in 2022” will be necessary. Meanwhile, Klaus Schwab’s new book, The Great Narrative, celebrates technology’s move from linear to exponential progress, expects more to happen in the next 10 years than in the last 10, and hopes for man to merge with machine. Having read through the above (and lived through 2020-2022), you may be able to imagine what could take shape from an avalanche of emergency action combined with unprecedented technology and the influence of such transhumanism in high places.

Okay, we’re done, for now. Go take a nap. That’s what I’ll be doing for awhile now that I’ve finished putting this together, so don’t be too worried if it takes awhile for part two to appear . . .

Footnotes:

1See an actual scan of the inside of my brain here. Bring your 3D goggles! (They won’t do anything.)

2Hey, Elijah used sarcasm against the false gods too: “And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, ‘Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened’” – 1 Kings 18:27

3I will anyway; I’m just spreading it out like a kid does with the food on their plate to make it look like less!

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